Of the three candidates running for Torrance City Clerk, Jay Scharfman, Rebecca Poirier, and Gina Semana, Gina is the only candidate whom I have had the privilege of meeting and hearing from.
She is the only candidate who is not taking union money or has connections with political insiders.
She has received my vote for City Clerk, and I hope that other Torrance residents extend to her the same courtesy on June 3rd.
1. Why are you running for city clerk this year? Did you ever plan on running for office before?
I am running for City Clerk because I believe the office can be run in a more effective, efficient, and timely manner. I have worked in the Torrance City Clerk’s office since 2001 and decided 6 years ago that when our current City Clerk retired I would step up and run for office. I have been able to see where office duties can be improved and streamlined and other processes which are not currently being handled efficiently.
Providing information to the public is one of our main duties as City Clerk and we need to provide that information in an unbiased and professional manner. I believe I am that person who can bring my natural leadership ability, the working relationships I currently have with city employees at all levels and the voice to speak up in providing an open government to the people.
2. What is your political party affiliation? Why?
My strong belief in their core values
3. Tell us about your prior professional/political experience and how they can help the City of Torrance?
My professional experience has been a total of 15 years in the public sector with 13 of those years in the City Clerk’s office and during that time I have seen where many improvements can be made and processes handled in a more efficient and timely manner. Cross-training and succession planning are a huge priority for me so that if anyone was to call or come in to our office requesting information any of our eight team members should be able to assist with knowledge and confidence. Currently, each position is specialized and it is difficult to provide assistance or information if that team member is out of the office.
4. What measures, reforms, and policies would you implement on a city level to bring in more business and increase economic activity in the City of Torrance.
As a City Clerk candidate I do not have the ability to implement policies in bringing in new business, however, I do support increased economic development and activity to bring in more business as well as working with the businesses that are here and keeping them in Torrance.
5. What concerns do you have about crime and public safety in Torrance?
I do not currently have concerns about the crime or public safety in our city. We have an excellent police department.
6. There are growing revelations about the city's massive pension liabilities -- $400 million, an online reports confirm that at least 600 city employees out of 200 are earning at least $100,000 a year in total compensation (per 2012 data). What reforms or steps do you support to deal with these massive pension liabilities?
I was concerned a few years ago, I believe it was 2005, when the CalPERS contract was negotiated and amended for our safety personnel with the 3% at 50 plan and see how that has affected our city now with the pensions. I agree we need to make changes and see the big picture.
7. How have residents and prospective voters responded to your campaign?
I have had great support from residents, prospective voters, as well as city employees regarding my campaign. While I have been out precinct walking several people I met in the beginning were surprised to hear about the election and also that the City Clerk position is elected. One of the duties as a City Clerk is to get the information out to the voters and it has been a pleasure providing that information along the way.
I do hope that people are informed when they go to the polls. The fact that we will be getting a new mayor, four new councilmembers, and a city clerk is the first time in Torrance history that has happened with such a HUGE turn over in our local government.
For more information, please visit http://www.ginasemana4cityclerk.com/