Residents announce candidacy for City Council

DOWNEY - Two Downey residents formally announced their candidacy for Downey City Council elections this November.Michael Murray, owner of Downey Used Cars on Lakewood Boulevard, is seeking to replace Councilman David Gafin in district 1 (south Downey). Gabriel Orozco, a former professional baseball player and current vice president of marketing for Bastards sports bar, will challenge incumbent Luis Marquez for the city-wide district 5 seat. Murray has spent his entire life in Downey, attending Maude Price Elementary, Griffiths Middle School and Warren High School. He earned an AA degree in business administration from Cerritos College. He is past president of the Downey Chamber of Commerce and past chaplain of the Downey Elks Lodge. He has also volunteered with the Downey YMCA, Little League and DJAA. He currently serves on a veterans memorial committee and belongs to the American Legion, wherein he serves on the Honor Guard. He was appointed by Gafin to the planning commission in 2004, where he approved developments such as the Tierra Luna Marketplace, Downey Gateway and other downtown developments. "The critical concern will be the effect these projects have on our residents," Murray said. "I want to make sure that these are improvements that our citizens welcome, will be a financial success and above all does not negatively impact our way of life." Murray's father started Downey Used Cars in 1955. Murray took over the business in 1986. "With my experience, I am prepared to represent you to ensure that we remain financially stable while keeping necessary services," he said. "It is my goal to keep Downey a safe place to live and a safe place to raise families. This is the Downey that I am proud of and this is the Downey that I will dedicate my service to." A member of the morning Kiwanis club, Murray also serves on the Coordinating Council, Downey Sister Cities and with the Downey Tennis Club. Orozco, a newcomer to the local political scene, is wasting no time integrating himself to the community. He recently joined Rotary Club of Downey. (Orozco lists himself online as a board member of the Downey Symphony but officials there disputed that claim.) In addition to his duties at Bastards, Orozco founded Downey Publishing Works, which he describes on Facebook as a public relations firm "geared towards the revitalization of Downey." In an interview Tuesday, Orozco said his goals are to make sports and the arts more accessible to kids. "One in three freshmen at Warren High School will not graduate. These are at-risk kids. They should get into sports and arts to motivate them," said Orozco, who graduated from Warren High in 1989. (DUSD personnel disputed the statistics.) Orozco also called for an additional sports complex and is opposed to a WalMart or any other big box store in Downey. "We have enough. We can generate revenue through the arts," he said. "But there has to be community involvement. We got away from our creativity and started paving over our grass for parking lots." Orozco, whose parents hail from Mexico, also said he wants to be "the liaison between the old white Downey and the 70 percent Latino Downey." "We need to get people to help and contribute," he said. "We need more Mexican residents to contribute to local organizations...The YMCA is falling apart and will continue to fall apart if we don't invest in it." He also said his experience in grant writing would benefit the city. Orozco said he was born in East L.A. but his family moved to Downey in 1983. He earned a bachelor's degree in Communication from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He pitched professionally for the Tigres del Mexico City baseball team in the Mexican League.

********** Published: June 14, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 09