Thoughts from the mayor

Hi Downey family and friends, I hope this finds you all well. I wanted to update you on some Downey happenings.Two weeks ago was a very exciting week in our city and October was a busy, fun and special month. Some things actually took many years to come to a reality. Not only did we open Bob's Big Boy and Columbia Memorial Space Learning Center we also held a Town hall meeting with K-ABC 7. They were able to hear what Downey is all about. Many of our service groups were in attendance and the City sponsored this event along with Downey Regional Medical Center. The executives from ABC told me that they had not seen a community like ours. It truly showed that we are a caring and well run city…I was very proud as we all should be. City Hall has been very busy lately with many good issues and activities going on. The council offices have had many sub-committee meetings just this week alone. Columbia Learning Center, Rio Hondo Event Center, City Web Site, Branding , Downtown and the Downey Theatre sub-committees, and our Green Task Force are just a few. This week alone. I will highlight some other events here by bullet point to give you a brief recap. •I held my annual Town Hall meeting with our community a few weeks ago also. It was well attended and many comments I received from residents will be taken into consideration. I was also able to update everyone on finances for our city and things to come. I will continue to have a Town Hall meeting every year as I have done since I was elected. I always welcome input and I feel strongly that the more we all know about Downey the more we can appreciate how blessed we are to live here. •Last week our council, by a 4 to 1 vote, approved a pilot program with our school district recommended by our Green Task Force. It is to educate our kids about re-usable bags and I also proclaimed December 17th as a " Day without A Bag Day." The concept is to use less plastic bags that are not re-usable. Education is vital to saving our planet. More to follow on this and other important issue being done by our Green Task Force. There are no general city funds being used for this. •We also approved a new Sister City last week by a 4 to 1 vote. The City of Fresnillo, Zacatecas is Downey's newest Sister City. Their mayor and group of legislators will be here by the time you read this. There has already been inter-exchange of ideas and collaboration between citizens of both our fine cities and our Downey Sister City Association voted to ask us to make them a sister city.. •Last week I was asked to participate in a press conference in Washington D.C. at the National Press Club regarding Character Counts and the impact it has had on our community. I was proud to represent our city and to talk about what a difference it has made and what it will do to our future generations. The Department of Education is also looking at this from their Center for Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships and they wanted to know what made Downey so special. On Tuesday morning, right after our Gangs Out of Downey meeting, our fine school district superintendent, Dr. Wendy Doty, and I were invited to a meeting with them at the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles. They wanted to know how we have accomplished our city wide based coalition. We shared our successes and how proud we are of what has been accomplished by everyone working together. It was started by Dr. Doty and our schools and our council a few years ago voted to have us become a Character Counts city. We are very proud to be a Character Counts model city and others are recognizing what I have always known. The results are very evident also. Lower suspensions in our schools, expulsions and crime is down again in our city. And our kids are growing up with the teachings of Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. We are all on board and we are excited about the future for our children…I wish all cities and our State were Character Counts. •While in Washington I was able to meet with our representatives and also the Chief of Staff of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. We did discuss Character Counts but also many important issues like Tesla and HR 1738. The Downey Regional Water Reclamation and Groundwater Augmentation Project is called House Resolution 1738…Very important for our region and our city and the opposition coming from Huntington Park and Bell is surprising since they are not really affected by this. We do not understand why they would be against this and will work with them to convince them of what a good thing this is for our region. We wish they would have let us know before about their concerns as we found out at the last minute. The cities of Cerritos, Norwalk, Pico Rivera and South Gate would benefit and are helping us. This is very important to Downey and we all feel this is a bill that needs to go forward. Stay tuned and I will give you updates as it moves along. •As you may know the council voted to change the name of Clark Avenue to Columbia Way. What an exciting thing this has been for our city. I am so happy. 62% of the property owners on Clark that were available for contact said they were in favor of it…29 out of 46 property owners were contacted or returned our calls…City-wide of those who called or sent e-mails, 88% said they were in favor of the change (45 in favor and 6 opposed). I am happy that the overwhelming majority got their wish and I am proud to have a street in Downey named for heroes and to remind others what a legacy and history happened just a few yards away. Twenty space ships were built right here in Downey, right across from where our new learning center is located. •Many of you have been asking, what about Tesla? I wish I could say everything I want to say at this time. Just know that our staff and council have been working very hard on a daily basis to have them come to Downey. We just finished a conference call with the Department of Energy a few minutes ago (Wednesday) and I promise we will make an announcement shortly. That is all I can say at this time. I am excited about them coming to Downey and we all should be…many new jobs and great for our future…Stay tuned. •Next week I will be attending the Los Angles Economic Development Corporations' dinner representing Downey as we are a finalist for "Most Business Friendly City." We are one of 6 cities nominated and the winner will be announced on November 12th. We have had a cultural change in our city and I am so proud of our staff and what we have all accomplished the past few years. As you may know, we have been very aggressive in bringing in the businesses we want and need and the results of hard work are paying off. Many cities have not had the successes we have had this past year and what is about to come. We promised this a few years ago and it is showing. Some small items and some very big. I can tell you for example that I personally write a letter to every new business that pulls a business license from our City Hall every month. I welcome them to our city and encourage them to be active and to join our Chamber of Commerce. There are over 50 new businesses on average every month in our city. I have met with many that are having problems or issues and my doors have always been open to our businesses and of course our residents. I truly believe we are doing something special when it comes to being business friendly. We still have work to do but we are on our way. I am glad we are getting recognized for our good activities and effort. This has been an amazing time for Downey and I have been so proud to represent you all as Mayor. I still have a little time left as your Mayor and will continue to work hard every day for our city. I have attended more than 150 events and meeting as Mayor for Downey and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have spoken to more than 25 groups and clubs and have also attended more than 44 neighborhood watch groups. I have enjoyed meeting so many of you and I love talking about the City of Downey. Our hometown is a special place. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. My e-mail address is mguerra@downeyca.org ….All my best.. God Bless.

********** Published: November 6, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 29