Hi Downey family and friends, I hope this finds you well as always.This Tuesday night, Dec. 8, will be my last as the 43rd mayor of this wonderful city. I will be resigning as mayor to uphold our city charter so a vacancy can occur and our city council can vote in a new mayor. It has been an honor and privilege serving this great city. I have served with pride. It has been a fantastic year for our community even through tough times for so many. I wanted to share with you some of the things we have achieved together and some of the economic development items we have accomplished. I am so proud that we have created more than 4,500 new jobs in Downey this year, not counting the future potential with Tesla Motors. It has been an unprecedented year and we have a great momentum and need to keep it going. Coming into this year I had set some priorities and goals for our city. Some of my goals as mayor included: Green Task Force - We are on our way with an active, dedicated and responsible group of appointed citizens and experts serving for the long term benefit of our city. Final recommendations will be coming shortly. It has already proposed and the council has accepted several of their proposals. Many of the items planned will be have positive implications for many years, from education to sustainability. Fiscal Responsibility - We passed a conservative budget that did not cut any services to our citizens. It actually increased the amount of spending for public safety such as Police and Fire and, with our crime numbers continuing to go down, it shows we put our money in the right places. Crime overall is down again this year (last year it was down 12% from prior year) by more than 10% and burglaries specifically are down 24%. Motor vehicles thefts were down 25% through the end of October. Thanks to our fine Police Department and our Fire Department for protecting us and keeping us safe. Council Priority and Planning Sessions - I called for the creation of a goal-setting process for our council to get together openly and discuss our future and what direction we wanted to give our staff. It was very important to make sure that our staff knew what our priorities were. We held several open public meetings and were able to accomplish this. Very successful and assuring for everyone, including our residents of course, to know our direction and priorities. Public Information / Emergency Preparedness - We are on our way with the creation of a web site subcommittee to redesign, provide ease of utilization and enhance our web site. It should be launched shortly with many tools to help our citizens reach and access information and us. We also purchased a new reverse 911 system to be able to notify as many as possible in our city in case of an emergency. We have come a long ways in this area. I also wanted to be able to communicate directly to our citizens and I personally wrote several mayoral messages that our Downey Patriot printed unedited to let you know of some of the current issues and my thought process on our direction. I will continue to do update emails next year as your council member. If you would like to get them send me an e-mail to my city hall address and I will include you in any future updates. I firmly believe that the more you know about our city the better we feel about our direction and progress. Economic Development / Downtown Redevelopment - Not only were we a finalist for "Most Business Friendly City" but we started the process for a new development plan for our downtown and other areas in our city. Unbelievable the things that were achieved by great leadership on our staff and direction from our council. We cannot lose this momentum as our future really does depend on it in many ways and there are many great things coming. Forward thinking and planning has paid dividends and will continue to. Mayors Diakonia Award (Servant) - I was honored to be able to recognize 10 outstanding individuals who have given so much of themselves for our community. Doing small things with great love turns into big things with a big heart. We are a community that gives and these were people that deserved to be recognized. I can smile knowing there are so many more special people in our city that also deserve this honor. We also passed some new ordinances and did some small but important things to enhance our quality of life. And of course some pretty important things. These are just a few of them. In no particular order: •New Tough Sexual Offender Law •Dine in Downey •Redevelopment money to hire local business for Downey projects •Branding Subcommittee established •Homeless Program plan for $596,539 •Fireworks Show for July 4th •New Sister City - Fresnillo, Zacatecas •Columbia Way renaming •News rack cleanup ordinance •Pilot Program with Schools to use environmentally safe reusable bags •Veterans Banner program •Revised City Building Codes •52 new Neighborhood Watch groups •Mayor's 3rd Annual Townhall meeting •KABC-7 Townhall Meeting •Web site subcommittee established •Several large public works projects started and finished •Downtown Downey Redevelopment Plan started •Opening of Discovery Sports Complex •Opening of Columbia Memorial Space Learning Center •Opening of Bob's Big Boy •Opening of BJ's •Opening of new Kaiser Hospital •Opening of Kohl's •Opening of Walgreens •Opening of Citibank •Opening of Physicians' Surgical Center •Groundbreaking of Porto's Bakery •Groundbreaking of Fresh and Easy •Firestone Boulevard developments Amazing things have been done…Awesome for our city. I also visited Washington D.C. twice this year on behalf of our city. The results and benefits for Downey are many. I can also say that working with our representatives and relationships built by some of my colleagues and I, along with our staff, we were successful in bringing home to Downey more than $16 million for our city for many different projects. More to follow. And of course Tesla…A lot of hard work by so many to make this happen. We have been working hard on this for many, many months. Our city is so blessed to have smart and talented people in leadership positions and we are reaping the benefits of this. This was and is a very complicated deal and while we still have much work to do, it has been a labor that will produce benefits for us for many generations. Formal announcement will be upcoming shortly. It is the right deal at the right place, at the right location and continues our legacy of being a city that has changed the course of American history in so many ways. From Apollo to Tesla, the legacy does continue… This all happened because we really do have a great community and staff that works closely together and we are here to serve. And we did this being a Character Counts city. From our great school district to our parks and youth leagues, we are living it every day and it shows. We are living proof that great things can be achieved with ethics and character as a guiding light. We have 92 churches in our city and 15 service organizations that say it loud and clear, we are a special place and by giving we receive so much more in return. I was quoted the other day when I said that I was physically tired, emotionally drained and I couldn't feel better or be happier. Very true. It really has been a fantastic year and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. A friend recently reminded me of a verse in Proverbs, "Without vision the people perish." I am proud to say that Downey knows that vision is not what is but what can be. Thank you for allowing me to represent and serve this great city as your mayor. Our future together really is unlimited. I also want you to know that I am still your council member and welcome your thoughts, suggestions and comments as always. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my personal cell number is still (562) 706-4114. All my best…God Bless.
********** Published: December 4, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 32