Downey mayor fined by FPPC

DOWNEY − The California commission responsible for regulating campaign fundraising and spending announced last Thursday it plans to fine the 2012 campaign committee of Downey Mayor Luis Marquez after it failed to pay a mandatory fee in 2013. 

According to the Fair Political Practices Commission,  the "Luis Marquez for Downey City Council 2012" committee must now pay a fine of $200 for neglecting to cover the $50 annual fee that was required in 2013 by the California secretary of state's office. 

Three years ago, Marquez, who was first elected to the Downey City Council in 2008, gave up his District 5 (city-wide) seat to run in District 1 where he narrowly won reelection.

Marquez acknowledged on Wednesday that the $50 fee was overlooked by his campaign, but maintained that no legal violation took place. 

"It was an oversight by the campaign, but we'll take care of it," Marquez said. "That committee is closing soon anyway, but we always like to be in compliance with the FPPC."

Nearly 30 other campaign committees and political action committees were also fined for missing the $50 annual fee in 2013. 


Despite heat, Edison plans power outage Saturday

DOWNEY − Due to scheduled maintenance, Southern California Edison will shut off power to Downey customers on Lakewood Boulevard just north of Imperial Highway this Saturday.

However, the planned power outage has at least one resident up in arms.

Downey resident Connie Kajitani Pulver lives in the Rancho La Paz apartments at 12450 Lakewood Blvd. In an e-mail to Mayor Luis Marquez, Pulver says SoCal Edison placed a letter on her door informing her of the maintenance outage, which is scheduled for this Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. 

"It's understandable with the Promenade being built that SCE needs to upgrade the infrastructure of the area," she said. "Although with the heat wave we are experiencing this is not the appropriate time."

A representative from SoCal Edison said on Thursday that many planned maintenance outages have been cancelled since the start of the increased temperatures barring a serious liability or safety concern.

No other details were available for how wide reaching the outage would be, but Pulver is hoping the outage can be rescheduled to a cooler weekend.

"This Saturday, the temperature will be 90 degrees with humidity at 50% outdoors," she said. "With the elderly, children and pets, this can be harmful health wise and quite unbearable for everyone."


Don Burgess explores 1950's America in new novel

DOWNEY − When Don Burgess’ adult daughter challenged him to write a 50,000-word novel in just one month, he upped the ante and wrote 124,000 words instead.

What came as a result of those 30 days of National Novel Writing Month is Burgess’ latest book, “Lincoln Street: Coming of Age in Fly-Over Country,” which follows the childhood adventures of lead character Billy Howard as he grows up in the heartland of America during the late 50s and early 60s.

“It’s a story of gratefulness that marks the changes that have taken place,” said Burgess, former pastor of the First Baptist Church of Downey. “I attempted to capture the change through a group of friends and a small town.”

Lincoln Street pulls on Burgess’ experience growing up in Kansas when children were “provincial, naïve, ignorant, clueless, and grossly unaware of the ways of the world.”

Through the stories of several fictional characters, Burgess, 69, touches on adolescence, young love, marital reality, racial tension, the space race, and the Cold War.

“It’s about a time when kids truly spent more time outside,” said Burgess. “Nothing in the book really happened, but it’s all true. I wrote it so everyone could experience that time.”

The novel begins with protagonist Billy Howard reflecting on how American culture evolved from the late 50s to the early 80s. Burgess believes technology is the most cataclysmic change of all.

“Its impact on teenagers marks a contrast…There was a lot more engagement [during the 50s] and it was on the surface, a more innocent time. Lucy and Ricky [Ricardo] slept in separate beds on I Love Lucy,” he said. 

“A lot of people in Downey had a common [coming-of-age] experience.”

Burgess, who began his career in broadcast journalism and military service, relocated to Downey from Corona in 1995 after he was selected to pastor the First Baptist Church of Downey. He retired in 2005 and moved to Fort Worth with his wife Lyn three years later.
“I was happy to be there [in Downey] for 10 years,” he said. “Now I’m involved in ministry as a layman and I enjoy that very much.”

Released in February, Lincoln Street has sold several hundred copies thus far, an encouraging sign for Burgess, who believes people need an honest reminder of the virtues of gratitude. 
“The book is ultimately about gratefulness to others and God, and a marker of how things change,” he said. “People who’ve read the book have told me, ‘hey, I knew those people and I lived that.’ I think it’s good that people are reminded of that time.”

“Lincoln Street: Coming of Age in Fly-Over Country” is available now on

Downey High celebrates its college-bound athletes

DOWNEY − Downey High School’s top eight athletes announced their post-graduation plans during a scholarship signing day ceremony last Thursday.  

Brittney Martinez, left, and Idalis Gonzalez celebrate after the signing day ceremony.

Brittney Martinez, left, and Idalis Gonzalez celebrate after the signing day ceremony.

With much fanfare, coaches and classmates alike gathered in the school’s gymnasium to celebrate the achievements of the senior athletes who set records in their five respective sports.

Downey High’s committed athletes include: Giovanni De Loera (Robert Morris University), Eddie Preciado (Capital University), Kimberly Schnars (Hope International), Randy Labaut (Arizona University), Luis Munoz (Cal State Northridge), Brittany Martinez (UC Irvine ), Idalis Gonzalez (University of Louisiana at Monroe) and Charlotte Chavarria (Cal State Bernardino).

Offensive tackle De Loera and Preciado, a jack of all trades, were members of Downey’s San Gabriel Valley League championship football team, helping lead the Vikings to the CIF-SS Southeast Division championship game last season.

Hitting .330 during his baseball career, Labaut, who emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, was a standout for Downey’s baseball team and is getting considered by professional teams.

Schnars, an outside hitter in volleyball, was selected for the Press-Telegram first-team Dream Team last winter. She led the girls’ volleyball team to another league championship this season. 
Martinez and Munoz both finished their track and field/cross country careers as two of the best distance runners in Downey High’s history. Gonzalez and Chavarria were instrumental in pushing the Vikings girls’ soccer team to a share of the league crown with rival Warren.

Giant RV, BevMo may be opening stores in Downey

DOWNEY − Two major business chains are highly considering opening locations in Downey, city officials announced this week. Motorhome dealer Giant RV and alcoholic beverages vendor BevMo both submitted applications to bring stores to existing vacant properties.

Giant RV plans to open a showroom, office, and service facility at the former Sam’s Club/World of Décor at the intersection of Florence Avenue and Studebaker Road.

“The City has been working hard with the owners [of that property] for some time to bring a quality business to that important location,” said Mayor Pro Tem Alex Saab in a Facebook post. “Giant RV will be making a substantial investment and we look forward to welcoming them in our community.”

The company currently runs four locations in Montclair, Indio, Murrieta, and Colton.

Concord, Calif.-based BevMo is requesting to open a store at the former Wells Fargo mortgage center, located at 8530 Firestone Blvd. The building sits on the same property as the Panda Express/Chipotle restaurants.

BevMo owns 155 neighborhood stores in California, Arizona, and Washington.

“These continue to be exciting times in Downey,” said Saab. “There are many more businesses coming to Downey.”



Published: May 21, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 06