Five candidates vie for two vacant council seats in Lomita

If Lomita voters check out a scheduled City Council forum hosted by the League of Women Voters that’s set to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23 on YouTube, they could be forgiven for doing a double take at the five relatively unfamiliar faces on their screen.

Veteran council members Henry Sanchez and Dave Savidan opted to step down after almost a decade on the panel rather than seek new terms, guaranteeing there will be two newcomers to the five-member council.

That will pave the way for one of the biggest turnovers on the panel in recent years.

Former councilman Barry Waite, 58, a stand-up comedian and retired economic development manager who served on the panel four years before stepping down in 2009 and is now on the Planning Commission, is perhaps the most familiar face.

Also running are Lomita Parks & Recreation Commission chairperson William Uphoff, 62, a 29-year resident of the city and an operations manager at Northrop Grumman; business consultant Robert Bohi; real estate agent Brenda Stephens, 60, who has lived in the city for six decades; and speech language therapist Kevin Torrez, 30, who has also lived in the community his entire life.

“With two veteran council members retiring, the city needs someone with experience,” Waite said, adding that economic development is the key to Lomita’s future development.

“It can pay for infrastructure, public safety, and recreation programs while bringing in and expanding businesses where we can shop and dine,” he added. “We have a good start in the downtown area and need to build on that.”

Uphoff said via email that he is running “to provide a voice for change.”

“There are many issues facing the city, fiscal policy and coping with the ramifications of the pandemic (asreflected by Measure L on the ballot) is the most important, near term issue the city will need toaddress,” he said. “The city is facing some incredible challenges that come with amazing opportunities, with the right council members, we can bring real change.”

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