Shannon Tsukiyama
Shannon Tsukiyama

Two business people and a Realtor are seeking to succeed Gardena City Clerk Maria Marquez-Brookes in next Tuesday's election.

Marquez-Brookes held the position from 2005 until she stepped down in March 2009. Six months later, she was appointed to the post when a vacancy occurred, but decided not to seek re-election this year.

The clerk's position is part time and comes with a $1,000 monthly salary. The city's official keeper of records, the clerk is responsible for attending bimonthly council meetings, taking roll call, producing legislative documents and overseeing elections.

Budget cuts have affected all city departments, leaving the clerk's office understaffed.

Mina Semenza
Mina Semenza

But Shannon Tsukiyama, 30, said she would find a way to make the city's website more accessible. Tsukiyama is the daughter-in-law of City Treasurer J. Ingrid Tsukiyama, who is running unopposed for the second time since securing the seat in 2005.

Shannon Tsukiyama, who runs an online business, said she decided to enter politics while helping her mother-in-law with her campaign. She said she wants to make the office more efficient.

"I'd love to be able to give back to the city I grew up in, and where all my childhood memories are," Tsukiyama said. "I'd like to have more readily available information on the website."

Mina Semenza, a 59-year-old Realtor, ran a failed bid for City Council in 2008 and now says she sees the City Clerk's Office as another way to "give back to the community."

In addition to being an active community volunteer, Semenza has served on the city's planning, human services and general plan advisory committees.

"I know a lot of people already because of the business I'm in, and the fact that I'm a community leader," Semenza said. "In the City Clerk's Office, you have to be very organized, very independent, have communication skills and attention to detail. I bring all those things to the table.

Art Kasanian
Art Kasanian
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If elected, she said she would focus on improving customer service and modernizing the archives by scanning them.

Art Kaskanian, 45, sought an appointment to the council in 2008, but is otherwise relatively new to local politics. He is co-owner of Sam's Auto Land and a member of the city Planning Commission.

He believes his 25-year business background would translate well as clerk because he is comfortable providing good customer service.

"I want to take my business experience to the city," Kaskanian said. "Right now, as far as I know about the City Clerk's Office, everything is running well and smoothly. I'd like to keep it the same until I get more involved and then I will make a decision if I want to change anything."

sandy.mazza@dailybreeze.com

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