RB Candidates 2017 March election

From left to right: Mayor Steve Aspel, Councilmember Bill Brand, Eric Coleman, Michael Ian Sachs. District 1 candidates: Councilmember Martha Barbee, Nils Nehrenheim, and Rolf Strutzenberg. District 2 candidates: Todd Lowenstein and Doug Rodriguez. District 4 candidates: John Gran, Suzy Royds, and Adam Wachter. School board candidates:  Michael Christensen, Brad Serkin, Brad Waller, and Matt Kilroy.

With March's election just around the corner, we reached out to candidates running for city offices to tell us a bit about themselves and in their words, why they are running. Due to limited space, some candidates' longer answers have been shortened. 


Steve Aspel

Incumbent mayor Steve Aspel first moved to Redondo Beach in 1976 and grew up in Westchester, Calif. He worked 37 years in Farmers Insurance and retired in 2014.

Why are you running for mayor?

Our city is wonderful because of our citizens and I will continue to work closely with you. I will continue to work closely with our schools. Public safety is our #1 concern. I am proud to say that I have the endorsements of our Redondo Beach Police and Fire Department. Redondo Beach has so many more issues to deal with than simply "The Waterfront." We need to spend more time and resources on the Artesia corridor, the Galleria and more effective use of our limited fields for kid's sports. I believe that a majority of our citizens are in King Harbor overload and want to move on.

Bill Brand

Two-time councilman Bill Brand has lived in Redondo Beach for 24 years, and grew up in Palos Verdes. He works as a crew chief for American Airlines.

Why are you running for mayor?

I see the dramatic increase in traffic and congestion from over-development. Huge projects pushed by developers are spoiling our town and neighborhoods. The Waterfront mall, Galleria, Legado and AES are all massive plans that will generate enormous amounts of new traffic while depleting city services.

As the next mayor, I will fight to revitalize Redondo Beach without overdeveloping it, improve public safety, and eliminate government waste and cronyism that has been fueled by big money developers for far too long. It’s time for a mayor who will tackle the difficult tasks that require vision and community consensus building that prioritizes the people who live in Redondo Beach.

Eric Coleman

Resident Eric Coleman was born and raised in Redondo Beach, and went to RBUSD schools. He currently teaches English as a second language at Poly Languages Institute in Pasadena.

Why are you running for mayor?

I am running for office to Make Redondo Great Again! And to build a Theme Park on the Redondo Beach Pier, thus transforming the city to accommodate this abusement park ... I mean amusement park. Details of the plan at www.colemanforredondo.com.

Michael Ian Sachs

Resident Michael Ian Sachs has lived in the South Bay for 26 years, and in Redondo Beach for 15 years. He recently retired from the Chevron refinery in El Segundo.

Why are you running for mayor?

After witnessing the lack of results from our city’s leadership, I believe I can bring a spirit of cooperation between the disparate groups. I will bring a fresh voice to our city’s residents.

My campaign theme is "Time to Work Together."

Mayoral candidate Chris Mowatt did not respond to several emails regarding the survey. His phone number was not listed on paperwork provided from the City Clerk.

District 1:

Martha Barbee

Incumbent councilmember Martha Barbee moved to the South Bay in 1998 and is a Cuban immigrant, who moved to the United States at 9 years old. She worked in technology prior to becoming a stay-at- home mom. She has volunteered for the PTA, Beach Cities Health District, Redondo Sunset Baseball, and others.

Why are you running for City Council?

I am running for City Council because of the support I have received from my constituents during my service as councilwoman since last year. I have been able to affect such immediate change in the life of many. Local politics and local government has a much bigger impact in our daily lives than anything else. Whether it is repaving our street, getting an additional crossing guard where needed, working on the homelessness issue, and faithfully safeguarding the city's finances ... I now know I can make a difference. I am overwhelmed and grateful for this opportunity to serve and I will make my supporters proud.

Nils Nehrenheim

Nils Nehrenheim has been a lifelong resident of the South Bay and a resident of Redondo Beach for the past decade. Nehrenheim, a German immigrant, is a small business owner specializing in technology and has worked as a lifeguard for the county for 20 years. Nehrenheim is one of the founders of Rescue Our Waterfront, which opposes CenterCal's plans for King Harbor, and has been involved in Save the Riviera.

Why are you running for City Council?

I am running for City Council because trust in our city government has been broken by the current leadership and city staff. After seeing the boondoggle of Measure B, then working to scale back the Bristol Farms/Legado project with Save The Riviera, and fighting the massive overdevelopment plans for King Harbor, I've seen firsthand that our municipality is not working first for the residents ... We don't want to live in the concrete canyons resembling Santa Monica or the Westside. We don't want a freeway named PCH roaring through our community. Traffic is already a nightmare. We need innovative solutions to the traffic flow in Redondo, open space, parks and balanced development with the community first in mind. Maintaining a safe, beach, home-town culture is why we live here.

Rolf Strutzenberg

Rolf Struzenberg has been a Redondo Beach resident since 1996, with the exception of a couple of years in Hermosa Beach in the late 90s. He is a retired engineering manager.

Why are you running for City Council?

To foster an environment of leadership that listens, encourages and inspires, not that imposes or dictates. To collaborate with our police and emergency response organizations through increased community involvement; we are as critically important to them as they are to us. To assure that plans for our future, whatever the public chooses them to be, are clearly well executed and completely followed through. To preserve the very essence of being a family-oriented community by implementing policies and decisions that are balanced and thoughtful. To make Redondo Beach 30 years from now a place that our next generations will love and want to live in just as much, or more, than we all do now.

District 2:

Todd Lowenstein

Resident Todd Lowenstein has lived in the city for 17 years and works as the senior director of sales for an internet content protection company, and is a small business owner. Lowenstein is the president of R4—Redondo Residents for Responsible Revitalization—and served two terms on the school board from 2005 to 2013. 

Why are you running for City Council?

I am concerned that the things that I love about this community are at risk from growing overdevelopment and traffic. Particularly, the massive CenterCal harbor project, and out-of- control housing projects have the potential for filling our roadways with traffic and overcrowding of our schools, not to mention jeopardizing pedestrian and public safety.

Doug Rodriguez

Doug Rodriguez has lived in the city for more than 35 years and grew up in Redondo Beach. He works in information technology management. He has served on several commissions for the city.

Why are you running for City Council?

I am running for City Council because I care about the future of our community. As former public safety commissioner and current planning commissioner, I have earnestly served on behalf of the residents in finding balanced solutions to complex issues and have represented with a fair, open minded and knowledge-based approach. My priorities include restoring integrity, ensuring fiscal responsibility, and protecting our quality of life. As a husband, father, homeowner and third generation resident, I have a personal stake in preserving our safety, security, and prosperity for generations to come.

District 4:

Suzy Royds

Suzy Royds grew up in Redondo Beach and comes from two generations of Redondo Beach residents.

Why are you running for City Council?

We need to bring our city together, build trust between residents and our City Council and move past the gridlock that has kept our city stagnate for too long. That’s why I organized my neighbors to have their opinions heard on the South Bay Galleria development.

I’m committed to improving public safety and getting our police officers up to full force. I will focus on energizing the Artesia corridor and encouraging new businesses to make our district more attractive and prosperous. We can improve our streets and infrastructure and do a better job of reducing traffic congestion, and I will make sure we address homelessness in our community and provide better services for our senior citizens. I know we can achieve our common goals if we work together.

Adam Wachter

Adam Wachter has lived in the South Bay for six years, and in Redondo Beach for three. He works as an IT sales executive.

Why are you running for City Council?

I believe that District 4 has been neglected for too long. While other issues have consumed city staff and council, our district and its “quality of life” issues are ignored. I am running to represent the residents whose voice is not represented today.

John Gran

John Gran, the president of the North Redondo Beach Business Association, has been a Redondo Beach resident for 17 years and grew up in the South Bay. He owns two local businesses, a window cleaning service, and recently, a pet photography studio.

Why are you running for City Council?

I love Redondo Beach and it has been very good to me, my family and my businesses. As those close to me will attest, I show thanks through actions and deeds and I pay attention to facts and details. True to form, as a ‘thank you’ to my community, I’ve become increasingly more involved in public service and the business community and I’ve come to better understand how Redondo Beach works.

What is now very clear to me, and ultimately upsets me as a District 4 resident ... We Can Do Better. Much Better. Watching our current councilmember serve for 3+ years, I believe that District 4 is being under-served. Our voice on City Council has been muted and/or absent, and our residents and local businesses deserve better! There are some very serious, complex issues and decisions facing Redondo Beach, and I’m prepared to do the hard work to listen, learn and act on behalf of the District 4 residents ... I’m running to bring effective leadership to District 4 and address public safety concerns, re-vitalize the Galleria and Artesia corridor, and properly focus resources to address our district- and city-wide needs.

School board:

Brad Serkin

Current school board member Brad Serkin has lived in the city since 2000 and is a lifelong South Bay resident. He is building a new company for hockey apparel and bags.

Why are you running for school board?

A few reasons: I am a parent of two children in the district and feel it is important that parents are part of their community and get involved in their community and their children’s education and this is one small way that I can give back.

Education is one of the cornerstones of our community and our kids. I believe investing in our kids is one of the most important legacies that we can do as parents and individuals.

I believe I bring business, fiscal responsibility and real world experience. Over the past 3 ½ years, we have moved the needle on many fronts within the district. At the beginning of my term, our district had a 3.001 percent reserve. We are now exceeding a 10 percent reserve and focused on long-term strategies and planning for our community. We have implemented solar at our schools, renegotiated leases on surplus properties that the district owns. Enrollment is up and we have become a destination district. Test scores continue to increase, student engagement is up, implementation of college going readiness and many other items. We have made tremendous progress over the last 3 ½ years but have much more to do. It took almost a year to really understand the breadth and depth of all facets of being on the school board and the $70+ million budget and I look forward to utilizing this knowledge to continue making our schools and our district even greater.

Brad Waller

School board member Brad Waller is a 30-year resident of Redondo Beach, and grew up in Los Angeles. He was on the ground floor of an internet startup in 1995 which has since moved to mobile app development.

Why are you running for school board?

I am running for school board to continue the work that I started here. The first year or so on the school board is spent learning all about how education and the district work, the acronyms, and all the fine points that you cannot know unless you have been a school board member. I really did not feel at home in my position until sometime in my second year. I also have been instrumental in keeping SoCal ROC afloat, presiding over the board the last year and chairing the budget subcommittee that came up with the present funding model for the school. But that work is not done, and one more term should allow me the time to bring SoCal ROC into the future with stable funding.

Michael Christensen

School board member Michael Christensen has been in Redondo Beach for 17 years and works as a professional civil engineer for the port of Long Beach.

Why are you running for school board?

To finish what I started in my first term on the school board ... strengthen the district's finances, improve the learning environment, and enhance the safety of our students.

Matt Kilroy

Former councilman Matt Kilroy has been in Redondo Beach for 33 years. He taught at Redondo Union High School and Adams Middle School for more than 15 years and has served more than15 years on various city commissions.

Why are you running for school board?

I am running for school board because I believe I bring a unique set of skills and experiences that are not represented by the current board. As a retired teacher, I am the only candidate with experience in the classroom. As a former city councilmember, I bring with me eight years of representing the community, managing budgets, and setting priorities. As the Regional Commissioner for AYSO soccer, Region 17, Redondo Beach, I work daily with the parents and volunteers that make our community so great.

Contact Kelcie Pegher at (310) 904-6026, or you can follow her on Twitter @klcpegher.

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