Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Torrance City Council Races: Milton Herring

Milton Herring
Traffic Commissioner, Pastor, and Army Veteran (and one the Daily Breeze's recently endorsed candidates) Milton Herring provided his answers to my seven questions for Torrance City Council Candidates:

1. Why are you running for city council this year? Did you ever plan on running for office before?

1. I am running for City council to give back to a community which has given much to me and my family. I believe that service is the rent we pay for living in the greatest country on earth. to that end, I have been a public servant all my adult life. Torrance will be electing a mayor and four council members, I believe with my track record of proven leadership, both in the government and the community, I have much to offer the residents of Torrance. Yes, I had considered running for office before this year, but still being in the military, the timing was not right.

I am glad that Mr. Herring considers all responsibilities before mounting a campaign.

2. What is your political party affiliation? Why?

2. I am a Republican because I believe in the prosperity of America and believe that the Republican Party’s approach is the most prudent one. I believe in strong families are the foundational social order and defining marriage between a man and a woman is the Capstone of the family. I believe in the support of Israel. It is the party that was founded to prevent slavery from spreading into the new Territories and it is called the party of Lincoln. We promote limited government, and maximum freedom. This party led to fight for the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendment to the Constitution.

I am glad when Republican candidates share this very important history lesson. Many partisans and liberal activists have attempted to paint the Republican Party as a racist, elitist organization, when its history and legacy are quite the opposite.

3. Tell us about your prior professional/political experience and how they can help the City of Torrance?

3.I entered the U.S. Air Force as an enlistee during the Viet Nam era and served in an Civil Engineering Unit. After being honorably discharged, I completed my undergraduate studies and completed a Masters of Divinity degree in Atlanta, Georgia. I served for four years as Executive Director of Stovall Housing Development (a senior citizen housing and referral agency) in East Los Angeles, 1980-1984. In 1984, I began a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and served for a period of time as Chief of Chaplain Services. In 1985, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (Chaplain) in the U.S. Army Reserves. I served two active duty, twelve month, tours in a combat zone (Kuwait and Iraq), 2004-2005, and 2008-2009. I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2009. I volunteered with the Craig Huey campaign for both of his bids, for Congressman and Assemblyman. I was appointed to the Traffic Commission in 2012 and in December, 2013, I was nominated by Councilman Bill Sutherland to fill a vacated seat on the City Council. I have served as a community pastor for many years.
Quite an impressive resume.

My experience gives me a well round perspective for the council. I understand the inner workings of local government, I have met with most all the department heads including the City Manager to understand their role and responsibilities. I am prepared to make tough and unpopular decisions. I am a people person, I like listening to people and helping them solve their problems. I know how to analyze budgets. I have been attending the council meetings on a regular over the past twelve months and have a good grasp of the issues that come before the council.
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.

4. I believe that it takes a coalition of people in city government to make things happen. One person in and of himself can not accomplish anything. So, I would work to forge relationships between the City, Chamber of Commerce and local schools to develop an Economic Empowerment Zones (EEZs). These EEZs would operate under the auspices of the Office of Economic Development. They could be designated areas to promote economic activities in downtown Torrance or along the Hawthorne corridor. They could serve as Tech centers, a Silicon Valley like enterprise zone to attract and retain our young tech savvy graduates by providing incentives for start up businesses. These EEZs would collaborate with El Camino College and So Cal ROC and could be zoned for mixed-use, allowing for lofts or condos on a second level and offices or businesses on the ground level. I would work to continue to find ways to streamline our application for permits and licensees.

Also, I would work with our Office of Economic Development to actively recruit national and international businesses to Torrance, as well as work with county, and state elceted officials to make Torrance an even more business friendly city.
5. What concerns do you have about crime and public safety in Torrance?

5. Public safety is one of my focuses. I would support Police Chief Mark Matsuda to provide him with the resources necessary to ensure that Torrance remains a safe community. In light of the passage of Assembly Bill 109, which has released more criminals into our community. I believe this is one reason why there is an up tick in burglaries in Torrance. I would work to enhance our Neighborhood Watch and National Night Out programs as well as look at other ways to strengthen neighbor relationships.
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?

6. There are serious concerns about our unfunded Pension liability. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the City negotiated to have all new employees pay 9% and 7% of the pension costs for Safety and Miscellaneous employees respectively. The City is on target for achieving its projected savings of $630,000 for 2014. New hires, since 2013 are paying into their pension fund. Some of the unfunded liability is due to changes in Cal Pers and the mortality rate, people living longer. An improved State economy could help in reducing our unfunded liability. As a council member, I would work with other council members to look for ways to pay down the liability.
Herring shares that he is prepared to make tough decisions, yet there is no remarks about the cost-cutting and reform measures needed to ensure solvent pensions and sustained functions for the city of Torrance. The current pension reforms have saved $800,000, but the total pension liability is nearly one hundred times that savings.
$630,000 is a drop in the bucket. Current and long-standing employees must pay in more, too.
7. How have residents and prospective voters responded to your campaign? 

7. Residents are responding very positive to my message of proven leadership and a fiscal conservative.
Yes, we need fiscal conservatives on our city councils, who recognize that the city's dollars belong to all residents, and should not fund the narrow interests of unions. Herring's suggestions, however, do not stand out as comprehensive to me.
Still, his accomplished record working with the poor and the well-off, his service in the military and in domestic life command respect which every voter should consider.

No comments:

Post a Comment