An Open Letter to the Torrance City Council

On July 15 the City of Torrance got a new mayor, Pat Furey; and a new city council consisting of incumbent Gene Barnett, and newly elected council members Kurt Weideman, Heidi Ashcraft, Tim Goodrich and Geoff Rizzo. Now, it is true that Weideman and Ashcraft had one year and six months experience respectively as they had both been appointed, not elected, to the council but their combined 18 months of experience is but a drop in the bucket compared to the time put in by the council members they replaced. The fact is that on July 15 Torrance lost 30 years of experience between the departing of Mayor Frank Scotto, and Councilmen Bill Sutherland and Tom Brewer. Since Pat Furey was elected mayor, this resulted in another vacancy on the Torrance City Council. The options to fill the vacancy are either hold a special election at the cost of $200,000 or let the current council agree on an appointment. It was decided to solicit applications for the vacancy.

Apparently there were 12 applications submitted including six candidates from the June election; Leilani Kimmel-Dagostino, Michael Griffiths, Alex See, Milton Herring, Rahmay Khan and Ryan Mand. Additional applications were submitted by Charles Deemer, Ray Uchima, Mario Obejas, Jimmy Gow, William Daniel Feliz and recently retired City Clerk Sue Herbers. The current city council must make a decision at the upcoming council meeting scheduled for August 12 or a special election must be held. It is in the best interest of the city that a consensus is reached and the special election be avoided. I do not think there is much argument by any intelligent citizen that an appointment is the best way to go about this; the only discussion is who should be appointed. While no one has asked my opinion, I am going to give it anyway.

There has been some suggestions that since there were 16 candidates for the Torrance City Council in June with only four vacancies [at the time] that the person with the fifth highest number of votes should automatically get the appointment. Even though I supported and voted for that person (Kimmel-Dagostino) I do not agree with that thought process. Just because I felt that she would have been a good choice out of the 16 available choices, that does not mean that it makes sense with the current situation. With the best interest of the city in mind, I feel that the logical appointee should be Sue Herbers. Please allow me to explain.

Sue Herbers was the Torrance City Clerk for 20 years; that equates to a ton of knowledge on the inner workings of a city the size of Torrance. She has more experience than the entire sitting council combined. When I gave my take on the upcoming June election I supported four of the candidates not because of their political ideology or politics, but rather because of their involvement with the city, specifically, their attending of city council meetings. If Sue Herbers had been a candidate, there is no doubt that she would have my support based on her 20 years of attending council meetings alone.

The fact of the matter is that I have no idea what Herbers politics are. I do not know if we agree on anything or if she even likes me; it does not matter. As one of the people seeking the appointment told me last night; this appointment should be done for the good of the city. Herbers 20 years of experience takes care of a majority of the experience we lost on July 15.

For the good of Torrance, there is only one logical choice for the vacant city council seat; I hope that our sitting council can see this and appoint Sue Herbers on August 12.

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