GARDENA — The Gardena Police Officers Association has endorsed the following candidates in the March 5 election:
Mayor — Paul Tanaka (incumbent)
City Council — Tasha Cerda (incumbent), Rodney Tanaka
City clerk — Art Kaskanian
“Let’s keep our city moving forward,” the association said in a statement. “Our city leadership and city employees have worked hard for over a decade to improve the city’s financial position and to make this a community and organization that we are all proud to serve.”
Paul Tanaka’s endorsers include Mayor Pro Tem Ron Ikejiri.
In an ad published in The Gardena Valley News on Feb. 28 and sponsored by Gardena resident Terry Kennedy, Tanaka said, “Our city is a remarkable example of what can be done through community involvement and cooperation. With six years on the council and two terms as mayor, I am proud of the role I’ve played in turning our city around. I respectfully request your vote for mayor, to continue our progress and make Gardena the best it can possibly be.”
The Daily Breeze had a different list of recommendations:
Mayor — Councilmember Rachel Johnson
City Council — Former Mayor Terrence Terauchi, Mark Henderson
City clerk — Mina Semenza
“For nearly a decade, Gardena has positioned itself as a city with a solid budget and a City Council that generally gets along,” the newspaper said. “Peel back that shiny veneer and a dysfunctional culture of city government is quickly exposed. These three people are best positioned to help City Hall function well again.”
Referring to Tanaka’s alleged involvement in excessive force in the jails as undersheriff of Los Angeles County, The Daily Breeze said in a Feb. 23 editorial, “The residents of Gardena do not need a mayor who is mired in so much controversy.”
Johnson’s endorsers include Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the California Democratic Party, and Los Angeles County Firefighters Local 1014. If elected, she would be the first woman and first African American to serve as mayor of Gardena. If she loses, she will retain her council seat.
The Gardena Valley Democratic Club’s picks are as follows:
Mayor — Councilmember Dan Medina
City Council — Tasha Cerda, Terrence Terauchi
City clerk — Shannon Tsukiyama
On its website, the GVDC also gave instructions on how to vote for Medina, who is a write-in candidate.
Medina’s endorsers include former Gardena Mayors Don Dear and Ed Russ, and Inglewood Mayor James Butts.
Mayor Tanaka has said that he filed papers to run for a third term when it appeared that no one else was running, and that by the time Johnson entered the race it was too late to take his name off the ballot. He did not actively campaign, but will serve if elected. Medina has said that he would have filed before the deadline if he had known Tanaka wasn’t interested in running.
Also running for the City Council is Kathleen “Suzy” Evans. There are two open seats.
City Treasurer J. Ingrid Tsukiyama is running unopposed for re-election. Shannon Tsukiyama is her daughter-in-law.