Two Candidates for Mayor, One Clear Choice

Two Candidates for Mayor, One Clear Choice

Let's compare the records of the two candidates running for Torrance Mayor on June 7.

Mayoral candidate George Chen, a Councilman for the past four years, talks about fiscal discipline and public safety - but his words and actions say otherwise.

  • The State Auditor determined that Torrance’s fiscal condition is the 4th worst in the State.
  • Amidst the City’s financial crisis, in the May 2021 budget hearing, George Chen said, referring to the budget, “I haven’t read through the book yet.” In the same hearing, he said, “This is almost like an open public tutorial, could be a little embarrassing.” (Source: Videotape of City Council meeting 5/11/21 at 4:15:26)
  • George Chen took 3 years to understand that the City was deficit spending. “The light- bulb came on to me around the middle of last year,” he said. “Using reserves to balance our budget since 2015 was not the right approach.” (Source: Videotape of City Council meeting 1/25/22 at 3:46:00)
  • During the mayoral campaign, George Chen said: “We have to have discipline, not spending more than what we take in.” Yet in May 2021 he voted for a general fund budget that spent more than it took in by more than $1.5M. (Sources: City Council Meeting Minutes 5/18/21. FY2021-2023 Adopted Biennial Budget and Capital Improvement Plan, p. 15.)
  • During the mayoral campaign, George Chen said: “I will continue to prioritize public safety.” Yet he is not endorsed by Public Safety Officers, and in the May 2022 budget hearing, he offered no alternatives as City staff proposed cutting more than three dozen paramedics, police and firefighter positions, including the elimination of one paramedic rescue unit. (Source: Videotape of City Council Meeting 5/10/21 at 4:28:00)

Cliff Numark has demonstrated results in fiscal discipline and supporting public safety.

  • Cliff Numark helped the City get through the Great Recession with $50 million in reserves (more than 50% more than the 2020-21 reserves). (Source: 2014-15 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, p. 130; FY20-21 Mid-year Budget Report p. 24.)
  • Cliff Numark stopped El Camino using reserves – insisting the College President avoid a structural deficit. (Source: Budget Presentations at El Camino College Board Meeting 6/21/21 p. 9, 9/2/21 p. 5.)
  • Cliff Numark initiated the City’s Energy Audit, saving $300,000 a year. (Source: City Council Minutes, 5/12/2009 p. 7.)
  • Cliff Numark is endorsed by Torrance Paramedics, Police Officers, Firefighters and two Former Torrance Police Chiefs. In his time in office, Cliff approved the City’s professional CSI team, the El Camino College public safety training center and initiated an ordinance to give officers more tools to stop graffiti. (Source: City Council Minutes 2/24/2009 p. 8 and staff report, El Camino College Board Meeting 9/7/21 item 11.1, Daily Breeze May 12, 2010)
  • Cliff Numark’s budget plan starts with a “culture of cost reductions” – including suspending health insurance benefits and city-paid meals before council meetings for the Mayor and Council until City finances improve – and then enacts a comprehensive review of City finances, irrespective of whether SST passes or not.