Kaji seeks a seat on the Torrance City Council


Jon Kaji (left) with former USC athletic director and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett and Torrance City Councilman George Chen at North Torrance High School.

TORRANCE — Prominent local businessman and philanthropist Jon Kaji is running for the Torrance City Council seat for District 1 (North Torrance).

Kaji said, “I decided to run to make sure North Torrance gets its fair share of funding from the town hall. For too long North Torrance has been ignored leading to deteriorating streets and increased crime.

Kaji added that, if elected, he will demand an audit of City Hall by the California State Comptroller. Says Kaji, “The California State Auditor rated Torrance as ‘high risk’ and the fourth worst city in California.” He believes that only a full, independent financial audit of the city will allow residents to determine how city funds have been misspent.

Kaji launched her campaign on April 9 at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute. Speaking in favor of Kaji, Trisha Murakawa, administrator of El Camino College, a longtime friend; Glenn Osaki, Senior Advisor to the President of the University of Southern California (speaking as an individual supporter); and Shawn Layden, former Chairman and CEO of SONY Interactive Entertainment.

Osaki recently worked with Kaji to secure formal apologies and posthumous honorary degrees for Nisei USC students. President Carol Folt awarded posthumous degrees at a USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association Scholarship Dinner held April 1. Kaji led the fight that resulted in the special prizes.

“Over the past year, I’ve worked closely with Jon to posthumously award honorary degrees to Nisei students who were denied by USC. Through this process, I’ve learned three very important things: important things about Jon Kaji, which I believe are absolutely essential for elected officials: #1 – he keeps his promises; #2 – he has principles and ethics; #3 – he is tenacious.

“Jon has the honor and integrity to fulfill his obligations. He keeps his promises.” Jon represents everyone. You know he has your back. He has principles. When everyone else has given up, Jon We all want to know that our elected officials will stick it out, even when things aren’t easy.

“In a small corner of campus, we have built and dedicated a Japanese rock garden as a lasting tribute to the Nisei. At the entrance is a large stone engraved with the Japanese proverb Ishi no ue ni mo sannen. It literally means “on a stone for three years” or sitting on a stone for three years will warm it. The Japanese know that this proverb teaches that even when we go through difficult times, through endurance and patience, we will overcome. Perseverance wins.

“We put this proverb in the garden because it beautifully captures the plight of students at Nisei – and the university – over the past 80 years. But we also put it there as a tribute to Jon – because it was Jon who quoted this proverb during our very first meeting with landscape architect Calvin Abe, who designed the garden. This comment stayed with me throughout this process, helped me internalize the importance of what we were doing – and I wanted to respect Jon – for the man he is and all he has done. for our university community. Perseverance wins in the end. And that’s exactly why Jon is going to win in his run for Torrance City Council!”

Kaji has operated his business, Kaji & Associates, in North Torrance for nearly 32 years. During this time, he owned and renovated three shopping malls, resulting in increased sales tax revenue, new jobs, and better services for Torrance residents.

“I have always supported small businesses, including Shinsengumi Restaurant Group, Kansha Creamery, Kaizen Dojo and South Bay Skates. I’m glad I was able to help them start and grow into successful businesses,” Kaji said.

Recently, Kaji & Associates established the Bill Peters Athletic Scholarship at North High School, named after a popular coach and mentor, and donated $10,000 towards the renovation of the school’s weight room.

USC Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett appeared with Kaji for the weight room checkout presentation. Last week, Los Angeles Laker great Michael Cooper joined Kaji at the North High School athletic awards ceremony.

Kaji hopes North High School will produce the next generation of local Torrance leaders. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Kaji said, “Supporting our young people in North Torrance is one of my personal missions. I hope that by bringing in successful mentors, we can inspire students to pursue their own dreams. »

Kaji is running as an independent candidate for the nonpartisan council seat. When asked to describe his program, he said, “My only special interests are the people of North Torrance. Let’s rebuild our roads and sidewalks the right way, establish a police station in North Torrance, and make North Torrance the gateway to Torrance, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the beach towns.

Some of his supporters include:

Former California State Treasurer John Chiang

Don Knabe, former LA County Supervisor

Former LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich

George Chen, member of the Torrance City Council

Aurelio Mattucci, member of the Torrance City Council

Trisha Murakawa, Administrator of El Camino College

James Han, Torrance Unified School District Board Member

Tasha Cerda, Mayor of Gardena

Gardena City Council Member Rodney Tanaka

Gardena City Clerk Mina Simenza

Jan Perry, former Los Angeles City Council member

David Ryu, former Los Angeles City Council member

Actor and community activist George Takei

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Hershey Miyamura

Election day is Tuesday, June 7, with absentee ballots sent to voters in May.

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