Torrance

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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. Continue reading

Louis Zamperini Celebration of Life Photos

Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini – Torrance 53rd Annual Armed Forces Day Parade

The following photos were taken Thursday evening at the Louis Zamperini Celebration of Life which was held at Torrance High School’s Zamperini Stadium. I should probably preface this by saying that I am not really in the habit of going to memorial services for people I do not know but over the past couple of years Mr. Zamperini’s name seemed to pop up more and more in conversations so much so that I felt like I did know him slightly. As I was walking the dogs last night I recalled how our family moved to Torrance [almost] 50 years ago and that even then my dad would mention the Zamperini name; even if I did not really appreciate who this man was. By the end of last night’s event I felt that I knew Louis much better and I wished I had made more of an effort to learn about him while he was alive.

The remembrance to honor Louis Zamperini’s life was a very moving and educational event. From local juvenile delinquent to hometown and national hero, we learned a lot about Zamperini. We were able to hear from people like former Torrance Mayor Ken Miller whose family moved next door to the Zamperini family 80 years ago when Miller was a freshman at Torrance High and Zamperini was a senior. Zamperini’s daughter Cynthia, his son Luke and his grandson Clay all spoke of their lives with a living hero that was, by all accounts, a very humble man. We then got to hear from people like Kyle Gauthier that had only recently met Zamperini who had donated several thousand dollars to help send this young man to Victory Boys Camp, a camp he established in 1952 for wayward youth, where he taught other juvenile delinquents the skills to succeed in life. Speaker after speaker pretty much had the same things to say; this was a man that endured a lot, but was made a better man for it. Continue reading

The City of Torrance has a new mayor and council

On Tuesday evening, the Torrance City Council went through a major changing of the guard, with Pat Furey being sworn in as our new mayor; and Kurt Weideman, Heidi Ashcraft, Tim Goodrich and Geoff Rizzo being sworn in as new council members. Weideman had been appointed to the council a year ago when Councilwoman Susan Rhilinger resigned due to health; and Ashcraft was appointed in December when Cliff Numark was elected to the El Camino College Board of Trustees. They have a combined year and a half of experience compared to the 30 years of experience between the departing Mayor Frank Scotto, and Councilmen Bill Sutherland and Tom Brewer. It is going to be an interesting time for Torrance; no doubt.

The evening began with a ceremony marking the departure of City Clerk Sue Herbers who retired after 20 years of service. In her farewell address she mentioned that she will still be around and be as active as ever; even if it is as an audience member. She did mention that if the council decided to accept applications for the vacant seat that we now have since Furey became Mayor, she would apply. More on that later, but personally, she would be outstanding.

Herbers last official duty was the swearing in of Council members Weideman, Ashcraft, Goodrich and Rizzo; Pat Furey as Mayor and Rebecca Poirier as the new City Clerk. And with that we lost 50 years of experience in one swoop. Continue reading

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