El Camino trustee aspires to make his mark as Torrance mayor candidate


Cliff Numark points with his left hand to direct the side of Torrance Beach at Miramar Park on April 14. (Sharlisa Shabazz | The Union)

Moving to Torrance in 1999, Clifford Numark fell in love with the city, but was confronted with a difficult decision when concerns about the city’s environmental stability surfaced.

Numark told The Union that he had no intention of becoming mayor, but he was “struck by the challenges of the city”.

“I think there continues to be polarization throughout our community and I think that’s something that is counterproductive for what we need to bring our community together,” Numark said.

Declaring his intention to run for mayor a year ago, Numark has been involved in all things business for the past 24 years of his life.

“I have been a part of community organizations ranging from legist to environment to economic development to business,” Numark said.

Numark is the CEO of Southern California blood bank, which became the largest red cross in the south bay.

He has served on two commissions which were nonprofit organizations endorsed by 80 leaders and a number of elected officials throughout the area.

He has launched programs for disadvantaged students such as South Bay Promise, a program that provides free tuition for students in South Bay.

The 53-year-old businessman works as the chief marketing officer at Vitalitant, a biomedical organization, and also serves as an El Camino College trustee, who are elected board members that set budgets for the school.

“As a trustee, we are actively working with the superintendent to get things back and running and helping people enroll,” Numark said.

Businesswoman Trisha Murakawa serves as an El Camino College trustee and has endorsed Numark’s campaign.

Murakawa first met Numark when he was running for Torrance City Council. She noticed he was very thoughtful and smart, which she feels is required of an elected official.

Murakawa says that running for mayor is a whole different calling than running for college trustee.

“When you run for a position like mayor you’re on that large public stage every single day. When you’re a community college trustee you’re only on the stage once a month. There’s a big difference,” Murakawa said.

Murakawa said she believes an elected official should be a person of strong character because “the number of supporters you have is the number of critics you have.”

Numark has a notable record of involvement in educational and community-beneficial projects.

He performed a reading for Seniors Don’t Be Scammed, a program designed to educate seniors about the root causes of financial abuse. Numark has also given back to the community in a variety of ways, including protecting the environment by saving money through an energy audit.

Numark has also supported the formation of new businesses through the establishment of the South Bay Entrepreneur Center and advocates for open education resources, a program that keeps El Camino students from having to pay for educational resources.

Cliff standing next to the walkway ramp that connects to the beach coming from the parking lot area at Miramar Park near Torrance beach, his favorite beach in the city on Thursday, April 14 in Torrance, Calif. (Photo Credit by Sharlisa Shabazz | The Union)
Cliff Numark stands next to the walkway ramp that connects to the beach coming from the parking lot area at Miramar Park near Torrance Beach, his favorite beach in the city on April 14. (Sharlisa Shabazz | The Union)

District 13 candidate Asam Sheikh, a 53-year-old senior financial analyst for the American Honda Finance Corporation, has been living in Torrance for 13 years and served as director of the Torrance Education Foundation.

Sheikh has worked with non-profit and profit organizations to raise money for face masks to donate to TUSD schools.

Although not in Numark’s campaign, he said his ideals still align with Numark’s as they both advocate for environmental sustainability and resolving issues with the city budget and homelessness.

“I have interviewed the homeless which has become a big issue in the city of Torrance. I have partnered with community members to provide for their shelter,” Sheikh said.

Sheikh respects Numark and said he has “Great ideas to resolve issues for Torrance.”

On the issue of the pandemic, Numark said COVID potentially has the opportunity to bring the community together, but can also tear the community apart.

“The pandemic was a gut punch. Every organization has to deal with this in some way shape or form. We found a new way of doing things that ultimately is the silver lining for what we conceived very difficult previous years,” Numark said.

As the city undergoes increasing rates of crime and homelessness, Numark believes public safety is most important.

“With respect to public safety, we need to ensure we have enough folks to keep us safe at the same time we have to ensure there is equal justice,” Numark said.

To ensure safety in the city of Torrance, Numark said he will work collaboratively to tackle the comprehensive matter such as hiring part-time social workers to lead in outreach to provide housing and having an appropriate safeguard for the neighborhood.

“There continue to be more opportunities in working and collaborating with the city government city schools and El Camino College,” Numark said.

Torrance School Board Member Anil Muhammed has known Numark ever since he was on the Torrance City Council.

Muhammed expressed similar views to Numark, saying there are many areas of cooperation between the city and the school system because they serve and share very similar constituent groups.

Their shared enthusiasm for public education has driven him to support Numark’s campaign, as he recognizes the positive developments that Numark can offer to Torrance.

“Cliff fundamentally believes in working together. When it comes to city government and running an institution that has multiple layers it’s very important to build an environment and a census that advocates for working together,” Muhammed said.

Muhammed noted that Numark engages in conversations and helps to establish good relationships with several major institutions in the city.

“Right from day one he can lead these efforts wherever it may be,” Muhammed said.

Numark has supported the dual enrollment program which enables high school students to receive El Camino College credit while they’re in high school.

Numark has a number of El Camino College students and Torrance high school students volunteering for his campaign. Among his volunteers, twin sisters Emma and Olivia Crump have been supporting his campaign since the summer of 2021.

Emma Crump is a 19-year-old communications major and her twin sister Olivia is an Anthropology major.

Emma and Olivia Crump, twin sisters volunteering for Cliff Numark’s campaign stand in front of the Schauerman library at El Camino College on Wednesday, April 6. “From day one [Numark] was very supportive of Emma and I. Even though we’re very young he never made us feel unqualified,” Olivia said. (Safia Ahmed | The Union)
“I remember the first time we met him we went to his house to package flyers into bags. From day one he was very supportive of Emma and I. Even though we’re very young he never made us feel unqualified,” Olivia said.

The sisters found that a lot of Numark’s ideals matched their own.

“He’s also really big on environmental policy more than the other candidate and that is something I look forward to in supporting a political candidate,” Emma said.

Numark said that the environment is a particular concern of his.

“I want to make sure we have a planet that’s for the future of El Camino College students,” Numark said.

Both sisters canvas, which is a process of knocking on doors and telling people in a precinct to vote for Numark. In one incident, their neighbor was on the opposite end of the political spectrum than them and so they had him speak to Numark about it which seemed to get resolved quickly.

“I think his way of dealing with conflicts is to listen first,” Emma said.

The twin sisters discuss Numark’s ideas on handling money and use the term creative to describe his suggestions.

“Torrance has a poor budget and the point of his campaign is to focus on our city’s finances,” says Emma.

Numark said the first thing he would deal with as mayor would be the financial condition of the city within the constraint of the budget.

“I want to tackle our tough problems most particularly our financial health and physical health which are the fourth-worst in the state of California,” Newmark said.

Numark wants to collaborate with the school and city governments to work on grants for student housing, which is something Murakawa had also shown interest in.

“If we could put housing across the street from El Camino to make it easy for students to have a place to live and if we could partner with a person like Cliff that would show great leadership,” Murakawa said.

In his spare time, Numark said he enjoys going to Torrance’s Miramar Park. In high school, he and his friends would go to Torrance Beach near the park and run across the water. Numark went to Narbonne High School and worked as a reporter for the school newspaper.

Cliff Numark stands next to the bike lane near the sand and the volleyball net at Torrance beach on Thursday, April 14 in Torrance, Calif. ” It looks like home” because he remembers in high school he would hang out on the beach and run in the water. “It brings back a lot of memories ." (Photo Credit by Sharlisa Shabazz | The Union)
Cliff Numark stands next to the bike lane near the sand and the volleyball net at Torrance beach on Thursday, April 14 in Torrance, Calif. “It looks like home,” he said. Numark remembers how he would hang out on the beach and run in the water during high school. “It brings back a lot of memories.” (Sharlisa Shabazz | The Union)

During his first years of city council, he was named the LA Week conservation gutters’ environmental champion for some of the work he did to promote energy and water usage.

Numark and Sheikh urge citizens of Torrance to vote for the city elections.

“Your decision will remain impactful to the city for many years to come,” Sheikh said.

Torrance City Council elections are on June 7, and ballots will be received in the mail in June.

“There are no silver bullets, no magic wand to address these issues. This is about democracy it’s obviously not a spectator sport. We only build a stronger community,” Numark said.


Editor’s Note: Rearranged photo placement and captions on May 26, 2022 at 9:17 a.m.

Editor’s Note: Corrected a name and title on May 26, 1:30 p.m.