DOWNEY - After more than 30 years of lobbying the city for business friendly polices, the local, grassroots organization Citizens for Downey is disbanding due to a decline in membership and community involvement."We made an attempt to invite young people to come, but it wouldn't work," said Mike Prokop, who was president of the group for over 10 years. "We were down to about 25 members - not enough to make it viable." Formed in the late 1970s by local businessman Ed Di Loreto, owner of Yale Engineering, and several other Downey politicians and businessmen, Citizens for Downey members would regularly attend City Council meetings and urge the Council to ease city policies that restricted businesses. Prokop, who owned a business in Downey for nearly 23 years, said Citizens for Downey provided a place for business people to share issues and seek solutions. "We were available for folks - citizens and business people - to come to us with their problems," Prokop said. "There's a lot more strength in numbers than in a single voice." In a released statement, the organization shared that it was unable to replace members who had either retired, moved or passed away. Through the years, Citizens for Downey has donated money to several organizations including the Downey Rose Float Association and the Downey Chamber of Commerce. Each election year the group would conduct a candidates forum for Downey residents. Citizens for Downey left its remaining $2200 to the Rose Float Association. "We believe City Hall is now much more business friendly," said Prokop when asked about the organization's impact. "But there is always room for improvement."
********** Published: March 12, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 47