Aurelio Mattucci responded to these questions:
1. Why are you running for city council this year? Did you ever plan on running for office before?
I grew up in a politically active household. Politics have been a common topic at the dinner table as far back as I can remember. As a child I always admired individuals that made things happen. My father is one of those people. Even though he is 76 years young, he goes to work six days a week. He always tells me that hard work is the only way to ever make things happen. I always wanted to be part of government, make things happen and represent the people. One of the phrases that stick most with me is "government of the people, by the people, for the people", I truly believe in those words. When I heard that two council seats were going to be vacated I immediately started thinking this is a sign. I asked my wife what she thought about me running and she told me go for it. So I am going for it.
2. You were a registered Republican. Why did you switch affiliation to Decline to State?
A couple of years ago I was audited by the IRS. The first thing the auditor said when he walked in to my office was, " You know what I hate about you Republicans?, you think just because you provide a few jobs you feel you don't have to pay taxes". At first I was mad then I got worried. I soon decided to change to "Independent" to avoid further issues. I've since resolved most of those issues and since then I truly believe our administration is going after conservatives. It was a great reason to get into politics and a sad story to tell.
I found this revelation particularly disturbing. Imagine an IRS official threatening to shake you down just because of your political affiliation. Other unseemly realities have been reported in connection with the IRS, too, like the targeting of specific non-profits. Covered California also tried to register enrollees as Democrats, as well.
3. Tell us about your prior professional/political experience and how they can help the City of Torrance?
I've been involved in a few elections. I've helped conservatives and moderates into office. I have seen the ugly side of politics first hand. I have to say that in the last two years I've met some of the most amazing people and I have no regrets.
Please tell us about your private sector experience plus any public sector work.
I am the co-founder of Mattucci Plumbing, a service company still in business after 25 years. I am also the broker/owner of Mattucci Real Estate and the founder of the Mattucci Project a volunteer community improvement organization that has picked up over 10 tons of trash and weeds and the founder Torrance Small Business Alliance.
What plans do you have to assist seniors while also making Torrance a vibrant city for young people and future families moving it?
The following is a business development plan I have for bringing in more businesses and also helping out our existing ones. At the end I have ideas as to how we can improve public transportation for our seniors.
Some highlights from Mattucci's business plan include:
1. Lower the business license tax to a flat $99 a year for businesses that have less than 5 employees or annual gross revenue not exceeding $500,000.
2. Waive the business license tax for the first year on any new business.
3. Streamline the permitting process and allow applications to initiate online.
4. Lower our permit fees by 25% across the board
5. Eliminate the annual “Fire Inspection Fee” on businesses under 5 employees or under 2,000 square feet of space.
1. Our Economic Development Department needs to reach out to business owners and not wait for them to contact them. One thing we need to keep in mind is that most self-employed have issues with time, not enough of it. When I met with Fran Fulton from this department I was happy to see that they were taking a proactive approach to contacting business owners, but had very low turnouts. I suggested a door to door campaign and workshops set up inside the business owners’ locations.
2. In addition we need to tap into the multi-million dollar resource we have just a few miles away, The Port of Los Angeles. We need to reach out to the thousands of multinational companies that utilize the Port of Los Angeles and invite them to our city. We have over 1 million square feet of available space in Torrance. Filling this space will generate the much needed revenue we’ve been waiting for. Incentives need to be put in place to induce new growth. Most business growth is in relocation and not new business. We need to remind ourselves that it’s easier to lose a business than it is to attract one. The incentives should include waiving permit fees and business licensing fees for the first year. This will stir up growth within the city and revenue will be balanced by the added jobs.
3. If we want to be a business friendly city, we need to show the public the difference between us and neighboring cities. Yes, we have over 400 world headquarters in Torrance and that is remarkable, but being number 1 takes constant efforts. Our reputation in the business environment is not as favorable as public officials try to tell us.
Improvements to our public transportation should include:
· Better signage and route maps at our bus stops
· Senior programs should include a $30 a month unlimited Torrance Transit Pass
· Increase the number of routes to capture a higher number of 55+ housing complexes
· Longer hours of operation
Funding for these additional programs can be generated with private advertising and or sponsorships. Bottom line we need to take care of the issues and take care of them now.
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?
See my Business Plan above.
5. What concerns do you have about crime and public safety in Torrance?
The biggest of concerns is the fact that we are spending 60% of our budget on public safety. In addition, we know that AB109 has had an impact on our safety. I believe that the best tool for fighting crime is public involvement. We need to strengthen our Business Watch and Neighborhood Watch Programs. After finding out that my area had no neighborhood watch program, I went ahead and became an area captain. Our first meeting attracted over fifty local residents.
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?
Some of my fellow candidates refuse to believe that Torrance will end up in Bankruptcy in the near future if we don't make drastic changes to our spending. The pension issue is larger than we think. It is estimated that within the next decade we will be at $1 billion in unfunded liabilities. Changes in the pay structure need to happen across the board. I would start with the highest paid and work your way down. We have police officers making close to 50% more than our secret service agents protecting the President with their lives. I refuse to fall for the notion that great officers come at a big price. We can still offer decent career options without going bankrupt and or having to cut other programs that benefit the community.
Finally, one candidate who is not ignoring this pressing concern. Pension obligations are bad enough, but when the Wall Street Journal reports to a national audience that your city's pension liabilities far exceed revenue expectations, comprehensive reforms cannot be ignored.
7. How have residents and prospective voters responded to your campaign?
My whole platform revolves around the fact that we need to take back control of our government. The people have been left out of many equations. This is partly due to the fact that voter turnouts are notoriously low. I have been getting much support from both sides of the aisle. My message is to encourage unity. It's not a matter of Right or Left, it's a matter of Right or Wrong.
Mattucci has outlined specific plans, along with prior business and real estate experience to boot.
He would be a welcome voice and vote on the Torrance City Council, which will experience one of the most comprehensive turn-overs in city leadership in decades, if not ever.
Torrance voters need to look for leaders who are connected but not entrenched, who recognize the importance of the public interest without giving in to special interests or labor unions, whether local or statewide. Mattucci strikes me as one of a number of candidates with public knowledge as well as private experience that will best serve the growing needs of the city of Torrance.
On June 3, vote for Aurelio for Torrance City Council.
(Visit his blog here)
On June 3, vote for Aurelio for Torrance City Council.
(Visit his blog here)