The paid mailers are sailing into the mailbox for the 2014 election season.
Aside from the flyers from state senate candidate Amy Howorth (no Republican is running for state senate seat 26, sadly), as well as Marianne Williamson's cosmic whimsy for the 33rd Congressional district, Torrance City Councilman Pat Furey is sending in a flurry of mailers for his mayoral run.
The same city representative who indicted Torrance residents for pension envy now wants to inspire Torrance residents with professional envy, too.
One mailer details Furey's personal, academic, and professional accomplishments over the past five decades.
Claiming that Furey wants to keep Torrance moving in the right direction, Furey's booklet mailer presents an extended timeline, starting with his military service following high school in a South Philadelphia neighborhood. He worked as a police officer and detective, then moved to Torrance for the safe neighborhood and schools.
Great stuff. The biggest reason why families move to this balanced city.
Furey then charts his training from legal assistant to LA county deputy counsel, along with his many volunteer/leadership roles in his North Torrance Homeowners association, Little League, Boy Scouts, and the Torrance Ed Foundation, as well as the Torrance City Council.
When it comes to elections, voters need to know the candidates' values and what they will vote for, not what they did in their free time as well as in the workplace. Granted, voters want representatives who are engaged and involved in their communities, but politics is all about individual ambition channeled into public service.
Following the extensive timeline of Furey's personal accomplishments, the mailer contains a letter outlining the candidate's "plans" for Torrance:
I am excited about the future of Torrance. While other cities had to make major cuts due to the economic downturn, Torrance has been fiscally responsible -- and we have seen almost no appreciable reductions in public safety and other municipal services.
The streets in Torrance are bumpy and unsettled. I notice the difference particularly when traveling from Lomita back to Torrance every day. How many police and firefighters does the city of Torrance need, anyway? One local landlord shared that a small team of firefighters came to his apartment telling him to install an electronic device for the garage gate. Why so many firefighters in the first place? How many fires has the city had to contend with in the past five or ten years?
I proudly served as a founding member of Frank Scotto's Blue Ribbon Committee on Ethics & Integrity, where we led the charge for political campaign reform and transparency in our local government.
If the city of Torrance has been candid about its finances, then why did the Wall Street Journal report that the city was one of ten cities with the greatest unfunded pension liabilities in the country? How come voters in the city have not learned that over six hundred employees are earning $100k a year, and of that number 200 are taking in $200k? How do Torrance leaders plan on keeping commitments to retired employees with massive cuts to city services or tax increases?
The mailer then lists all the big accomplishments that Furey has in mind for the city, including repair of the city's aging infrastructure as well as balancing the city's budget and strengthening public services.
How does he plan on fulfilling this laundry list of promises?
To accomplish all these things will not be easy. But, with your support and involvement, we can do it!
What support would that be, Mr, Furey? Moret taxes and fees?
The last page of the mailer signals where Furey is getting his money for the flurry of ads promoting his campaign. From the Torrance Police Officers, to the Torrance Fire Fighters, the Municipal Employees, and even the Torrance Unified Paraeducators have endorsed Furey, along with the El Camino College Associated Student Organization.
Why would the Torrance Paraeducators and El Caminos students support Furey? What difference do their endorsements make?
More importantly, though, Torrance residents need to understand that candidates backed not just by endorsements but donations must accept (and expect) the same to give into the demands of these unions to bolster the pensions and benefits of the public workers, whether the individual taxpayers and private businesses want to pay into those funds or not. With a reported $400 million pension liability already pressing on the city, the new leaders need to take drastic steps to have all public employees contribute more toward their retirement, or press on the individual employees to shoulder more of the risk for investment.
No matter how bright and nostalgic a picture Furey paints of his past and present service to local initiatives, committee groups, or city agencies, his loyalty to the city's public sector employees should raise substantial alarm for voters, who may find themselves expecting to shore up more of the costs due to the liberal councilmembers direct dedication to the unions.
After all, his mailer clearly states "with your support and involvement, we can do it!"