Consultant choice

Dear Editor:I felt compelled to write to clarify an article written by your reporter Christian Brown a few weeks ago. Mr. Brown stated that a contract given to Tierra West Advisors or the Tierra Luna project was given to Mr. John Yonai, a campaign contributor to my re-election campaign. ("Consultant Hired for Tierra Luna Project," 3/24/11) A resident last week wrote a letter published by your paper questioning the ethics and basis for which our city awards contracts because of the leading nature of the article. (Letter to the Editor, 3/31/11) I think it was a fair question to be asked based on the way the article was written. The implication leads one to believe that maybe Tierra West was given preferential treatment because they donated to my re-election campaign. This insinuation is wrong and I felt it was very important to respond. It was unfair to our staff and to our City Council. What Mr. Brown failed to mention in his article is the fact that Mr. Yonai donated a total of $99 ( yes, ninety-nine dollars ) to my re-election campaign. Again, a total of $99. The law requires candidates to report contributions of $100 and above. But I have always felt strongly about complete transparency and I report every single contribution I received, regardless of the amount or requirement limit. Our residents have a right to know who contributed to me, how much and when. I believe Mr. Brown knew this fact. If I had not had this self imposed rule this would not have been a line in this article. This innuendo taints us all. The process of awarding contracts are very transparent in Downey as they should be, and open to everyone for examination and review. After research and consultation our staff decides who best serves our citizens. The City Council is notified at the same time as the public is when the council agenda notices are posted. Our staff made a strong recommendation to award this contract to Tierra West to represent and consult for the city in this important $350 million-plus development. Tierra West has done work for the city in the past and our staff feels they are the best suited for this project. They have a unique skill set that makes them very valuable for this complex project. Probably one of the most complicated and important projects in our city's recent history. That is why they were selected. Our City Council voted 5 to 0 to approve our staffs' recommendation based on the facts and best interest of our community. If you have any further questions about our contract process for this or any other development feel free to contact our Director of Economic Development, Mr. Brian Saeki, at 562-904-7168. I feel it is important for our citizens to know that our City Council does not interfere in the awarding of contracts. We have no other financial interest in why contracts are awarded except what is in the best interest of our fine city. Any other insinuations are unfair to our great staff and our council. We are a very ethical City and we pride ourselves on complete transparency and doing things right. Our citizens deserve to know the truth and deserve the best at all times. I am asking in the interest of fair and complete reporting, in future articles, maybe an extra sentence to state the entire picture and facts would be warranted. All I want is for our citizens to have a true and complete picture of all the facts, and they can then make any determination or ask any questions they feel are warranted. Thank you.. You may reach me at any time on my personal cell number at 562-706-4114 or email me at if you have any questions. All my best, God Bless. -- Mario A. Guerra Downey City Council

********** Published: April 7, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 51