Torrance Mayor George Chen delivered his second State of the State address on Friday, September 15, 2023, at an event hosted by the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. He highlighted the improvements in Torrance’s economy, including a balanced budget, low unemployment, new business development, and international connections formed by the city. Hundreds of attendees, including city officials, business representatives, and community leaders, were present at the event.
The mayor’s speech focused on the city’s economic situation, emphasizing the achievement of a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The city’s overall budget is approximately $500 million, and the removal of major budget cuts will allow for additional funds to be allocated towards public services, safety, and community programs. Mayor Chen highlighted the significant increase in the city’s reserves, from $585,000 to $58 million, which demonstrates the positive trend in the city’s financial rating.
He also mentioned the growth of new businesses in Torrance, with 542 new business permits issued in the past eight months. The upcoming opening of an Apple store at the Del Amo Fashion Center and the addition of new tenants to the Torrance Gateway Properties office park were cited as examples of the city’s fiscal stability. The mayor also noted that Torrance’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the South Bay and countywide, currently at 4.1%.
In addition to economic progress, Torrance is expanding its international footprint through a new friendship city program. The city has hosted delegations from various countries, including Pakistan, Austria, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Mayor Chen mentioned upcoming trips to Torrance’s sister city, Kashiwa, Japan, and Hwaseong, South Korea, to commemorate their longstanding relationships and sign new friendship city agreements.
Addressing the issue of homelessness, the mayor mentioned securing funding to extend the lifespan of the Tiny Home Village, a transitional housing complex for homeless individuals. He highlighted the decrease in street homelessness in Torrance, as reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Homeless Services. Chen stressed the importance of providing concrete solutions and opportunities for unhoused individuals to improve their lives.
Though much of the speech focused on economic matters, Mayor Chen also praised the Torrance Police Department for their contributions to public safety. He mentioned a decrease in the citywide crime rate and highlighted the upcoming opening of a real-time response center that will enhance police operations. Additionally, he commended the fire department for their record number of emergency responses.
The mayor briefly mentioned the opening of a new regional transportation center in Torrance, which aims to extend the Metro C Line project. However, there have been concerns expressed by city council members about the impact on the homeless population. The mayor has not yet commented on these concerns.
Overall, Mayor George Chen’s State of the State address highlighted the positive developments in Torrance’s economy, international relations, efforts to address homelessness, and contributions of the police and fire departments.