Of the three candidates running for Mayor, only one candidate has even discussed the pension issue along with the importance of standing up to union power in Torrance.
And that candidate is Tom Brewer.
I will never vote for a candidate who is taking union money, one donation after another: Pat Furey's flyers and posters are everywhere, even while other candidates' signs get stolen or taken away.
Torrance needs representatives who represent Torrance, not unions, not special interests.
As for Bill Sutherland, he candidly answered two key questions for me in a forum a few months ago.
He explained to me why he had endorsed Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi instead of Craig Huey in 2012, arguing that Muratsuchi would have done more for Torrance than the other candidate. Regardless of his regrets (or otherwise) for that decision, I know now that he supports the Republican candidate for state Assembly this year.
Sutherland also told me that he supports floating a sales tax increase to help pay for city obligations. That is wrong. Leaders need to make the hard decisions rather than pass them onto the voters, especially when it comes to fiscal solvency and responsibility.
For all clearly intended purposes, the mayoral race is a toss-up between Tom Brewer and Pat Furey.
Even the liberal-leaning Daily Breeze refused to support Furey, but endorses Brewer for mayor.
Tom has a plan for setting the city's finances in order, one which will not cost the city residents.
Tom Brewer gets my vote.
The city councilmember endorsements were difficult to make.
I have friends who are running for city council, and I know that many of the candidates as individuals are liked-minded or share the same party affiliation.
Following the William F. Buckley rule motivated me to look beyond label or money, and to choose those candidates who were the most conservative (not necessarily Republican) as well as electable.
There are serious financial strains hitting the city of Torrance. The streets are terrible, and the financial obligations straining the system are dedicated to legacy payments and entitlements through pensions and benefits. Torrance residents can have a safe city without going broke. However, the pension issue is not getting the proper treatment which it deserves. Future city leaders cannot have a well-financed city if 600 + employees are getting $100k plus without any discussion of current (not just the "just hired") paying in more.
I have a conservative Republican friend who served in the LAPD for 30 years. He supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's reforms, which required public safety officers to pay more toward their retirement. There is nothing petty or immoral about asking public safety to contribute more toward their retirement, especially when the alternative is a city which no longer exists because the money is all gone (re: Detriot, Central Falls, Rhode Island)
I esteem Heidi Ashcraft's prior experience working with the Torrance School Board, as well as her efforts with SCROC. Sadly, her claims that there is no major pension problem (despite the $400 million liability) was very disconcerting. I also honor Milton Herring's resume and contributions to the city. However, his answers on the key issue, pensions, was not sufficient, especially considering the time he has spent working for the city.
So, from those candidates who did reach out to me, I made the following decisions based on which candidates were fiscally conservative, with private experience as well as public knowledge about key issues, plus a willingness to listen to and face tough issues without fear of ruffling a few feathers in the process. Leilani has experience public and private to deal with complex city issues. Aurelio has raised the alarm on city finances, as well as Clint. Alex has private and public experience plus a readiness to listen, as do the other three candidates. All candidates have discussed with me their agreement that current city employees need to pay more into their retirement.
For Torrance City Council, Leilani Kimmel-Dagostino, Aurelio Mattucci, Clint Paulson, and Alex See have my vote.