Torrance Divided by Sounds of “Furey”
Torrance is divided. Dozens of alarmed residents wrote the Council over the past weeks expressing concern about the Furey’s. Said one of those individuals, “I am absolutely PO’ed by the conduct of the mayor and his son. His behavior at City Council meetings in general is completely disgusting and unacceptable for Torrance.”
Furey supporters are “Fureyous” at the perceived attacks on the mayor and his family.
The Mayor made an attempt at calming the storm by “manning up” to use his words and offering an apology at the last council meeting. His comments, however, were quickly undermined by the contents of his son’s resignation letter released to the public the next day which stated in part:
These sad political attacks on the Mayor and my family are embarrassing our City. Families have always been off limits. But apparently in the new world – where Trump can call his opponent’s wife fat, or say disparaging things about women and minorities and the disabled – all bets are off. And now the most extreme elements of our city – people who literally do nothing but complain, make vicious personal attacks about people they don’t even know, and write racist and homophobic blogs – call all the shots. Now they can just move one to attacking my father and leave our family out of it.
A group of Trump supporting racist homophobes have risen up in the community with the sole purpose of destroying the reputation and good works of the Furey family. These people are vicious. They are ambassadors of negativity, represent the extreme elements of our society, and do nothing but complain. The Furey’s are the victims. They are under attack.
At least that is what the Furey’s would have you believe.
And believe it some do. Patrick Furey, Jr’s resignation letter alluded to huge numbers of letters of support written on his behalf. Those letters tallied nearly 30 and echoed many of the same themes proffered by the Furey camp.
In an e-mail with the subject line “Your Loyal Supporters” Judy Brunetti, current Co-President of the Riviera HOA, wrote that:
“I am sorry to hear what is happening to you during council meetings and in the newspaper. It sounds like a witch-hunt, for sure. I have been cautioning people not to rush to judgment and to wait until all the investigation is done and the results made public.”
What’s odd about that comment is that the investigation by the FPPC is already complete. The case is closed and the results are public. These facts were reported extensively in the Daily Breeze, but as Furey supporters have made abundantly clear the local paper is not a source that can be trusted.
Mayor Furey referred to Nick Green as a “mullet” and a “hate monger.” His supporters echoed those same sentiments. Civil Service Commissioner, Kathryn Endo Roberts, for example commented:
I have been quite dismayed with the constant negative press … and I feel sad that our residents are subjected to this almost daily barrage of negativity. I feel this constant misreporting of facts is an injustice to our Mayor and his son.
Anil Muhammed, who serves with Patrick Furey on the School Board Personnel Commission wrote:
The irregularity and unfavorable bias towards Mayor Furey and Commissioner Furey undoubtedly creates and fuels anger within the community and should be considered in your overall decision.
Traffic Commissioner Bob Habel opined:
There seems to be some major biases from our local paper and I would hope that the council would ignore what they read in this daily publication.
And Doug Hath, former President of the Torrance Police Officer’s Association (TPOA) said:
The press coverage of these events is slanted from the same direction by a reporter the TPOA has had a standard operating procedure of giving no comment to.
Perhaps the most astounding comments on the issue came from recently retired Fire Chief, William Racowschi, who penned a three page letter. In that letter he alluded to an “undercurrent” of political discontent, which he believes is being fueled by a “misinformed and misguided local media effort.”
He then presented a lengthy defense against accusations that “senior fire department staff” colluded to award the 2014 ambulance contract to McCormick. In that defense, he made some startling allegations including:
- The 2011 RFP process and award was turned into a sham by Mayor Scotto and the previous Council when the Council rejected the findings/recommendation of TFD and awarded the contract to Gerber based on loose promises to “do better” made to Mayor Scotto by Mr. Gerber himself.
- Between 2011 and 2014 dozens of documented complaints against Gerber were swept aside by the Council.
- The Daily Breeze has someone providing “just enough” information to sound plausible. The rest is filled with opinion, speculation, and innuendo.
In the letter Racowschi also inferred he had no knowledge of the Furey PAC despite its existence being a major issue in the 2014 election by stating “that there was a PAC set up to do whatever the media alleges it did was news to me and senior fire staff.” He then urged the Council to “ignore ALL the negativity and the bad press,” and to judge the Mayor and his son “on their records of service to the Torrance Community and not on what amounts to political pay back by former Councilmembers/candidates and their hacks.”
Who can we trust? Who is telling the truth?
Mayor Furey says it’s him.
In his comments, Furey said, “I would submit to everybody here that if you have been attacked with misstatements and out and out lies and hateful statements that you get angry.”
He also referred to a retraction printed by the Daily Breeze and offered that as evidence that he’s been telling the truth.
Is that evidence convincing? Should we trust him now?
He closed his comments by stating:
“I’m not liable for half of that [the fine], I’ve not paid a penny of it. They [McCormick] thought they had messed up. They hired the wrong consultant and they manned up and so I’m manning up. I’m sorry for any of the rants…”
“I really hope that we can all just get along and move the city forward. We have so many exciting things that we are doing.”
“One of my colleagues said we stopped kicking the can down the road, we’re kicking butt.”
“Let’s all have a chance to do that. Have some decorum here. Bring it back to a peaceful atmosphere. I’m certainly willing to do that.”
Furey did not pay the fine. His son still serves on the School Board Personnel Commission. He wants us to forget about this whole thing and move forward.