DOWNEY - Councilman Mario Guerra, perhaps Downey's most gregarious and outspoken council member, will seek reelection for his District 2 (southwest) seat."I have been blessed to be able to serve Downey as mayor, mayor pro tem and councilman during these past three years. I have worked very hard for our city and region and I‚Äàam proud of what we accomplished together," Guerra said in a prepared statement. "I feel we have done some amazing things in our city during my first term, but I‚Äàknow we have so much more to do." Guerra used his time in office to pass an ordinance that bans sex offenders from living near designated "safe zones," including parks, school and libraries; had unpermitted news racks removed from city streets in an effort to eliminate blight; and formed the Green Task Force to help make Downey environmentally friendly. He has also shown an interest in technological advancement. Guerra pushed the city to redesign and upgrade its website, and voted in support of recording and possibly televising City Council meetings. After attending a law enforcement conference with Police Chief Rick Esteves earlier this year, the police department may use asset forfeiture funds to purchase license plate recognition software for police cruisers, Guerra said. Other accomplishments while Guerra was in office: •62 neighborhood watch groups were formed; •the farmers market opened; •new police officers were hired; •and a new proactive approach in doing business has resulted in BJ's, Fresh & Easy, Bob's Big Boy and the soon-to-be-opened Porto's Bakery. Guerra also served an instrumental role in the city's recruitment of Tesla Motors, which is in negotiations to open a production facility here. "I seek the opportunity to continue the efforts of what we have started together and I think my experience, dedication and love for our city are some of the strongest assets I bring," Guerra said. But Guerra's outspoken nature (his monthly e-mail update now has 2,000 subscribers he says) and tendency to speak ad hominem has earned him detractors. He has been labeled egotistical and self-serving, an allegation Guerra denies. "I'm a very sensitive person and those words use to bother me," Guerra said in an interview. "But I've realized there are some people you just can't please now. "It bothers me less now. I was naive when I first came on the council. I thought if I did the right thing with the right motive, nobody would have a problem with me." Guerra said his three years on the council have taught him to "be more open to look at other views" and "things are not always black and white; there are gray areas." Regarding downtown, Guerra said proposed housing at the former Verizon property, coupled with Porto's Bakery, will help revitalize the area. "Residential is not an end all to a successful downtown," he said, "but all successful downtowns have a residential component." The housing units will be "the most beautiful complexes in the city," he said, adding that he would not support Section 8 housing at the location. If elected, Guerra said he would continue to remain accessible to residents. At his urging, Guerra's cell phone number has appeared in this newspaper at least three times. "If you're going to run for public office, you need to make yourself accessible," he said. "Public information is vital." Among Guerra's confirmed list of endorsements are Sen. Alan Lowenthal, Supervisor Don Knabe, Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, council members David Gafin, Roger Brossmer and Luis Marquez, former mayors Meredith Perkins, Kirk Cartozian, Rick Trejo, Bob Winningham and Keith McCarthy; former police chiefs Roy Campos and John Finch, philanthropist Dr. Mary Stauffer, and school board members Donald LaPlante, Martha Sodetani, Willie Gutierrez, Nancy Swenson and Tod Corrin. Guerra may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (562) 706-4114.
********** Published: April 9, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 51