3 candidates vie for open treasurer seat

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Louis Enriquez

June 7, the date of the statewide primary elections, is not just a big day for the state but also a big day for the city of Gardena as three candidates are vying for the position of City Treasurer: Kathleen Evans, Louis Enriquez, and Guy Mato. Incumbent Ingrid Tsuchiyama has chosen to not re-main in her job. The mission of the City Treasurer is to enhance the economic status of the city while protecting its assets and maximizing the efficiency of the management of the city’s funds through smart and informed investing. Kathleen Suzy Evans is a longtime resident of Gardena who has a background in accounting going back 25 years. She spent most of those years in management positions. Evans was director of finance for Pool and Spa Magazine, chief financial officer of Clinicas del Camino Real, finance director of Santa Monica Bay Physicians, and a controller at Light and Sound Design among others. If elected as city treasurer, Evans will make sure that both employers and city officials are held accountable so that the residents know exactly what is happening with the city’s money. “I want to be transparent,” Evans said. “I think there should be reports on a regular basis so that the people of Gardena know what’s going on financially in the city.” Although not a native of Gardena, Evans was three years old when her parents bought their house in Gardena. Growing up in the city, Evans attended 135th Street School and Henry Clay Middle School. After getting married, Evans moved with her husband to the San Fernando Valley but then returned to Gardena 11 years ago and has been here ever since. Evans said that the city’s finances are in good shape and with her help she hopes that she can keep it that way. “Years ago the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and I don’t ever want to see the city on the verge of bankruptcy again.,” she said. “No one wants to live in a bankrupt city. Now we’re doing pretty good. I know we’re getting in plenty of tax money and we’re keeping the city clean and its great and I want to keep that going.” Although Evans’ focus is on the financial aspect of the city, she said that one thing that has been bothering her about Gardena is the city’s cutting down of trees to make room for commercial developments. While Evans is no treehugger, she would like to see more of a balance by having city services plant new trees for all of the ones that they cut down. Evans admitted that while there may not be much she can do about the city’s tree situation, being elected city treasurer will at least give her a voice to express her concerns. “I’m passionate about the city,” Evans said. “I love living here and I want to keep it clean and with low crime. I think one of our biggest problems is that we’re right next to L.A. and its spilling over into here. I want to make sure that our police are funded because I really care about the city because I have a long history here.” Louis Enriquez, who has been living in Gardena since 2012, sees the opportunity to make a difference in his city using his financial skills and is up for the challenge. “The seat hasn’t been open for quite some time and I definitely feel like I can provide some transparency with where the money goes,” Enriquez said. Enriquez owns a finance company called DLBLF Financial Counseling. They primarily fix, restore, and build their personal and business practices of their clients. Enriquez has been running DLBLF for 2 years but he has been in the finance industry since 2011. Prior to owning his own finance company, Enriquez was operations manager at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority where he helped with the infrastructure of the Fast Track Program on the 110 and 10 freeways. He also helped manage a $175 million budget that they got from the government’s transportation committee. Enriquez said that if elected, he would be ready to go on day one with his plan to make sure Gardena residents see him and know who he is so that he can do the job that the treasurer is supposed to do. “More than anything I want to help the city prepare for economic impact,” he said. “The federal reserve just went up on is interest rate by five percent which is the highest increase in a couple of decades so that’s a sign that we are going to go into a recession so I just want to make sure the city is ready for that.” Enriquez said that being open and honest are what make for a good city treasurer. “The most important quality that a city treasurer should have is transparency,” he said. “The people need to know where the money is going and why it went there and how it’s being used.” Enriquez said he is ready for the election and is looking forward to using his skillset for the betterment of the city of Gardena. “I’m looking forward to serving Gardena and excited for the opportunity,” Enriquez said. “More than I know that I am the guy for the job and I also know that if and when given the opportunity, I’ll make the city proud.” Guy Mato, former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, is also on the ballot for the open city treasurer spot. In 2004, Mato challenged Yvonne Braithwaite Burke for her L.A. County Supervisor seat. He lives and works in Gardena as a real estate executive, according to sources. Mato did not respond to a GVN request for an interview. For more information on the races in Gardena or other parts of the state, visit www.sos.ca.gov.

Guy Mato
Kathleen Evans
3 candidates vie for open treasurer seat