Councilman Herring’s Address
People First of South Bay / Harbor Area
Monday, March 20 – 6 to 8 p.m.
Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Garden Rooms
Good evening! On behalf of my colleagues on the Torrance City Council, thank you for inviting me to be here tonight.
It is inspiring to see all of you here, a group that is so motivated to help others.
People First not only serves as a support system for people with disabilities, but it also encourages progress, change, and acceptance on a broader scale. By coming together and collectively raising your voices, you are able to bring about positive change for so many people in our communities.
With a history that goes back to the 1960s, People First has long been a driving force in the national disability rights movement, with a start and a mission that is linked to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. By teaching members how to advocate for themselves, People First also teaches us all that there is knowledge and value and beauty in each and every person.
As you know, the City of Torrance works to provide the diverse members of our community with valuable programs and services that enrich and the quality of life for everyone. It is part of what makes this a great City.
With our newest commission, the Social Services Commission, the City has cemented its commitment to addressing the issues of that concern veterans, the homeless population, as well as children and adults with special needs.
We also are proud of our partnership with the Friends of Exceptional Athletes to fund the City’s special-needs sports programs that promote activity and camaraderie all year long. Torrance also has its own Special Olympics program that offers competitive sports and training at many City facilities.
In addition, Torrance is happy to be home to the 36-year-old PALS program – People Actively Learning and Sharing. This social club for teens and adults with intellectual disabilities is a wonderful resource in the City.
Torrance also has 275 acres of park space that is welcoming to everyone. We are constantly assessing how we can make our green space and facilities more accessible and useful to all, and this includes the recent addition of the fully accessible bocce ball courts at Columbia Park and ongoing work at other facilities to improve sidewalks and other infrastructure. A couple of the more unique spaces include the Treehouse for All at Wilson Park and the sensory-oriented Discovery Park.
Torrance Transit buses are, of course, accessible to all, providing transportation services so that people can get to jobs, community events and have access to shopping and other services. And The Torrance Community Transit Program is a resource for residents, giving those with disabilities low-cost access to transportation.
Torrance is also working all the time to bring new businesses to the City, which means new opportunities for everyone when it comes to employment.
Of course, a noticeable project that has been ongoing is the renovation of Del Amo Fashion Center, a project that continues to bring new businesses and new jobs to the City. Torrance also has realigned with the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, a group that hosts a variety of workshops locally that help with career development and training.
While attracting and retaining quality businesses is a priority for all of us on the City Council, we also want to strengthen public service, improve school safety and modernize the City’s infrastructure. These are all things that can benefit all our residents and visitors.
Stevie Wonder once said “We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”
Tonight, being here with all of you, is a testament to your ability to affect change, to make a difference and to overcome obstacles. Because the contributions that you make to our community are invaluable and appreciated.
Thank you again for having me here.