Dear Friends and Neighbors:
It is really shocking how fast my first term as mayor has passed. I now look forward to continuing my efforts representing all of the citizens and other stake holders of Torrance. Hopefully you agree and I am reelected to serve you again.
As mayor of our great city I am busy every day. There are so many meetings to attend – people and organizations to speak with – and things I want to do for our great city. Not a day goes by that I am not in my City Hall office tending to very important business that will keep Torrance moving in the right direction.
I am most fortunate to have a City Council that shares my desire for our city to prosper. We may have differing opinions on certain issues and differing governing styles, but the dedication and love of community of each of them is readily apparent. And, I could not be more pleased with our city executive staff and employees who get the job done every day.
Economic development and regional involvement are two issues that I believe are most important to not just maintain, but to improve the quality of life of our residents and businesses. And, I have proactively tackled both – head first.
Along with city staff – and sometimes chamber officials – I have met with countless businesses operating in our city to ensure that their needs are being met. And, I have met with an almost equal number of businesses that are contemplating making Torrance their home.
I engaged the community with a series of 6 Town Hall meetings in just about every area of the city. And, I have brought together and met with clusters of community groups, including the clergy; international businesses; and Old Torrance businesses and residents to ensure that the city is fulfilling their needs.
In addition, I regularly meet with other Los Angeles County mayors and other federal, state and county elected leaders to discuss issues that are regional in nature – such as water, transportation and disaster preparedness. I also serve as chair of Los Angeles County City Selection Committee, which is charged with very important appointments to County Commissions and Boards, such as the MTA, the SCAQMD and the Coastal Commission.
Meantime, the city recently rolled out our new, dynamic city website; we finalized an ordinance protecting and preserving views for our hillside neighborhood; we are working on historic preservation; and continuing the efforts to revitalize and renew our aging infrastructure – all of which I promised to do when seeking the office of mayor.
I am very excited about a program I initiated where I speak with ALL of our high school seniors as part of their U.S. Government class and explain how our local government operates and the duties and responsibilities of reaching the age of 18. The goal is to inspire them as they continue their education to consider public service and to someday maybe return to our city as future leaders.
In the last several years government pensions have been a hot topic. And, I can tell you that the city has addressed our pension obligations like no other agency in the state. Five years ago California mandated some changes to lessen the pension burden for agencies, but it will be decades before those changes make a significant difference. Just after I was elected mayor we prepaid $3 million to our pension debt. And, this year Torrance created a separate $5 million investment portfolio that can only be used for pension obligations. This will give the city another avenue to prepay our debt without impacting our general fund.
I am really proud of all of the things we accomplished in my first term as mayor, and am energized about what we will do in the future if elected to another term. Again, I hope you agree and support my reelection on June 5th, 2018.