On Tuesday, June 7, the Gardena Municipal Elections will take place and we have been speaking to the various candidates over the past few weeks. Mayor Tasha Cerda is running unopposed, while three people are competing for two seats on the City Council. Two of those are incumbents: Mayor Pro Tem Rodney Tanaka, and Harout (Art) Kaskanian. They’re being challenged by Wanda Love, executive director of the Gardena Valley Chamber of Commerce. The treasurer’s seat is open and there are three candidates: Guy Mato, Kathleen Evans and Louis Enriquez. Running unopposed is City Clerk Mina Semenza, so we chatted about her time in the job so far, and what we can expect going forward. This will be Semenza’s third term in office.
How long have you lived in Gardena? What do you think makes the city special? I am a lifelong Gardena resident who is passionate about our city and deeply appreciative of our strong sense of community and wonderful diversity. In addition to the people, Gardena is made special by some of the most delicious food in the south bay – from artisanal tofu to handmade tortillas and authentic Italian cookies. Our abundance of caring neighbors and culinary delights make Gardena a beautiful (and delicious) place to call home.
How do you rate your time as City Clerk so far? I would rate my time as a 10/10. I am constantly humbled every time residents share how extremely satisfied they are with the City Clerk Office under my leadership. There is nothing more fulfilling than ensuring our community receives exceptional service. I also love getting to know Gardena residents and other leaders in our community.
Has anything surprised you about being City Clerk? It is never lost upon me how vital protecting the right to vote and promoting civic engagement is to our democracy.
Some readers might not know what the City Clerk does — can you summarize your duties?
The City Clerk’s Office is the hub of City Hall – we are the first point of contact and maintain all official records. We serve as the city’s Elections Official, Legislative Administrator, and Records Manager. One popular and convenient service we have added is a one stop Passport Service (including photos)! We also ensure all Council Meeting Agenda Packets are online before meetings and accessible to the public. In summary, we manage the process which forms the foundation of our democratic system of government.