ELECTIONS : 2 Incumbents, 8 Challengers File Papers for Torrance Seats : Politics: Four of the newcomers planning to run for three council seats in the March 3 race criticize city's investment losses and payouts in lawsuits.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ten people, including two incumbents, have filed to run for three Torrance City Council seats in the March 3 election.

Challenging two-term incumbents Tim Mock and George Nakano will be three attorneys, an insurance broker, a teacher, a grocery checker, a city computer technician and a transportation manager.

The nine men and one woman filed candidacy papers before Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline, but additional write-in candidates have until Feb. 18 to file statements of intent.

Torrance council races in recent years have generated little competition--the 1990 election included only one challenger--because all the incumbents have run for reelection.

This time, however, 14-year Councilman Dan Walker announced early last month that he plans to seek a state Assembly seat. Each of the three available council seats carries a four-year term.

Four of this year's eight challengers wrote scathing candidacy statements criticizing the city's loss of $6.2 million in a recent investment scandal, Torrance's payment of nearly $12 million in civil lawsuit settlements since mid-1990 and the council's decision to give raises to two top officials before they retired to increase their pensions.

Mock, 37, a paralegal, said he would continue to oppose overdevelopment and promised to strengthen city services. Nakano, 56, a retired educator, pledged to maintain the city's sound fiscal policy and provide a high quality of city services.

Also on the ballot will be:

* Michael Botello, 41, a law professor at El Camino College and attorney who promised to support volunteer programs, children, senior citizens and law enforcement.

* William A. Cook, 49, a transportation manager who provided no statement with his filing papers.

* Ronald Ellis, a 43-year-old attorney who said he would focus on better monitoring of the city treasurer's office to prevent further financial losses.

* Burton Fletcher, 41, an El Camino College business professor and attorney, who said he would demand greater fiscal responsibility and efficiency from city officials.

* Mark A. Hamblett, a 35-year-old computer operations technician for the city of Torrance, who vowed to curb spending and "get the 'Showcase of the South Bay' back on track."

* Don Lee, 35, an insurance broker, who said he would fight for a two-term City Council limit and protect neighborhoods from overdevelopment and crime.

* Maureen O'Donnell, 50, a high school government teacher, promised "no more $6-million losses of taxpayers' funds."

* Don Pyles, 36, a grocery checker, who said he would not make empty promises but would "put politics back to work."

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