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January 20, 2010 Meeting Notes by Todd Hays

Wednesday, January 20th, we elected new OTNA Officers. The nominating Committee was Janet Payne, Todd Hays and Delores Sutherland. Here is your new slate of officers who were voted-in unanimously:

  • President - Todd Hays (outgoing - Trish Stewart)
  • Vice President - Fern Ruiz (outgoing - Bob Voeste)
  • Secretary - Trish Stewart (outgoing - Dolores Sutherland)
  • Treasurer - Linda Brown (outgoing - Jim Herren)

Despite the inclement weather, we had a nice turnout for last night's meeting. Our guest speaker was Mayor Frank Scotto who provided an Update on the State of the City. For those of you who were unable to attend, below is a recap of the meeting from Todd Hays:

Mayor Scotto spoke for about 45 minutes and took questions for another 20 minutes, right up until 9:00 PM, when we finished. He did not speak from prepared notes or even an outline (I asked), so here's a recap from best of my recollection:

All-in-all, the City is in good financial shape, due to their conservative financial management style over the last 10 years. They enacted a 2% cutback without laying anyone off. In comparison, surrounding cities are laying off a substantial number of policemen, fireman, etc. He talked about our transition to Team Policing. Teams of officers will be assigned to one of three specific areas within the city along with a lieutenant and sergeant. This policing model will enable us to have more officers on the streets of Torrance at the times and places where they are needed the most in an effort to further reduce crime. Mayor Scotto also hopes to implement a sixth paramedic unit through the fire department, without hiring additional firemen. He also mentioned that our fire department's Class 1 rating is one of only 57 cities in the country!

Torrance is also weathering these storms pretty well and the Public Works Department is keeping an eye on some of the hillsides on the south end, along with the storm drains and sumps. No big problems and sandbags are available from the Public Works Department over at the City Yard on Madrona. If you have a problem with water entering your house, "call 911 because that's an emergency!" The City is also expanding its green waste recycling programming and will soon be issuing a third trash can to all city homes. This extra trash pick-up is also being achieved without an increase in personnel.

He talked about the sump conversion projects that the city is considering. Apparently, the state has some Prop 84 money available from a few years ago and they're asking cities for proposals. Torrance would like to install water filtering system at the Bishop-Montgomery sump over on Torrance Blvd. and also at the Ocean Avenue sump between Sepulveda and Lomita Blvds. If they get the state money, they also hope to install a large athletic field at the Bishop-Montgomery sump for youth sports (football, baseball, soccer) and maybe a nature walk type of small park at the Ocean Ave. sump. He encouraged us to visit the City's web site to learn more about these projects and to provide our input:

The Mayor talked briefly about his goals going forward: Revitalize downtown Torrance and possibly enact an "HPOZ" zone over downtown (historic designation). To redo downtown, they plan to establish separate committees for the property owners, business owner and residents. The committees' goal will be to develop a vision for downtown, along with an action plan. Their focus initially will be on Sartori avenue with the hopes that the redevelopment will spread to the adjoining streets. The Mayor also mentioned that the City's Neighborhood Watch program tripled in membership last year -- a very good sign that Torrance will continue its strong fight against crime.

He also discussed the City's hope to develop a new transit center for their bus service on property that they recently purchased on Crenshaw, just north of the train overpass. Their long term vision is to develop a good portion of that property, along with a transit center toward the rear of it. Then they'll have a place for the bus service to drop people off for transfers to other city busses and possibly MTA busses to downtown Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Torrance's busses are "going green" with a new combination gas/electric bus in a test program.

Torrance's hotels have banded together to collect a 1% hotel bed tax to significantly increase their funding of the City's Visitor's Bureau. They project this will raise an additional $500-800K that will go towards attracting more visitors to Torrance! A new indoor soccer facility with seven soccer fields opened on Maple Avenue, just north of the court house. The fields are the size of a hockey rink and the ball is heavier so as not to carry as far. The facility is proving to be immensely popular with both kids and adults -- the fields are almost completely booked up.

On February 2nd, El Paso Cantina will donate 20% of their proceeds to the Haitian relief fund. Have a night out, enjoy some good Mexican food and help with the relief effort.

That's about all that I can recollect (with Chuck Lobb's help - thanks Chuck).

Take care, Todd