They will be voting to elect a new mayor to fill the void left when Paul Tanaka resigned after he was convicted of blocking an FBI investigation into Los Angeles county jails when he was undersheriff of the Sheriff’s Department. Voters also will be deciding among eight candidates to fill two spots on the City Council.
The first priority of the new council will be to hire a city manager to replace longtime manager Mitch Lansdell. Another major issue will be deciding how to pay for Civic Center upgrades, including a new police station and senior citizen center.
There is a strong field of candidates to pick from: seven running for mayor, including four current council members and two former council members, and eight running for the two council seats.
For mayor, the editorial board is endorsing Tasha Cerda, a longtime community volunteer before being appointed to the council in 2009 and winning her first full term in 2012.
Cerda has the passion and energy to fill the leadership void in the city. She supports Ed Medrano as city manager to replace Lansdell, but we would urge her to have an open search to fill the manager’s job to help reduce any accusations of cronyism. Medrano is a “super director” in charge of the police department, community development and public works.
Also running for mayor are Councilmen Terrence Terauchi, Mark Henderson and Dan Medina; former council members Ron Ikejiri and Rachel Johnson, and Warren Kronberger, a mechanic supervisor.
For the Gardena council seats, we are recommending Charity Chandler-Cole, a healthcare nonprofit director, and Rodney Tanaka (no relation to the former mayor), a retired Gardena police lieutenant and pastor. They will bring fresh ideas to the council.
Other council candidates include Nolan Jamora, Isky Racing Cams operations director; Art Kaskanian, co-owner of Sam’s Auto Land; Paulette Francis, a teacher; Wanda Love, executive director, Gardena Valley Chamber of Commerce; Shannon Lawrence, an analyst, and Camile Le, a finance analyst for the city’s transportation department.