Optimized Street Sweeping
21 Aug

Street Sweeping

In 2012 the city initiated an “Optimized Street Sweeping” program in Torrance.  

The purpose of the program is to clean every street in the city almost every week.  The goal is avoid sending trash and particulate run off into the watersheds that service Torrance.  It is a creative program with many side benefits – compliance with the clean water act, avoidance of fines being levied and improving the cleanliness of our city.

As the program has rolled out, we have received a number of complaints from just about every neighborhood.  And, we have also received accolades from residents in just about every neighborhood.

In response to the complaints, staff is preparing a comprehensive report on the street sweeping program, which we will provide to you and everyone in the community who is concerned.

The rhetorical misinformation and/or misstatements that have arisen on social media are not new.  Perhaps more creative, but not new.

I’m very hopeful that after citizens receive factual information on the program they will understand why the program was instituted and just how important it is.

No one in the city wants to ticket and fine residents to deepen city coffers.  The purpose is to adhere – as best as we can – to the clean water act, avoid costly penalties and, perhaps, even clean our environment.

After a bit of factual education, I  believe everyone will understand that our goals are genuine, and overshadow the inconvenience of no parking for a few hours a week.

For more information

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Torrance Refinery
21 Aug

Torrance Refinery

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is presently addressing safety at the refinery – as it should.  It is the expert regulatory agency that addresses air quality in the region.  The SCAQMD has a team of unbiased chemists and other experts on its staff.  We can expect that they will address the issue professionally, ignoring rhetorical misinformation, and we look forward to its findings.

For more than 2 years I have been advising folks that the mayor and city council has very little power to police and regulate the refinery as it pertains to hydrofluoric acid.

In the 1990s the city brought a lawsuit under a theory of nuisance that was aimed at those very subjects.  The case was litigated for many years at the cost of well more than $1 million of tax payer money.  The result was all of the safety measures that were put into place. (Way too long to list).  

To make a simple comparison, the city cannot just create a law to close or get rid of an ongoing business that does not violate local, state or federal laws. There is no ability to create “an executive order” to do it either. 

If we could, certain business would have disappeared years ago. If we attempted to do so, we would put our city at risk of protracted, expensive  litigation with little to no hope of success.

There are, however, countless state and federal regulators that may have the ability.  One of which is the SCAQMD.  And, perhaps, the state assembly, senate, governor and/or federal authorities can do something.  We will see. 

But, if they do have such power, I wonder why they haven’t exercised it as of yet?

We have heard all of the sound bites and read the strong letters but, again, why has nothing occurred?  It really demonstrates that there is no easy fix.  Again, if there was a fix it would have been done years – if not decades – ago.

Some say there have been more incidents at the refinery and that demonstrates there is a safety issue.  I’m not entirely sure about that either. I’ve lived in Torrance for 30 years – not very far from the refinery – and I can’t quantify an increase in incidents.

It may be the result of more requirements of the notification process.  Perhaps it is because citizens are more vigilant.  Maybe the alert process works to a degree.  Maybe it’s because the media reports it more often.  It may be because of the advent of social media getting the word out!  

Just know that myself, my colleagues on the council and the city staff have spent countless hours working with all of the agencies that can provide a level of control – while listening to the voices of folks with concerns about safety at the refinery.

Meanwhile we are also concerned for the 1,100 or so folks who are employed at TRC – many of whom live in our city.  We are also mindful of the effect TRC has on the regional economy.

It is a balancing act for sure.  But, the safety of our community is always our primary mission and goal.  Anyone who thinks or says otherwise is sadly wrong.

For detailed information, I encourage you to look at all of the information on the city’s website –

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Coyotes in Torrance
19 Aug

Coyotes in Torrance

In the last two years Torrance has experienced a proliferation of coyotes that has yet to be explained.  Noteworthy, the entire South Bay and most of the entire country are also experiencing this problem. 

Coyotes are now found in New York City and other major metropolitan areas too.  In fact, there are very few areas in the USA where there are no coyotes. And, that is probably because there are predators in those areas that prey on coyotes.

We have received countless suggestions on how to address the situation, and I certainly wish the problem was as easy to remedy as some folks believe and assert.

The city has spent more than $200,000 and countless man hours addressing the problem.  And, our efforts have been replicated by many cities in the Southbay and other areas because our Coyote Management Plan is considered the best.  In fact it probably meets the “best practices” level.

In fact, incidents in Torrance where pets have been attacked by coyotes have decreased considerably.  Through education people have learned to not let there animals roam freely.  They have learned to not feed pets outdoors.  They have learned how to haze coyotes.  I recognize that these methods don’t satisfy some folks, but a city – just like its citizens – must comply with State and Federal laws.

Is this a life style change!  Absolutely!  My wife and I have 3 small dogs.  And, we have changed the way we care for them. We have installed motion detection lights and other deterrents.  We don’t let them out alone from dawn to dusk. Is the change annoying?  Sure!  But, sometimes we have to adapt. 

It is easy for someone to rhetorically ramble on a blog site.  But, it is not easy to resolve a naturally occurring phenomenon such as the proliferation of coyotes.  They are everywhere.

I suggest that you look on the city website and review our Coyote Management Plan.  It has lots of empirical data and suggestions on how folks can address the problem within the law.

For detailed information how Torrance is addressing the Coyote problem, go to

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