ON THE ISSUES
The City's Finances
Torrance is in such dire shape that the State of California put us on its Watch List of the 12 cities most in danger of going bankrupt. We can’t blame the pandemic because our reserves were used to balance deficit budgets long before Covid.
The next City Council needs to drastically redo the way we budget. We can no longer take a current budget and add projected additional expenses. Instead we need to start from scratch to create a budget that recognizes the realities of our actual revenue.
That is a lot of work, which might be why the current Council has not done it. I come from a family of accountants. I understand what it takes to create a start-over budget. I am willing to do that work to make Torrance once-again a solvent city.
In 1996, my District 5 home was burglarized. No one will ever hear me suggest that we should defund the police.
Public safety is one of my major concerns. We all have the right to feel safe in our homes and on our streets.
However, that doesn’t mean that sworn officers are needed for every issue. Sworn officers stopped enforcing parking laws years ago. Currently the evidence staff is being civilianized. We need to look for other areas that don’t require sworn officers.
At the same time, we should review how we train officers to ensure that they are skilled – not just in marksmanship but also in dealing with potentially tense situations.
I applaud Jeremiah Hart’s promotion to police chief. He has the skills to transform our police department. I approve of his approach to a wide range of issues – from police officers charged with inappropriate behavior to his handling of the homeless issue.
I appreciate the work done by law enforcement, and I will approve resources to further improve public safety.
SB 9 and 10
We need to neutralize SB 9 and 10 either in a court ruling or as a ballot proposition.
In its heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all approach to solving the housing shortage, the state is taking zoning decisions away from local governments, like our city. The result could be the end of our neighborhoods of single-family homes. And there’s no guarantee SB 9 and 10 will actually produce more affordable housing.
Torrance has stepped up by identifying five areas that could absorb multi-unit housing. The need for multi-units, however, should not come at the expense of areas that are currently zoned for single-family residences.
I signed the petition to put a proposition on this November’s ballot. Organizers are now aiming for November 2024 because of time constraints. I will actively campaign to get the necessary signatures on the ballot.
I will continue my support of Torrance’s business community.
Fifteen years ago I joined the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce because I recognized the business community’s importance to the city.
I will support the work of the city’s Economic Development Department, which is headed by Fran Fulton. She is the secret sauce behind many of the city’s success stories.
Five former heads of the Chamber board have endorsed me because we have been involved in projects that gave them a firsthand look at my appreciation of the business community.
Homelessness affects more than 300 in Torrance. We aren’t aware of three-fourths of them because they live in their vehicles. Most would prefer to sleep in a bed . . . if they could afford one.
When their “home” breaks down and they don’t have the money for repairs, their vehicle is towed and they are on the streets. They want that bed, and they are the perfect candidates for the help that can come from Little Houses.
These units will come with social-worker services — a positive beginning. But we will still have a problem with homelessness because many on the streets are there because they are mentally ill. Many of them are our veterans afflicted with PTSD, and we need to step up and ensure that they get the assistance they need.
That will require even more support for those who are mentally ill. They need the assistance that will come from the alliances that the City makes with agencies that the City partners with.
I applaud the City’s signing an agreement with Harbor Interfaith, and I want to help further develop this approach. My more than 35 years of nonprofit involvement with the Volunteer Center and other local agencies have given me an understanding of what it will take to make more of these partnerships happen.
To reduce our city's carbon footprint, I will look at all our decisions through an environmental lens.
I will look to see if we could electrify all our city vehicles, install solar on city buildings and parking lots, add EV charging stations and make our city facilities more energy efficient.
I will work with utility companies to promote environmental programs that give residents the tools they need to make better choices. Many of our local businesses do not have recycling available to them. I would look into expanding that service to our business community.
Again, we need to offer better alternatives to our residents. For example, we should seek all incentives to make EV charging available to renters.
And if we incorporate charging stations in our shopping and office areas, we could draw more business — and revenue — to Torrance.
It is no longer enough to support the Hillside Overlay. Now we must defend it.
We don’t want to see these hard-won protections taken away by lack of enforcement or vague language that frustrates everyone.
I have appeared at Planning Commission sessions and City Council meetings to defend the Hillside Overlay.
I’ve worked too hard to see us lose it. We need to strengthen these protections.
Of course, I support Torrance’s vibrant senior population. I’m a member of it.
In canvassing I have met many people much older than me. And they are clearly still active and involved in community affairs.
We need to support them and those who are less fortunate financially and health wise.
Many years ago — long before I was a senior — I was on the board of a senior volunteer program called RSVP. I worked on programs designed to enable seniors to remain in their homes.
Recently I have assisted the South Bay Village. We were working on what will be an amazing program for our seniors. Covid put it on hold, but I’m hoping we can soon start working on it again.
As a Councilmember, I will bring organizations like the South Bay Village into City plans to service our seniors. Our volunteer population can make all the difference, and I understand how to marshal our human resources.
"There is no better candidate for Torrance seniors than Jean Adelsman."
Host of Torrance CitiCABLE Senior Scene
and former Torrance City Councilmember
Torrance Airport Noise
The City needs to enforce its plane noise rules and examine whether there are ways that the airport could generate additional revenue.
The airport offers the City many benefits, especially in times of emergencies. However, the Airport’s users need to respect the needs of its neighbors.
The residents of District 5 are dealing with a noise problem that should never have happened. Residents were shocked when – with little notice – the noise-monitoring contract was not renewed.
pressure the City not to allow a housing development near the airport. The City stood up to them. Successfully.
We need to continue to remind everyone that the airport is a benefit for the City but that it comes with constraints on its users.
It is also time for us to do our due diligence. Are we maximizing the financial resources that the airport could bring in? For example, we have heard suggestions that we review the length of our runways. I would welcome a study into that and other potential airport revenue-generating sources.
Immediately some pilots began exhibiting bad behavior by making illegal left turns over residential areas.
It took more than a year, but the Council has signed a contract for a new system. Why did they do that? Because you complained. Effectively.
When the Council in March was prepared to accept and file an Airport Commission recommendation to allow those left turns, you protested. Effectively.
As your Council representative, I will monitor this issue. If the FAA does not recognize the City’s grandfathered right to regulate left turns, I will support a suit. The Airport Enterprise Funds are meant to benefit the residents. About 30 years ago, the pilots tried to
Engaging with Constituents
Speaking to residents has been one of the joys of the campaign. I went into journalism because I enjoy talking to people and hearing their concerns.
As your representative on the City Council, I want to keep those conversations going. To keep my finger on the pulse of what's happening, I will have monthly meetings at a City-owned community meeting room -- alternating between the ones at Sea-Aire and El Retiro Parks.
I will share recent Council actions and alert people to issues that are on the horizon.
I will listen to the concerns that residents bring to the meeting. If I can't answer a question, I will make notes and investigate.
Other cities have such meeting and they are an effective way of engaging with constituents. It will be my commitment to monthly district meetings.