By : Ryan Guitare
In anticipation of Friday’s State of the City Address, Mayor George Chen was asked questions by: Ryan Guitare, Communications Coordinator.
What is your biggest accomplishment thus far during your term as mayor?
I think the biggest accomplishment is not just from me alone as mayor, but collectively as a council working together balancing the budget and achieving a financial status for our city that’s trending upwards. Collectively we work together. There was a time when I was still running for mayor when people were talking about how Torrance was rated fourth from the bottom with $585 thousand in reserves and now, we are pushing upwards to $58 million. Again, that’s not me alone it is, my colleges, my council and city staff. It is important to look at how we are spending money and also creating a path for a vibrant future for this city. At the end of the day, it’s all about the money, the more revenue we can generate the better we can provide services to our city business and residents.
What are you looking forward to improving in the future for Torrance?
Money that’s trending in a positive direction if there’s a way in solving our unfunded pension liability that would be something. If we can improve and enhance our public safety departments with the real-time response center having more surveillance in public spaces more eyes in the environment that would be good for the public safety and having 21st century technology to help with public safety. If we could get 1 or 2 foreign direct investment business from overseas that would plant their business here in Torrance would be great to see. That’s what the Friendship Cities initiative is all about. Foreign direct investments mean more business in the city of Torrance leading to higher paying jobs and higher paying jobs that provide workers with the possibility of buying homes and living in Torrance. One feeds off the other like a chain reaction. Unfortunately, housing is not cheap in Torrance or the South Bay so the thing we can effect is having jobs that pay well so people can afford to live. Another thing we are looking to improve is the homelessness situation, using resources the best we can within the laws that we need to abide by. I want to start moving in a more positive direction whether it happens during my term here or not. We can plant the seeds on the path. If things don’t happen during my tenure, I will not put my head down if I lay the footwork and foundation so that the future generation can reap the fruits of our labor.
The way I see it is, the priority of government is protecting the people, the community, and businesses. If we can protect you guys, businesses, and residents the community will thrive and allow you guys to thrive so you can live, work, and play as simply and freely as possible.
What topics do we get to look forward to going into the State of the City?
The big one is our financial status and the future of public safety and the importance of it. We want to look at our partnership with schools because we are the two invested bodies of the city, and how we play together in the sand box to mutually help each other and utilize our services is important. We really want to continue the efficiency of our public safety tools and be vigilant on the homelessness crisis. And what is the plan for our future? Bring in more revenue for our city. I can’t get off providing revenue for our city because if we get lazy and just rest, we will fall behind. We need to continue to market the city of Torrance domestically and internationally.
What is your favorite part about being mayor?
I get to meet people; I get to visit businesses and learn about their success and needs. I get to celebrate with people. People want to connect now a days and I’m here to connect and see how I can make their lives better, even when times are good and when times are not so good. I think if you try to bring that human aspect, the ability to understand problems we can provide a best balance solution moving forward. I like being able to interact with people and have that opportunity, not to just solve today’s problems but also look out for tomorrow’s problems and get ahead of it. It’s the people. Being an influential and balanced part of the community while bringing the human aspect into it. I want to be accessible to the community and it’s been great to see all the people and businesses as I travel around the community to all the events and celebrations.