GARDENA — Eight candidates are vying for two seats on the Gardena City Council in the March 3 election. In alphabetical order, they are:
• Gina Lopez Alexander, entrepreneur, philanthropist, designer
• Paulette Francis, teacher, vice president of Gardena Holly Park Homeowners Association
• Mark Henderson, incumbent (elected in 2015)
• Rachel Johnson, former city clerk and councilmember, retired educator
• Roy Kim, owner of a family-run Korean barbecue business
• Wanda Love, president of Gardena Valley Chamber of Commerce
• Ochuwa Oghle, regional manager for a commercial warehouse company
• Ben Tarzynski, deputy district attorney, Marine Corps veteran
Alexander is the daughter of Cesar Lopez, who was the mayor of Wilmington and a leader in the Filipino American community. She says that Gardena needs more Filipino American representation.
Her endorsers include Torrance City Councilmembers George Chen and Aurelio Mattucci, Yorba Linda City Councilmember Peggy Huang, Carson Mayor Jim Dear, Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Los Angeles co-founder Noel Omega, and Apl-De-Ap of the Black Eyed Peas.
Kim is a member of the Gardena Human Services Commission. He teaches tae kwon do to children, self-defense classes for women and English classes for seniors. His priorities include public safety, services for seniors and youth, economic development, the homeless problem, and making Gardena an environmentally friendly city.
His endorsers include Mayor Tasha Cerda, Councilmembers Henderson, Art Kaskanian and Rodney Tanaka, and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson.
(Tanaka, who is not up for re-election this year, is currently the only Asian American member of the council.)
Tarzynski, who moved to Gardena with his wife Madoka after completing his military service and is raising two children, also has supporters in the Asian American community, including former Assemblymember Warren Furutani, Rep. Ted Lieu and the Korean American Democratic Committee. His endorsers also include Councilmember Dan Medina, former Mayor Don Dear, Rep. Karen Bass, State Sen. Ben Allen, and Los Angeles City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
His priorities include public services, public safety, economic opportunity, senior services, more parks and green spaces, meeting environmental and sustainability goals, and working with neighboring communities to address regional issues like traffic.