Letter to the Editor: Christmas parade

Dear Editor:

Who is responsible for the (lack of) planning for this event on the same day as our Christmas parade?

I, as well as many others, were effectively cut off from leaving or returning to our homes. I have lived in Downey for 35+ years (within the parade zone) and every year have planned my parade day errands around this event always knowing that I could make it in and out, although with some difficulty. Not this year.

I was out and about early and was trying to return home at 10:30 a.m. when I found that I was absolutely not allowed to drive to my home. The only option was to find parking and walk. OK, so this was not the end of the world for me. But what if I had a passenger with disabilities or a carload of perishable groceries?

The impact of this additional same day event was not thought out and adequate information was not given. I could have planned my day around this had I known. Everyone in the affected areas should have been given proper individual written notice of the closures that would occur including the advisory that no access in or out would be allowed during specified hours. I encountered many angry residents on my walk home.

The City of Downey and the Downey Chamber of Commerce owe us an apology.

Cathy Harman


Dear Editor:

In the future, perhaps it would be a good idea to check with the churches near the parade route and arrange to block their access after worship services!

Anyone who needed to use Downey Avenue or Brookshire Avenue or to even cross them to get to church after 9:45 am was out of luck today. Until this year, that has never happened.

Several people were undoubtedly prohibited from exercising their religious freedom by prematurely blocking access to these churches.

Pat Ray


Dear Editor:

I am very disappointed with how the city of Downey handled the 5K and Christmas parade. The total incompetence and mismanagement of city officials to plan street closures was incredible.

Residents who live on Downey Avenue or Brookshire Avenue were not able to access their typical parking spots. My building has a gated lot for residents, and we were not even able to access said lot, and forced to park blocks away. I also noted how residents were not even able to leave the area due to the street closures and the run.

When I asked when the run was over, I was told that there is no set time, therefore the city didn't even know when residents would be able to park back in their usual spots. I could only imagine what would happen if a family emergency were to happen, or if someone tried to leave for work around the time of these closures.

I know the city is better than this. I surely hope we get some answers. 

John J.


Louise Evelyn Castillo

December 21, 1935 - November 14, 2016

A sixty year resident of Downey, Louise Evelyn Castillo at age 80 entered into eternal life on November 14, 2016. She passed peacefully in her home surrounded by her sons. Louise was born on December 21, 1935 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and shortly thereafter moved to Albuquerque where she spent her childhood until age twelve when she and her parents moved to Los Angeles, California.

In 1966, she married the love of her life, Louis Castillo, who she often referred to as “mi corazón” or my heart. This was their term of endearment for each other. She took pride in being actively involved in her children’s activities, such as PTA Treasurer and Team Mom roles. As an active member of the TOPS Club (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), she served as Treasurer for her chapter, was a volunteer for City of Hope for over thirty years and was a devoted wife, mother, homemaker and grandmother. She enjoyed cooking, baking, reading, shopping, fashion and had an avid interest in soap operas and movie stars. Louise was known for being an excellent cook and was happiest seeing her family enjoy meals together. Having an outgoing personality and a generous spirit, she always had a place in her home for family in need. She had a fond love for elephants and her vast collection was acquired during her travels and mementos given to her as gifts. Louise will be remembered for her hospitality, class, being a true friend, great sense of humor, keen admiration of the holidays and deep love for her family.
Louise is preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Elsie Chavez and beloved husband, Louis Castillo. She is survived by her children, Daniel Amado (Hillary) of Huntington Beach, Michael Castillo of Venice, Ron Castillo (Angela) of Downey; step-children, Richard Castillo (Michelle) of Montebello, Janet Castillo (Lorenzo) of Silver City, New Mexico, Tony Castillo (Carol) of Whittier, Patricia Gutierrez (Rudy) of Pico Rivera, Tom Castillo of Silver City, New Mexico; 22 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Louise’s life was celebrated at a memorial gathering and Mass on November 21st at St. Mariana de Paredes Catholic Church. On November 22nd, she was laid to rest alongside her husband at the Riverside National Cemetery.

Shared Stories: My Beloved Brother

Sadly, there are many who can relate to the story of a family member suffering from addiction.  Yolanda Reyna shares a loving tribute to her sibling Gilbert.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Yolanda Reyna

My brother Gilbert was taken away from my mother when he was a young teen.  My mother had six children from my father, three boys and three girls.

We called ourselves the Brady Bunch, after the sitcom on TV. So, I guess I was Jan Brady and my brother was Peter Brady.  We were the middle children. I felt a connection with Jan. I’m not sure if Gilbert felt a connection with Peter.   thought each one of the Brady children reminded me of my siblings.

My brother was a happy child; we were all happy children. Sure, we were disciplined, and that meant getting yelled at a lot and getting the belt to our butts.

My mother had so many children that when she called out to one of us, she’d say every name except the one she was calling.  We’d laugh as she called out the names.  We’d wonder which one she was calling. 

We knew that one of us either had to take out some trash or run to the store to get something she needed for dinner. That was a daily routine in our family.

One day my father and mother got into an argument, but that was not the first time.  They had had many arguments. I never knew what they were arguing about because they spoke to each other in Spanish. So whatever this one was about, it was big!

My father left the home and took my brother Gilbert with him. To this day, I never knew why my dad took him. I do know that he favored Gilbert. They were gone for a very long time. I remember missing my father, not that I didn’t miss my brother, but I really missed my father.
They went to live with my grandmother in Watts. My brother Louie even ran away to be with them. But my father told him to go back home. I didn’t know at the time how long they were gone but I believe it was a year. That is a very long time.

When my father finally brought Gilbert back home we noticed a change in him.  He was very rebellious, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and drinking alcohol.  Rumor had it that my father had brainwashed him. 

When Gilbert was seventeen, he wanted to join the air force. Because he was a minor, he needed the consent of our parents. I believe my parents were separated at the time, and I guess, they gave their consent, for whatever reason. Maybe they thought it would give him some structure in his life.  Somehow they weren’t having any success.

When he was given leave from the air force, Gilbert would visit our family. I remember being so proud of him, and he was proud of himself too. I thought he looked so handsome in his uniform.

Everyone made a big to-do when he visited the family. There were a lot of hugs and kisses! My mother cried a lot. She also cooked a lot of homemade meals. That’s what he looked forward to – homemade enchiladas! He was basically treated like a king!

After Gilbert served in the Air Force, he attended mechanics school. He then met a girl named Rita. She wasn’t Hispanic, she was a white girl. That’s how my father referred to her.

Rita’s culture was very different, but in other ways, she was like us. She was very outspoken and she fit in well with our family. They soon got married and had a very nice wedding. I was a bridesmaid! It was a wonderful day for both of them. They had two sons, Gilbert III and David.
My brother decided to live in Arizona, so we didn’t see him as often as we wanted to. But he did visit during the holidays.

I knew my brother drank alcohol, but I never knew it was a problem. Often times Rita would call my mother to let her know that my brother was being very abusive toward her and the boys, and that he was spending his hard-earned money on booze. He was a mechanic and earned very good money.

My mother occasionally sent Rita money to ease the burden. The years went by, and Rita continued her calls to my mother.

Finally, Rita could not put up with him anymore. She told Gilbert to leave their home. My mother sent Gilbert a plane ticket to come back to Los Angeles. Only then did we realize and see what Rita was talking about.

Gilbert lived with my mother and he stayed in the garage. I lived with my sister Ophelia at the time. Gilbert was out of control. He lost his job, was drinking every day and was mistreating my mother. He could be like a roaring lion waiting for his prey.

The only thing my mother could do for him was pray. He started to roam the streets and was often spotted panhandling.

But there were days when he was sober. When he was sober, he was caring and funny. He loved Bugs Bunny, and he’d go on and on, talking about the cartoon character. It was amazing to me what joy he found in that cartoon character.

He had a lot of favorite TV shows. The Rockford Files was one of them. He was also extremely intelligent, using words that I didn’t understand. He quoted scripture from the bible. That was impressive!

When my car needed fixing, he was always there to service it. He taught me how to change the oil. He was my mechanic back in the day. 

When I wanted to visit my mother and my father, I’d call to see if he was around and drinking. When I knew he was sober, I would sit in the garage with him. He would be so quiet and reserved. I could not comprehend the two personalities! 

He’d sit there and smoke cigarettes and watch TV. When I think about it now, it breaks my heart, but for some reason, my brother had this inner torment. He used to say, when he was drunk, “I can’t get this monkey off my back.”

One day my mother called me and asked if I could get him out of the house.  I went to pick him up.  I said to him, “Come on, Brother, let’s go for a ride!” The first thing I noticed was that he was very drunk, and his demeanor was overbearing.

There were two things my brother demanded respect for – the Los Angeles Rams and the name Reyna, which was our last name. When he was fueled with alcohol, he would remind you of those two things.

So when he said to me, “What’s your name?” I said, “Yolanda.”

“Yolanda what?” he snarled.

I said, “Yolanda Reyna.”  And with a furrowed brow and tightened lips, he’d answer, “That’s right, and don’t you forget it!”

I just could not comprehend the two personalities, and I was torn between the two of them. But that is what alcohol does to a person.

I saw him slowly deteriorate from being very handsome to looking bloated, very dark-skinned, and meaner by the day.

One day I received a phone call.  It was November of 1997, Thanksgiving weekend.  My sister Mary called me.

She said, “Yolie, are you sitting down?”

My beloved brother Gilbert, who was so proud of his military service, is buried at Riverside National Cemetery. He was forty-one years old when he passed away.

Letter to the Editor: Demands for justice

Dear Editor: 

I would like to thank Edward Valencia and Guillermo Vazquez for their eloquent and well -reasoned defense of the protests against Donald Trump, his divisive campaign, and the agenda that he has laid out by his actions and choices since he won the election. 

As Mr. Vazquez points out, students who participated in a peaceful protest learned a lot that day about civics, political science, democracy and freedom of speech. And Mr. Valencia describes the many reasons why protest against Donald Trump is appropriate. 

I’d like to add that in the schools of Southern California, the threat to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which Mr. Trump can end with the stroke of a pen, puts a significant segment of our young people at risk of having their lives torn apart. That alone is a compelling reason to for young people to make their voices heard. 

Protest has a proud history in America. Protesters demanding women's suffrage (women’s right to vote) became the first "cause" to picket outside the White House in 1917, and two years later women were granted the right to vote.

The Selma to Montgomery marches and “Bloody Sunday” in 1965 highlighted racial injustice in the South, and helped lead to the Voting Rights Act that moved the South forward in a way that would not have happened without them.

These are just two examples. The list of powerful examples of protest that changed America go on and on. And there are always many who don’t agree. Our democracy thrives on the battle of ideas, and the demands for justice have made us a better country.

Frank Kearns

Downey Library's silent auction items for December

DOWNEY -- The Friends of the Downey City Library holds monthly silent auctions to raise money for library programs. The November and December auctions are combined and include:

Van Gogh” (art historian Frank Milner introduces 60 of Van Gogh’s most characteristic works, showing clearly the gradual unfolding of his genius);

A to Z of the Ancient World” (a very concise treatment of the ancient world with text and 52 DVD’s);

A Treasury of Christmas” (a charming collection of Christmas stories, poems, and carols);

The Purpose of Christmas” (Rick Warren tells you why, regardless of your background, religion, problems, or circumstances, Christmas really is the best news you  could get);

The West-An Illustrated History” (a gripping journey through the American west that begins with the first Europeans and ends well into the 20th century);

A Charlie Brown Christmas-The Making of a Tradition” (the story of a tradition that includes insider views, scripts, music sheets and more);

Holy Bible-Old and New Testament” (a family Bible-King James version-with illustrations by Norman Rockwell);

Jimi Hendrix-A Brother’s Story” and “Hendrix-Setting the Record Straight” (two books that give a lot of insight into the life of one of the greatest guitarists ever to take the stage);

Nighttime” (a pop-up book that treats you to the sounds of the forest, the swamp and the shady woodland);

The Tale of Beedle the Bard”(an autographed collection of tales by J.K. Rowling);

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Chocolate” (everything you could ever want to know about chocolate with more than 200 step by step recipes);

Automobiles of the 50’s” and three sets of music CD’s of the 50’s and 60’s;

Books have opening bids from $6-$8 and are on display in the library lobby. Bids can be made through noon, Saturday, Dec. 17, on cards in the Friend’s Bookstore located in the young adult section of the library.

Letter to the Editor: Defending Trump

Dear Editor:

I’m sure the Downey Patriot won’t mind if this letter is long since most of the Opinion page was dedicated to trashing President-Elect Donald Trump, who has been condemned before he has done anything as President. 

Re: the op-ed “Sorry, I Can’t Give Trump a Chance” by Jill Richardson -- sorry, you don’t have a choice. Ms. Richardson authored the book, “Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken.” Could the inept administration of President Obama be the reason it’s broken? He had eight years and it is not fixed. 

Was she referring to the marriage of Bill and Hillary in the marriage section? I believe it was Anito Rivero who wrote we all should get behind Hillary and give her a chance. Now is she ready to get behind Mr. Trump and see what he will do? 

When Ms. Richardson says Trump does absolutely everything he can get away with, I see she has totally overlooked what Hillary has done. Can’t count how many emails she has allowed to be leaked to foreign governments have hacked into them, is constantly losing papers and has “shaken down” every foreign country she visited for her foundation, even to pay for Chelsea’s wedding dress out of foundation money. 

I think President Obama has already wrecked our democracy -- correction, our republic. Who is going to pay the almost $20 trillion debt? This is not counting much more in unfunded pensions. Or what about the 90 some million unemployed, the 50 million on food stamps, and now we’re responsible for thousands of refugees coming into the U.S., not properly vetted. They are on federal and state payrolls for us to support. They get everything a citizen gets. 

Also, I’m sick of people calling people homophobes who do not believe in same-sex marriage, who don’t believe in Biblical teachings and who believe in uni-sex bathrooms. Mr. Trump has addressed same sex marriage by saying “it is the law” (Supreme Court). 

Though I don’t believe in it, I’m not in the streets picketing and destroying property. I also don’t like NAFTA and by now most of the nation realizes that Obamacare premiums are out of sight and it’s a total failure. 

Now to our humble school librarian, Julia Desalernos. Since Mr. Trump was elected, she won’t salute the flag, dishonoring the brave men who have died fighting for the U.S. She will just bow her head and pray? What is her prayer? Remember the U.S. had a Democrat President for eight years. Does she pray for change? I do. 

What specifically have the people done that causes shame? Was it voting in an election? Other than that, the new administration has not yet taken office. What have they done to the children? If they’re in poverty, it would be the Obama administration that put them there. 

Your beloved President Obama has put this country in an unmanageable debt, and in danger because of his weak approach to ISIS. He hasn’t made us feel safe or supported. I’m sure many have worked hard to give all children a safe and excellent education. 

Who has taken away the voice of women? If you mean murdering babies (abortion), 60 million have already been killed. Just how many do you think is acceptable? Maybe they need to use contraceptives. 

Mr. Trump has not yet changed any health plan. If your neighbors don’t feel safe, maybe it’s because of President Obama’s sanctuary cities where crimes are committed and then protected. 

I, too, wonder what happened to this great nation in the past eight years.

Elsa Van Leuven

Letter to the Editor: Protesting Trump

Dear Editor:

Mike Sandoval of Downey writes "All the people that are demonstrating against the election are demonstrating against democracy."

Have you considered, Mr. Sandoval, that all of those people simply hold a higher standard for the office and this country than perhaps you?

Tom Fray

Dear Editor:

In response to Mike Sandoval’s letter to the editor, in which he wrote that “all the people demonstrating against the election were demonstrating against Democracy," clearly Mike does not know the definition of democracy.

Democracy is control of an organization or group by the majority of its members. Clinton received more than two million votes than president-elect Trump. Even if she had not received the majority of the votes people have the right to protest.

If you don’t agree with democracy or freedom of speech that is a constitutionally right afforded by the First Amendment, you may want to consider self-deporting to a land that is more suited to your line of thinking.

Edgar Jaime



Crime Report (and holiday safety tips), 11/28/16

Friday, November 18:

Officers were assigned to patrol the downtown area from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. During this time they issued one traffic citation, four municipal code citations and made a DUI arrest.

Saturday, November 19:

Officers were assigned to patrol the downtown area from 8 pm until 3 a.m. During this time period they issued 4 municipal code citations, 4 traffic citations, 2 parking citations, and made 1 warrant arrest. The officers also dealt with fight calls outside the DB lounge, 20/20 Sports Bar, Mambo Grill and the Hookah Lounge.

Sunday, November 20:
At 5:45 am, officers were dispatched to the area of Lakewood and Firestone regarding a possible stolen vehicle. Officers checking the area located the vehicle and stopped it on the
605 freeway. The driver was taken into custody without incident and the vehicle was recovered.

At 3:30 pm, officers were dispatched to the area of Lakewood and Imperial regarding a possible stolen vehicle. The vehicle was ultimately located and stopped in the park-n-ride parking lot. The driver was arrested without incident and the vehicle was recovered.

Holiday Safety Tips
With the Holiday Season in full swing, the Downey Police Department would like to offer a few crime prevention tips to help lessen the chances of becoming a victim during the busiest shopping season of the year. Busy stores and crowds during the holidays can invite crime. Avoid being a victim by following these simple safety tips:

- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use credit cards or checks

- Never leave valuables, including purses and wallets, unattended. Don’t let your attention be diverted while leaving these items in shopping carts or strollers

- If you leave store purchases in your vehicle, lock them in your trunk or keep them in a non-visible area. Criminals watch for shoppers who place purchases in their vehicles and leave them unattended

- Park in well-lit areas

- Remain alert in parking lots. Avoid carrying so many packages that you are unaware of your surroundings and personal safety

- Scan the area surrounding your vehicle when you park and when you return, making sure to look for suspicious persons that may be loitering in the area

- Lock your doors immediately after entering your vehicle

- Immediately report suspicious persons and activities to police or store security personnel

At this time of year many people are away from their residences during the day, shopping and running errands in preparation for their holiday celebration. To help prevent your family from becoming a victim of a theft at home, follow these safety tips:

- Packaging left at the curb of your home for trash pick-up is a clue to the criminal element of any items that may be inside your home. Break down packaging and/or wrapping and place it inside the recycle container so that it is not visible to anyone outside of your home

- Beautifully wrapped gifts under a tree which are visible from outside the home are enticing to the criminal element, so avoid leaving any such items within view of unobstructed windows of your home

- If you will be going on a holiday vacation or a trip, be sure to have your mail and/or newspaper delivery stopped. Uncollected mail or a pile of newspapers sitting at the front step are a clue that the homeowner is away.

If you do go away for the holidays, ask a neighbor to watch your house for suspicious activity or persons

- If you shop on the internet or through the mail, and have packages shipped to your home, make arrangements to have those items delivered to a neighbor or your place of employment. During the holiday season, criminals will oftentimes follow postal workers in an effort to locate and steal packages that are left on doorsteps

Most importantly, if you see suspicious activity, immediately call the Downey Police Department at (562) 861-0771.

Ed Egge

December 11, 1946 - November 13, 2016

Ed Egge passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Sunday the 13th.

The super moon was beginning to rise and the glorious sunset the night before was calling him home.

Ed was born to Edward & Gwendolyn Egge in Artesia California on Dec. 11, 1946.  He attended school in Compton and began working with his father at the family business, Egge Marine Service in 1955.  There he would spend his professional life, retiring in 2012.  Ed moved to Downey in the mid 60’s and remained in our town for the rest of his life.  He became very involved with the Downey United Methodist Church in the mid 70’s and was a faithful, dedicated member for the rest of his life.  Ed enjoyed volunteering his time at the church, if Ed called upon you for a job at the church, you could never say no and you knew you were going to get dirty, but the effort & fellowship was worth it. Ed was a member of the Downey Elks and coached many of our Downey youth in baseball.  He loved camping, fishing, hunting, golfing with his son Jason, his beloved dogs & traveling, but above all he loved his wife Nancy. He was a great neighbor, friend, husband and mentor.  He was a rock, consistent, dependable & solid.  Ed leaves behind his wife Nancy Egge, his two sons Brian & Jason and his sister Roberta Gera.