Torrance Election 2018 Questionnaire

*NOTE: The responses below reflect solely the opinions of the respondents.  No endorsement by TRAA is implied. TRAA is and always has been a NONPARTISAN organization.*

On June 5, 2018, Torrance will hold elections for the mayor, three city council positions, city clerk, and city treasurer. We sent a questionnaire to the mayoral and city council candidates to determine their position on the use of MHF by the Torrance Refining Company. The questions and the verbatim responses of each candidate are presented below. Voting information for residents can be found here and also here

Torrance City Council Candidates:

George Chen

No response received.

Tim Goodrich (Incumbent)

1. Do you support a ban on Modified HydroFluoric (MHF) acid alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

Yes.

2. What actions have you taken to support a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery, by writing a letter to the AQMD and/or the state legislature requesting they pass a ban or otherwise?

I have supported a ban by writing and introducing to the Torrance Council a resolution calling for the elimination of MHF from the refinery. I was one of only two votes out of seven to vote for the ban. I have also communicated with out state and federal level officials on this issue and have written in support of a ban to the AQMD.

3. As a city council member, would you vote for a city resolution supporting a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

See above.

4. Some claim that the extant Consent Decree limits what the Torrance city council can do; others claim otherwise. If elected, will you work to pursue vacating the Consent Decree to the maximal degree permitted by law?

I will explore all options available to achieve the goal of eliminating MHF.

Aurelio Mattucci

1. Do you support a ban on Modified HydroFluoric (MHF) acid alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

2. What actions have you taken to support a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery, by writing a letter to the AQMD and/or the state legislature requesting they pass a ban or otherwise?

3. As a city council member, would you vote for a city resolution supporting a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

4. Some claim that the extant Consent Decree limits what the Torrance city council can do; others claim otherwise. If elected, will you work to pursue vacating the Consent Decree to the maximal degree permitted by law?

This is my position on MHF.  It is on my website and has been since I started it.  I am open to dialogue.

Torrance Refinery
The Torrance Refinery has been an issue here in Torrance since we built thousands of homes around it. The refinery was built in 1929, way before most tracts, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have an issue. Since my family has moved to Torrance, I’ve seen it blow up at least three times.  I do understand that it’s a dangerous business to be in , and that things happen for a variety of reasons and most revert to neglect.  One of the main issues, is the use of MHF in the process.  According to my research, only a handful of refineries still use MHF, and mostly all have built their refineries to use Sulfuric Acid in it’s place.  Of course, California is a different animal.  We have our own blends dictated by law, and this really limits our ability to fulfill our needs without being able to import refined goods from out of State.  There is no doubt that MHF is a dangerous substance and it needs to be replaced with alternative products.
I truly believe we need a better and safer refinery.  Under no circumstances would I want to force them to leave.  The many jobs and revenue they contribute is very important to Torrance, but public safety is and should stay a priority.  The conversation and research has to continue, and I believe a solution is close.  The refinery has vowed to improve it’s safety measures but their track record warrants some skepticism.  They have allocated about $100 million in funds to help towards improvements.  We can’t afford to lose yet another major employer, so let’s work on finding the solution as a team effort and make sure that the well-being of the general public is kept in mind while making these decisions.
I would also like to see less flare ups, and ways to have better air quality.  I have lived close to the refinery, and experienced the air in and around the refinery for a few years. Not Good.
I would also like to see the refinery capture some of that energy from the flares, and convert it into power.
The public’s safety and well-being is at stake, so let’s keep the efforts up on trying to find viable solutions and better methods of communication between the refinery and the general public.
I am for the elimination of MHF in our refinery.  The 2015 explosion was a close call, and more so a wake up call.  I don’t want to have the threat of a disaster constantly on our minds. The threat needs to be eliminated, so to ensure a safer Torrance, and a better quality of life.

Bill Sutherland

1. Do you support a ban on Modified HydroFluoric (MHF) acid alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

Yes.

2. What actions have you taken to support a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery, by writing a letter to the AQMD and/or the state legislature requesting they pass a ban or otherwise?

I sent a letter.

3. As a city council member, would you vote for a city resolution supporting a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

Yes.

4. Some claim that the extant Consent Decree limits what the Torrance city council can do; others claim otherwise. If elected, will you work to pursue vacating the Consent Decree to the maximal degree permitted by law?

Yes.

Kurt Weideman (Incumbent)

1. Do you support a ban on Modified HydroFluoric (MHF) acid alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

2. What actions have you taken to support a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery, by writing a letter to the AQMD and/or the state legislature requesting they pass a ban or otherwise?

3. As a city council member, would you vote for a city resolution supporting a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

4. Some claim that the extant Consent Decree limits what the Torrance city council can do; others claim otherwise. If elected, will you work to pursue vacating the Consent Decree to the maximal degree permitted by law?

Members of the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance,

I freely admit that I came late to the cause of banning modified hydrofluoric acid alkylation at the Torrance Refinery. I was a skeptic (albeit an open minded one), but I listened to the persistent arguments and efforts of Sally, Connie, Cliff, Donna and Dr. Eng. I attended almost every meeting that the AQMD held in the South Bay to listen and learn. Finally, with the publication of the Norton Report, I was finally and unequivocally convinced that MHF was an unnecessary and dangerous threat to our community.

On March 7, 2017, I became the first member of the Torrance City Council to publicly announce from the dais their opposition to the use of MHF at the Torrance Refinery, and advocated for a ban of the chemical.

I have subsequently voted on a City of Torrance resolution supporting the efforts of Assemblymember Muratsuchi in AB1645-49. I co- authored jointly with my colleague, Tim Goodrich, a City of Torrance resolution calling for a ban on the use of MHF at the Torrance refinery. I have written on my City Councilmember Letterhead to Dr. Burke of the AQMD advocating for the elimination of MHF in the writing of Rule 1410. I have personally spoken to our local state and federal legislators regarding the necessity of banning MHF in the Refining process. I attended and spoke at the anniversary rally and march on February 17th. I have basically taken to heart Dr. Eng’s admonition, looking at me on the dais, that as public officials and community leaders we need to use our positions as a “bully pulpit”.

I do not feel that with the current composition of the Torrance City Council that a modification of the Consent Decree is possible, this could very well change with City Council elections this June 5th and two years hence.

Speaking of elections, I would like to take this opportunity to express my concern and consternation at a recent Daily Breeze article that revealed the amount of money that PBF is spending on it’s lobbying efforts in Washington DC. A small fraction of that amount of money could greatly influence local elections – “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, I would urge TRAA members to actively support (telling friends and neighbors, displaying lawn signs and even contributing money) candidates who have an understanding of the issue and expressed their willingness to ban MHF.

Jimmy Gow

1. Do you support a ban on Modified HydroFluoric (MHF) acid alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

As a founding member of the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance, I have supported this effort from the beginning, how many other candidates can say the same? I think just me, Jimmy Gow.

2. What actions have you taken to support a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery, by writing a letter to the AQMD and/or the state legislature requesting they pass a ban or otherwise?

 Using my role as President of the Torrance Democratic Club, I wrote a letter, dated August 29, 2017, to the SCAQMD. We also supported Asm. Al Muratsuchi with his bill, AB1645. On a more basic level of support to TRAA, I designed the logo and provided – as a fundraising donation – the first 200 TRAA buttons.

3. As a city council member, would you vote for a city resolution supporting a ban on MHF alkylation at the Torrance refinery?

Yes, I look forward to adding my vote to those of Tim Goodrich and Kurt Weideman. 

4. Some claim that the extant Consent Decree limits what the Torrance city council can do; others claim otherwise. If elected, will you work to pursue vacating the Consent Decree to the maximal degree permitted by law?

Our next opportunity to make a difference is at the SCAQMD meeting on Saturday, April 28 in the Torrance City Council Chambers. We need to move them to take action! The SCAQMD actually has some authority to do something. Short of that, then yes, exploring ways to extricate the city from the Consent Decree would be
better than doing nothing at all. I also encourage a retrofit – with new technology, not sulfuric acid – and believe that the community will benefit from the jobs created in such an effort to increase worker safety at the refinery and public safety in the community at-large.

Torrance Mayoral Candidates:

Tom Brewer

No response received.

Patrick Furey (Incumbent)

No response received.

Ron Riggs

No response received.

*NOTE: The responses included here reflect solely the opinions of the respondents.  No endorsement by TRAA is implied. TRAA is and always has been a NONPARTISAN organization.*