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Newsletter No. 6, Aug. 17, 2022

· More on picking a new District 2 Council member.


Note to readers: No, I haven’t reverted to filing just before a City Council meeting. This is a special edition of Take Back Torrance.


Here’s a prediction: Tuesday when the Council votes to appoint someone to fill Mayor George Chen’s District 2 seat, the winner – if there is one – will not be Arthur Schaper. In fact, he might not even be nominated.


Schaper, who has caused a flurry of email blasts in addition to my own, is apparently a red herring. Evidently, Chen and Councilmember Aurelio Mattucci, who have supported Schaper’s past ambitions and who in turn have been supported by him, knew the blowback to appointing him would be severe. But they could enjoy the thought of rattling our cages at such a prospect.


After my last newsletter, I was talking to one of the people I believe is a qualified candidate and gathered some additional information. Since then, two other sources confirmed what I will call The Plan. I had hoped that shining a spotlight on it would force Chen to reconsider.


My newsletter naming John Magome as Chen’s likely choice was written, edited and about to be posted when he officially withdrew his candidacy. He and Chen became friends because of a tennis connection. According to sources, they share the same right-wing political philosophy.


I don’t yet know why he pulled out, but I am hearing whispers that Chen was being told Magome was an embarrassing candidate. On Tuesday the candidates’ questionnaires were posted, and Magome’s was the weakest of the eight.


If you have never heard of him, that’s not a surprise. He has left no footprint I could find, and his application makes it clear he has not been involved in Torrance’s civic life.


We are lucky to have two very qualified candidates. Councilmembers Mike Griffiths and Asam Sheikh have spoken highly of both.


Who are they? Look through the remaining seven applicants’ questionnaires, and let me know who looks good to you. Go to http://torrance.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=8&event_id=7424. Scroll down to 9A and click on Staff Report. Then go down to Page 3 where copies of the applications are in alphabetical order.


The responses to the identical questions for each candidate range from well-reasoned paragraphs from some to one-sentence hand-written answers to complicated questions from others.


Guess which category Magome was in. He listed his occupation as self-employed magician for the last 16 years. His responses to the questions showed he was unable to pull any meaningful answers out of his hat.


I’m not hearing that Chen, Mattucci and Jon Kaji had a backup candidate though I suspect they will agree on one before Tuesday. That is not a Brown Act violation. That would happen only if they included Sharon Kalani in their discussions.


Last month, when the Mayor oversaw the appointment of Ron Riggs to a seat on the Planning Commission, the process looked cut and dried from start to finish. That won’t recur Tuesday if a Magome backup has been chosen. Chen will have learned from that mistake.


Here is how I heard it was going to go before Magome quit:


Three, four, maybe even five candidates would be nominated.

One name would be eliminated in Round 2. Another in Round 3. In Round 4, if Kalani was willing to vote for Chen’s choice, District 2 would have that person, like it or not.


Kalani holds the power. She could side with whichever of the two qualified candidates Griffiths and Sheikh have voted for. Then, if she holds strong and Chen-Mattucci-Kaji won’t cave, a special election would be called.


And District 2 residents would have a say in choosing their first Council member.


Before I go:


· Interested in the gun store application for Downtown Torrance? The appeal is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in the City Council Chambers before the Planning Commission.


· Reminder: My next newsletter will focus on Torrance Airport issues. In the meantime, check out the petition sponsored by the Riviera Homeowners Assn. It can be signed online by going to ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-reduce-torrance-airport-impacts-now. For more information, contact Judy Brunetti at judyfrooti@yahoo.com.

Jean Adelsman

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