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Candidates Address the Issues in Torrance Election

March 03, 1994

On the ballot in Torrance's election Tuesday are candidates for mayor, three City Council seats, city treasurer and city clerk. Here are candidate statements taken from interviews with The Times.

CITY COUNCIL

Mike Botello

Age: 43

Occupation: El Camino College law and real estate professor

Comments: The first problem is how we are going to approach the issue of safety. We have to do everything we can to replace officers and keep a full deployment. Then there is the question of our economic base. How do you have the city of Torrance retain the present businesses and attract new businesses? We have to tout our safety and go out and reach for those businesses. . . . I also think we have to address the issue of true AIDS education for our children.

Marcia Cribbs

Age: 58

Occupation: Certified public accountant

Comments: I consider coequal the safety in the neighborhoods, parks and malls and the retention and attraction of businesses. With limited financial resources we are gong to have to be extremely careful. We cannot afford a policeman on every corner. We also need a permanent economic development committee to retain and attract businesses. I think we have to do some privatization. I am not so dumb as to think that business does everything right or government does everything wrong. There are some services that can be done better under contract.

Burton Fletcher

Age: 43

Occupation: Business professor at El Camino College, lawyer

Comments: I am at the forefront of the push for a major expansion of the volunteer reserve (police) officer system. I am the only candidate who is advocating council districts for increased council accountability. I am advocating that we restrict contributions from special-interest groups. . . . I advocate increased citizen participation and oversight in the area of economic development by the creation of an economic development commission. . . . I believe that the Police Department will better serve our community if an advisory police commission provides guidance in such areas as neighborhood watch, mall and park safety.

Joe Martinez

Age: 35

Occupation: Business lawyer

Comments: I want to emphasize the priority of public safety and address the rising concern over crime. I would like to see another community lead officer added to the program . . . and use the old tried-and-true Neighborhood Watch program. I think we could invigorate that. I'm a real proponent of the use of volunteers--not to replace city employees but to supplement them. Another area the city has to take a hard look at is airport operations. We have to look at raising some of the fees.

Mike Mauno

Age: 36

Occupation: Project manager for financial institution

Comments: To stem the rate of crime and violence, you need additional citizen participation. I'm advocating that the city create the Torrance Public Safety Advisory Committee. . . . We need to focus more on preventive action, whatever it might be. I'm also advocating a Torrance area youth corps. It is similar to the Peace Corps but it's focused on Torrance youth. What I would like to see is an individual or department or phone number that a citizen can call to register their concern relating to city services.

Jack Messerlian

Age: 48

Occupation: Urban planner

Comments: We have got to send a message to criminals that they are just not welcome in Torrance. If we need to hire more police offers, then we ought to. We've got to come up with a new set of laws to hold parents responsible for minors who are involved in graffiti activity. . . . We need to stimulate the economic growth of the city. We can attract (jobs) to Torrance by doing one of several things. One is to streamline the regulatory process. We've got to market the facilities that we have and the quality schools that we have. We need to establish a buy-in-Torrance-first program.

Jose (Joe) D. Quinones

Age: 57

Occupation: Air-conditioning and heating technician for the city of Torrance

Comments: All (the candidates) want the same things: better police and fire protection, youth programs and bringing business to Torrance. Why would you want to vote for me? The answer is experience. I have the experience of working 35 years within the system. I know how the city works from the inside. Because of the diminishing revenues, the new buzzword is privatization, which is just another way of saying contracting out. If the person does not write the contract just right, the contractor will not do it. The city was designed and formed to perform certain services for its citizens and we do them best.

Gerry Rische

Age: 59

Occupation: Retired teacher

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