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Newsletter No. 48

  • Revitalization for Downtown Torrance?

  • Updates on commissions

  • Plug pulled on electronic billboards

  • Mattucci loan questions


Creating a Business Improvement District might be what Downtown Torrance needs to finally achieve the vitality that other cities, such as Pasadena, have created in their once-tired city centers.

 

At the March 26 City Council meeting, local businessman Adam Schwartz made the pitch. Schwartz told how, while traveling, he looked to see whether a revitalized downtown had a BID, and it always did.

 

The creation of a district essentially requires a majority of the nonresidential property owners to agree to the tax used to underwrite the improvements. The City is a player because it owns three properties, and the Council voted yes to the proposed tax it would have to pay.

 

District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci questioned the benefit that properties on Cravens would get. However, at a board meeting the day before, the Volunteer Center, a nonprofit on Cravens at Torrance Blvd., agreed to sign the BID proposal. (Full disclosure: I am a longtime Volunteer Center board member and a former board chair; I was one of the district’s proponents.)

 

Next step: Getting a majority of the owners to sign on.

 

Cleaning up appointment language:

It took 18 months, but the Council has approved language that removes a mayor’s right to make commission appointments and gives it equal power to nominate and vote on the positions.


Mayor George Chen made an unsuccessful power grab in the early days of his term. For more details, if you have forgotten that series of events, click on www.TakeBackTorrance.com and go to Newsletter No. 11.

 

At an emergency meeting to deal with the problem in September 2022, District 6’s Mike Griffiths and District 4’s Sharon Kalani were joined by Council newcomers, District 3’s Asam Sheikh and District 2’s Bridgett Lewis, in blocking Chen’s attempt to take over the commission process.

 

Besides cleaning up the appointment language, the Council at its March 26 meeting didn’t support District 1’s Jon Kaji in his push to eliminate the Historical Preservation Commission.


Kaji and Mattucci both supported cutting the number of commissions overall and/or reducing the number of times they met. The rest of the Council gave their proposals a cold shoulder.

 

New round of commission appointments:

The discussion was timely because City Clerk Rebecca Poirier has announced her office will be accepting applications for commission openings. The deadline is May 9 at 5 p.m. For more information, go to https://www.torranceca.gov/government/commissions.

 

 

Plug pulled on electronic billboards:

Kaji was also behind a proposal for electronic/digital billboards. It had first gone to the Planning Commission, which saw so many issues with his proposal that it dropped it into the Council’s lap without supporting it.

 

The initial proposal had the billboards all over the city and as close as 100 feet to residences. (As someone pointed out: Even pickleball courts, according to the recently passed Council rules, have to be at least 250 feet away from homes.)

 

Griffiths told his colleagues, “Too many land mines in this proposal.”

 

After a lengthy discussion, they voted to have staff bring back potential sites for them to review along with the potential for revenue. But they asked for it “at an undetermined date.” That’s code for “don’t rush.”

 

Questions about a Mattucci loan:

A business deal that District 5’s Aurelio Mattucci did in September 2022 is raising questions.

 

Since last year, readers have pointed out his financial-disclosure form to me and raised questions about a loan he reported. The loan was for at least $100,000 but not more than $1 million, and the money came from John Hernandez, the head of a local nonprofit called New Challenge Ministries. Mattucci is vice president of the NCM board.

 

My response at that time: No alarm bells.

 

But I have now seen documents, and I understand their questions.

 

Evidently NCM owned a 1,400-square-foot residence it sold to Mattucci in 2022. The property has a Torrance zip code but is just east of the city border. Real estate-minded sources say similar properties in that area were being listed at $750,000 but were selling for $850,000 because in 2022 so few properties caused bidding wars when a house came on the market.

 

Mattucci bought it from NCM for $650,000. The loan is listed as a commercial one; Mattucci is a licensed commercial realtor.

 

The questions:

 

Why is Mattucci listing Hernandez as making the loan when the paperwork indicates that NCM made the loan?

 

Did Mattucci collect a broker’s commission on the sale?

 

Was there an ethical breach by buying a property from an organization in which he is an officer?

 

How late was it?:

The March 26 meeting adjourned at 1:52 a.m. – basically the same late hour as the session two weeks earlier.

 

Before I go:

v Thanks to everyone who shared their financial experiences after using Torrance’s ambulance service. I will share what I learned in a future newsletter.

 

v April is Cherry Blossom season, and Torrance will celebrate with a festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Columbia Park, 4045 W. 190th. Free parking and a shuttle are available at 20420 Madrona Ave. Pan-Asian performances, craft booths and food trucks are the draw.

 

v The City’s deadline for correspondence to be included in the Council’s pre-meeting public supplemental is now 5:30 p.m. the Monday before the meeting. The Council will receive anything that comes in later before the meeting, but it won’t be posted until Wednesday. It will be at the top of the agenda. You can also leave voicemails to be included as Oral Communications in the supplemental. Call 310-618-2404 to leave up to a two-minute recording that will be transcribed. Voicemails have the same deadlines as the emails.


Want to tell the City Council your opinion on an agenda item or address any concerns? Send it to  CityCouncil@torranceca.gov; in the subject line put the agenda item or the topic. If you also want your comments to appear in an agenda item’s Staff Report, send it as well to CouncilMeetingPublicComment@torranceca.gov.

Jean Adelsman


Feel free to share this email -- or tell friends about www.TakeBackTorrance.com. And if you email a response to jeanadelsman@yahoo.com, please indicate whether you are expressing a thought for my eyes only or whether I may share your comments with the whole audience. 

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3 Komentar


colr
06 Apr

And there is no bike route to the farmers market but a Huge Car lot ?

Suka

colr
06 Apr

Then ; No one wants to


drive & park in ODTT


BTW


Why is the famous Irving Gill Bridge


under lock and key ?


Plus~~what about that stinky stream


Crossing right under there behind Honda ?

Suka

colr
06 Apr

DTT

All the complaints and suggestions


but not one apology or address to the


Horrid Reputation of Prejudice that


the City of Torrance has ? If that is not fixed


even the 30 year dream of becoming the


Blue Collar Old Pasadena will be hard to achieve.


Also positioning the Central Metro Stop


in a chemical dump instead of


right at the Depot was not conducive to Old Downtown Torrance shopping!


Then ; No one wants to


drive & park in ODTT


BTW


Why is the famous Irving Gill Bridge


under lock and key ?


Plus~~what about that stinky stream


Crossing right under there behind Honda ?


Mark M Breza

Suka
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