DOWNEY - As the deadline to qualify as a City Council candidate in November's election draws closer, potential candidates continue to pull papers, hopeful that wary voters will name them one of the city's next Council members.Among these candidates is Alex Saab, a local attorney, who hopes to claim the Council's District 4 (northeast) seat, which will soon be vacated by Mayor Anne Bayer. In November, Saab will face off against Planning Commissioner Fernando Vasquez and community leader Lee Ann Sears. For Saab, being elected to the City Council will give him an opportunity to voice his opinions and make a difference in the community where he grew up. "I'm a product of Downey - I live here, my business is here," said Saab, who announced his candidacy in March. "I have way too much to lose and the citizens deserve better. My heart is in this and I am fully committed to serving our community." Saab believes independent voices must be elected to the City Council in order to avoid a corruption fiasco similar to the one occurring in the city of Bell today. "We don't want another Bell situation in our city," he said. "The City Council members there were in cahoots with each other…none would stand up against each other. It's an issue and potential concern in Downey - people need to be aware of any candidate hand-chosen by members of the Council." Saab said three Council members have expressed support for one of his opponents while the other has been strongly endorsed by the mayor. "It's not healthy," said Saab over the phone. "And if they win will they have the wherewithal to stand against those Council members who helped put them up there?" If elected, Saab assures residents that he will be fiscally responsible, making public safety and the city budget woes top priorities. "What distinguishes me from the other candidates is my business experience," Saab said. "I will use my experience to encourage business in Downey." Saab currently sits on the board of directors for the Downey Chamber of Commerce and is a trustee of the Southeast District Bar Association. He also serves on numerous committees of the Downey Board of Realtors. As the campaign in District 4 heats up, hints of a potential race in District 2 emerged this week as residents Ronald Kellogg and Benjamin Coute took out papers, signaling possible competition for Councilman Mario Guerra who faces reelection this November. Kellogg, a resident of Downey for nearly 25 years, would not confirm a run against Guerra, but did promise that he would be making a decision soon. Kellogg said taking out papers was just a necessary first step. Coute, a newcomer to local politics, could not be reached for comment. All candidates must submit their completed paperwork to the city clerk's office by Aug. 6.
********** Published: July 29, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 15