Letter to the Editor: Mario Guerra op-ed

Dear Editor:

In your Nov. 1, 2018 edition, you published a letter from our former mayor, Mario A. Guerra, in which he gave a recap of how he was voting in our recent election.

My first thoughts were; ‘Oh, just what we need.... another politician telling us how to vote.’ However, I was pleasantly surprised.

While I voted differently than he on several of his positions, his comments were very helpful in forming my voting decisions on the ballot Propositions. And, he answered the question why there was no Proposition 9 on the ballot.

I hope Mario continues to give us his thoughts on future elections. He does a better job than the State writers.

Gary Castagnola

Letter to the Editor: Coyote threats

Dear Editor:

Like your Crime Report, you should have news about the coyote threat to pets and small children both day and night.

North Downey has a long standing problem with these predators, and it is spreading south. An adult coyote was recently seen near Paramount and Imperial Highway. Its den is possibly in the Rancho Los Amigos facility.

Ignorance of the threat can be tragic for families unaware of coyotes, or thinking they are safe in their fenced yards.

Gordon Lundene

Letter to the Editor: Veterans Day ceremony

Dear Editor:

I want to thank the City of Downey for participating in 2018 Veterans Day. The American Legion Post #270 takes great pleasure in honoring our veterans with the city.

I remind everyone that we should celebrate our veterans every day. Our veterans are suffering today with homelessness and suicides. This cannot continue.

We cannot put these veterans issues on the shelf and talk about it next Veterans Day. We have to act now.

Ray Gard
American Legion Post #270

Letter to the Editor: When our leaders spoke with eloquence

Dear Editor:

A quote from President George Washington from his Thanksgiving proclamation, Oct. 3, 1789:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal flavors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

If only our leaders of today spoke with such eloquence, patriotism, love of God, love of country, and love of people instead of spewing hate and discord, what a much better America we would have.

Martha Morrissy

Letter to the Editor: Jim Acosta

Dear Editor:

Without getting into the politics of this issue, the unfortunate and unkind behavior from Mr. Acosta was shameful and unsettling to watch, considering his demeanor and body language.

If you watch closely, the White House intern reaches twice with her right hand for the mic, to no avail. Then she reaches with her left hand and grabs the mic, when Mr. Acosta hits her with his left hand on her inner left elbow, pushing her away.

If I would have been the White House intern, I would have held on and pulled the mic away from Mr. Acosta and risked losing my job by saying to him, “What the [expletive] are you doing? Don’t you have any integrity or self respect? Don’t you realize that you are standing before the President of the United States of America?”

For how long are we going to allow Mr. Acosta’s behavior to continue and escalate? All of us, including myself, have to make a concerted effort to be more cordial and respectful no matter who it is that we are addressing.

Angel Cortes

Letter to the Editor: Downey Library

Dear Editor:

How exactly will the Downey City Library interior spaces be reconfigured? The Oct. 25, 2018, Mayor's Corner article did not specify.

Is it true that the Adult and Children's Sections will be switched? Mayor Sean Ashton, please clarify by printing a schematic, a drawing to show how our Downey Library's public utilization will change with the planned interior reconfiguration.

Knowing how much space and how that space is to be used is critical information that Downey citizens should know now.

Zaida Ramos

California propositions: How I'm voting

This November, Californians will have the opportunity to vote for 11 propositions that include rescinding a gas tax, funding for housing projects, reconsidering daylight savings and adding new standards for farm animals.

I am giving a short recap of each and how I’m voting.

Of course, we all share different opinions and views. But the greatness of our country is that we can and should have discussions about things that can influence our lives with proper dialog.

There’s a lot to consider as you prepare to cast your vote by mail or at the poll booth. Here’s a breakdown of all 11. (Note: The propositions are numbered 1-12 but proposition 9 was pulled in July by order of the California Supreme Court.)

Proposition 1: $4 billion in bonds to fund existing affordable housing projects for low-income families and veterans. Adds about $170 million annually to California’s costs over a 35-year period. The total cost of the bond will cost the taxpayers $5.9 billion. There are a lot of pet projects written into this proposition and both sides agree that it will not fix the housing shortage. I’m voting NO for several reasons.

Proposition 2: An act to amend a current law to utilize $140 million per year to fund the No Place Like Home program, which provides housing to the mentally ill who are homeless. The funds would be used to pay back bond debt of $2 billion that funds the program. In 2004, Californians enacted a millionaires tax to be used for mental health. This proposition expands the ways it can be used towards the mentally ill to include housing. I’m voting YES.

Proposition 3: A bond proposal to fund clean sustainable water supplies and storage. The ask is for $8.877 billion with a repayment schedule of $430 million per year for 40-years. Didn’t we pass water bonds just two years ago to do exactly the same thing? And didn’t we just pass a $ 4.1 billion water infrastructure improvement bond on June 5? I won’t be voting on this one.

Proposition 4: Asks for $1.5 billion in funds to help pay for construction, expansion, renovation and equipment for children’s hospitals throughout the state. Costs the state $80 million annually over 35-years to repay. While the cause is noble in name, it just adds to our overall debt that locks us in when the next recession happens. The League of Women Voters is even against it opposing public funds for private non-profit ventures.

Proposition 5: Allows the transfer of property taxes to a replacement home for individuals over 55, the disabled, loss of primary home due to contamination or natural destruction. Will impact schools and local government due to potential loss of tax revenues. The real estate industry is for it as it will allow seniors to move and not be landlocked due to higher potential property taxes, even if they downgrade to smaller homes. I will be voting YES on this. (Full disclosure, I am now over 55 and this could be self-serving).

Proposition 6: Would repeal the 2017 increased gasoline taxes and fees (gas tax) established for public roads. This is the controversial roads additional tax passed by Sacramento last year. We have been basically paying this for the past 20 years but now all the money that was directed towards this were not fulfilled for the intended use. Using road money on a train that is billions over what we voted for does not make sense to me. Of course our roads need to be fix but we are currently paying for this and have been doing so for a long time. The mismanagement of our roads money needs to stop before we give more to our legislature. I was in Florida last week and saw gas prices at the $2.62 level per gallon. This morning the average cost per gallon in the Los Angeles area per Gasbuddy was $3.84 per gallon. That will cost the average family over $800 annually including car fees. It disproportionately impacts those who least can afford it. I will be voting yes on this proposition.

Proposition 7: Would align California with federal law related to daylight savings with no fiscal impact to the state. This doesn’t really matter since it would take an act of congress to change it. I’m neutral on this and resent that we are wasting taxpayer dollars on this ballot measure to take a public opinion poll. The California legislature should not waste their time with things that cannot happen.

Proposition 8: Establishes limits on charge amounts dialysis clinics have for treatment. This is a controversial proposition as opponents including the state’s nurses association and medical association charge the proposition will actually increase the risk to patients by not providing full treatments. Like everything else it takes reading the fine print to get the real reasons we are having this discussion. Since this is such a vital medical service I hesitate to vote for changes without having vetted the potential alternatives. I am voting NO on this one.

Proposition 10: Rent control enactment would repeal current restrictions faced by cities and other local jurisdictions. I really do believe this will make the housing problem a lot worse and will impact the potential building of new housing. I also believe that each local municipality should always have control on such decision in their own cities. I will be voting NO on this because I believe it will hinder those who need the help the most.

Proposition 11: This would require private-sector ambulance operators to have their hourly paid employees on-call during standard break-time. It seems to be a labor dispute and I’m surprised we are voting on such an issue. It will slightly lower EMT contract cost and save local government some undetermined dollars. I will be voting YES.

Proposition 12: This would set a standard for caging and/or confinement of specific farm animals with a prohibition on sales of animals confined outside of the new standards. This adds new regulations to Prop 2 voted in by the voters in 2008. I will be voting NO on this not because I don’t care but because Prop 2 did a lot to protect our egg laying hens.

I know it’s a lot to digest. But very important that we look at both sides and who put the initiatives on the ballot. The TV commercials all seem to make sense (on both sides) but we need to look deeper and not be influenced by who has the most money. We have voted in things we have regretted in the past and our cost continue to escalate on many of them.

This is the time for us to do our research. Be informed and research your candidates, your local ballot initiatives and the big propositions that affect all of us.

And please, go out and vote. In our unique and great country we are privileged to have this amazing right!

Mario A. Guerra is the former mayor of Downey and current treasurer of the California Republican Party. He can be reached at Mario@guerrains.com

Letter to the Editor: Support for Garcia

Dear Editor:

As a retired member of the California Federation of Teachers, I can’t help but shake my head at the vicious attacks against Cristina Garcia, our 58th District Assemblywoman. The past letter from the Hubert H. Humphrey Democratic Club was spot-on for voicing opposition to the relentless propaganda against her.

When voters are well-informed, we see through the litany of personal attacks, and, instead, focus on merit. I believe many citizens care about clean air, a healthy environment, social justice and equality for women, children and families, government transparency, jobs, and frankly a leader, who will get things done. She hasn’t backed down from political corruption and from tackling pressing issues. She will persist, even in the face of adversity.

This past Sunday on the eve of yet another deadly attack against our Jewish brethren and numerous bomb threats against political leaders and activists, a pastor’s message strongly resonated with me. In part, his message conveyed, “As a community, we may express our opinions; however, the tone should never be in harsh judgement and condemnation of others. Instead, we should uplift people, be of service to others and conduct ourselves in the spirit of love and unity.”

His message reminded me of the context of our despicable political climate. I couldn’t agree more with my pastor’s message. Moreover, I applaud the Hubert H. Humphrey Democratic Club and others for supporting Ms. Garcia’s re-election. For uplifting her. For valuing her service to the 58th Assembly District she courageously represents. Please join informed voters on November 6th and vote. Strong representation matters; and more kindness and unity is what we desperately need from our current leaders.

Linda Johnson

Letter to the Editor: Fed up

Dear Editor:

This next week will determine the moral heart of our beaut country. The election on Tuesday will be a referendum or a clear denunciation of the moral leadership of this President and Congress.

I am a registered Republican that has always voted for who I believe is best to lead our country regardless of party affiliation. I have been frankly shocked and disturbed by the actions of the President and his supporters in Congress.

I believe in less regulation but not at the expense of our planet and children’s future. I believe in fiscal conservatism but we are now reaching a trillion dollar deficit. Tax cuts should have been for the middle class first. Corporations did not need a 21% rate. They would have been fine with a 25% rate. Then we could have kept our State and local tax deductions along with our Employee Business Expense deductions. We are in for a rude awakening when we file our taxes next year.

Mitch McConnell announced last week that cuts must be made to entitlements to make up for the lost hundreds of billions of corporate tax revenues. That means Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other safety nets will be cut.

This is a morally bankrupt President that has filled his administration with indicted and convicted individuals, pays off mistresses, turns a blind eye to the murdering of a journalist for greed (you can tell the Saudi’s to remove the prince), complains about how a MAGA bomber affects his campaign, supports white nationalists and declared himself a Nationalist (wink-wink) and is in a constant state of acting like a spoiled 10- year-old boy that has no sense of empathy.

This man needs to have cold water thrown in his face to wake home up to the reality that the majority of Americans are exhausted with his personal attacks and praising of despots and our enemies. The time has come to make a moral choice. We can force a correction upon him and hope that he will try to listen to all sides and find reasonable compromise. We have the power.

I plead with you all to take a step back and look at our current state of our Union and search for your better angels. God bless America!

John Alexander

Letter to the Editor: Traffic light

Dear Editor:

We need a traffic light and Florence and Orizaba.

We have had too many accidents occur here. We also have too many cars exiting here since Century 21 A Better Service opened up. Our streets are filled with overflow from their parking lot.

We can never park our cars in front of our home. The chiropractor at the other corner does not have enough parking either. We can not exit due to heavy traffic on Florence. Even the keep clear signs are ignored and accidents occur almost every other week.

I have lived here since 1976 and the area has changed drastically.

Gina Avalos

Letter to the Editor: Veterans' housing development

Dear Editor:

While I respect and enjoy reading the Patriot, the article on plans for American Legion property on Garfield Avenue was misleading.

For one, we don't call this facility a shelter and I wish Downey City Council Council would stop leaping on this because of one sign out of hundreds. I am sure you must play nice with your own council, including Mayor Pro Tem Rick Rodriguez, but it would have been reassuring to see the other side of the equation where folks from South Gate and Downey could have been heard also.

The facts are that nothing is written yet on what will be placed at the Legion property. Now Downey and LA County have evicted our American Legion (as of Nov. 17, 2018), a staple of our neighborhood for 70 years and whom LA County and Downey have never bothered to help with the taxes, fix their roof or help with any horticulture on the land.

Now we come to the proverbial "it is for veterans” — come-on. Not true. This is where all these non-profits (taxpayer money) come out of the walls calling everything "for vets". In 2016, a popular homeless housing non-profit came to South Gate saying they were building permanent homeless housing for veterans. After many meetings the answers to our questions were, “we are hoping for 38 veterans and the rest will be homeless and chronic homeless,” and because these units are permanent homeless housing, the resident can do anything in it that we can do in our homes.

One question was can they do drinking and drugs and the answer was yes, this is their home. Another question was must the residents attend the self help programs and the answer was a resounding no. "We cannot force people to attend career or other counseling."

When questioned if dishonorably discharged vets were allowed, it was said at one meeting that yes, since a lot of them had PTSD. Does that mean if they were in for a month and decided they didn't like it they had PTSD? Will there be a curfew?

This property in the city of Downey is right next to thousands of South Gate families and two schools but almost a 1/2 mile away from Downey council members’ constituents. Will Rick Rodriguez, co-founder of the non profit Living Tree Foundation and on the Board of Courage Forward, have a piece of this pie? Fame? Fortune? Both?

We don't want homeless facilities every two blocks and I don't think the voters of Measure H and other voter-approved funds knew how badly our tax dollars were going to be mismanaged.

Virginia Johnson
South Gate

Letter to the Editor: A vote for Garcia

Dear Editor:

Again today they appear in my mailbox: fear mongering political fliers in dark red and black, with words like #hypocrite and #sinverguenza in thick bold type and “Fired” stamped across a woman’s face.

This is what passes for political discourse these days, mailed by some shadowy group “not authorized by a candidate” but definitely opposing Cristina Garcia.

Who is sending these dark scary ads? The return address is from San Rafael, a long way from our 58th Assembly District that Garcia represents. The group paying for these ads is a shadowy group called “Working Californians Against Corruption,” based in San Francisco. This group believes that slinging mud and promoting fear, rather than discussing positions and accomplishments, is the way to our vote.

Garcia already gracefully endured one politically motivated hit-job by her opponents this year. She has a long list of accomplishments in public service, including important legislation to clean up the lead contamination from the nearby Exide battery plant, efforts to combat cyber-bullying, and support for gender equality in school services.

Her campaign ads reflect her dedication to service. They are respectful, up-beat, intelligent and informative. Sadly, little has been heard this year directly from the opposing candidate.

Because of Garcia’s hard work for the people of her district and all of California, and because she has refused to engage in another dive into the mud that characterizes so much of our politics today, she will have my vote this Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Frank Kearns

Letter to the Editor: Assembly race

Dear Editor:

I am a moderate voter that has voted for both Democrats and Republicans in the past.

The state assembly seat for District 58 is up for election. Republican Mike Simpfenderfer is challenging incumbent Democrat Cristina Garcia for the seat.

I have been very disheartened by the accusations of terrible behavior and improper conduct against Garcia, and was definitely looking to vote for an alternative to her. Before I could cast a vote for him, I wanted some straight talk from Simpfenderfer. He frequently says that we deserve better than Garcia (I agree) and he goes on to speak of the need for a respectful and proper work environment that has been apparently lacking on the part of Garcia.

So, I asked him via his Facebook page why is it okay to verbally support Donald Trump and the absolutely appalling, uncivilized and disrespectful way he conducts himself, but Cristina Garcia has to go for her poor behavior. He read my question, but never gave me answer.

Well, I agree with him that we deserve better, but the fact is we deserve better than Garcia and Simpfenderfer, This man professes to be a change, yet refuses to even answer a simple question from a constituent he claims to wish to represent. He is just another partisan hypocrite.

As a voter with a conscience, I can not vote for either of these candidates. I hope the next time this seat is up for a vote, we have a decent candidate..or heaven forbid, two decent candidates that have a moral compass and are willing to engage and address concerns by voters.

Matt Millard

Lingering woes persist for Californians long after drought ended

By Andrew Lara

Many Californians became uneasy in 2016 after Governor Jerry Brown imposed a 25 percent water conservation mandate on every household in the Golden State because it was quickly followed by unwelcome water and sewer rate increases.

We were told that, even though we were using a quarter less water in our homes, water suppliers and sewage providers would face insolvency if they couldn’t charge us more for less water because their cost structures were already locked in and couldn’t be cut.

Soon, rates shot up around California by double digits. In some areas, they jumped 30 percent or more than prior to the water conservation mandate. Howls of pain were felt in communities with many renters, those populated with the working poor, and those with high numbers of retirees, fixed-income, disadvantaged and minority residents.

In these communities, the loss of a few tens and twenties every month to pay water and sewer bills meant making some hard choices about where to cut back expenses elsewhere, for shelter, food, medicines and their other necessities.

Then, the drought ended as suddenly as it had begun. Conservation mandates were eventually lifted, but — surprise — our utility bills stayed high. Even though the utilities were again handling more water, they didn’t cut charges back to where they had been before the rate hikes.

In fact, some Californians face even more rate hikes because the water and sewer agencies sought and received permission to increase rates in stages over several years. For many Californians, the drought’s pain will persist long after the rains returned in 2017, and some say they will never go down again.

This is fundamentally unfair. California is blessed with lots of water but is cursed by where it is available. About 75 percent of the rain and snow the state receives in any given year falls in the sparsely populated northern end of California or other states, while two-thirds of its people live in the south.

People who live in the Los Angeles basin or San Diego may drink water that fell to earth as snows on California’s Cascades or Sierras, on the Tehachapis, or as melt water from mountains as far away as Wyoming and Colorado that flowed down the Colorado River.

Massive water capture and aqueduct transport facilities move water from where it originates to where it is needed. Most were designed before 1970. Some are falling apart, as we saw when Oroville Dam’s primary spillway failed catastrophically in 2017.

Everyone needs to know that our state lags far behind the curve in delivering enough water to serve all its population. Many migrated here since 1978, the year the last major dam was built.

That’s why voters regularly see water bonds on their ballots, including Proposition 1 in 2014, Proposition 68 this June and now Proposition 3 in our November general election. Many others water bond measures have passed or failed since 2000, but the work they fund is far from done.

Rather than continue to hike water rates and raise sewer bills to pay for water, sewage and storm-water runoff infrastructure projects, California needs bond measures to spread the costs of its water projects across everyone who benefits from them and allow huge sums to be paid for over time.

The alternative to these bond measures is water so expensive that no one can afford to drink it, let alone bathe in it, wash our clothes or water our yards.

Water may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about how important it is to vote in November, but it should definitely not be your last thought, either.

Andrew Lara is a Director for the Pico Water District.

Letter to the Editor: Support for Cristina Garcia

Dear Editor:

Sadly, smear tactics have become the new norm in local politics, a sinister form of character assassination aimed at disparaging our community leaders.

A recent ad, wrought with a litany of lies about Cristina Garcia, our 58th district assembly representative, aims to derail her successive run for the 58th Assembly District. This disparaging ad, seemingly retaliatory in nature, presumes voters will blindly jump on the bandwagon to derail her chance of securing another term.

However, when voters take the time to examine Ms. Garcia’s consistent record of advocacy on behalf of her constituents on issues of environmental justice, government transparency, women’s equity, health and education, youth empowerment and leadership and countless other family issues, then we must rise above the fray and bombardment of negative slanderous propaganda.
Mean-spirited propaganda presumes the voting audience can be easily manipulated with falsehoods and unsubstantiated claims. However, it is evident, at least to voters we’ve consulted, that this smear campaign is about silencing us and relegating our community’s needs back to the margins. As conscientious voters, we won't be bullied by outside interests with deep pockets, who have an ax to grind.

When voters consider Cristina’s commendable merits, then we voters rise above the fray to help Cristina continue the good fight. She is tough, highly effective and has credible support. Undeniably, she is passionate about the issues that matter and that most impact our communities. Your vote for Cristina Garcia is a step toward bold, responsive representation in the 58th Assembly District.

We stand with Cristina.

Hubert H. Humphrey Democratic Club

Letter to the Editor: Campaign cash

Dear Editor:

On November 6, registered voters in the fourth district, which takes in the northeast part of Downey, will have the chance to elect a new council person to replace Fernando Vasquez, who is termed out after eight years in office.

Downey Realtor and attorney Carie Uva, and emergency preparedness manager Claudia Frometa, are vying for the office.

Both candidates have filed FPPC Form 460 with the Downey City Clerk reporting campaign contributions each received for the period of July 1 through Sept. 30.

This letter addresses the donations to Ms. Frometa’s campaign, which are primarily from business interests.

They include Best Buy Tire Center ($2,000), 4 Tires on Line ($2,000), Meghrig Stradley ($2,000), Champion Dodge ($2,000), CalMet Services ($2,000), Paramount Resource Recycling ($1,000), Marcar Real Estate ($1,000), RMI International ($650), Joseph’s Bar and Grill ($500) and Hernandez Carpet Buyers ($500).

RMI International is the security business owned by current Downey Mayor Pro Tem Rick Rodriguez, who has endorsed Frometa.

Outgoing Councilman Fernando Vasquez donated $2,000 left over from his 2014 campaign coffer. He has also endorsed Frometa.

Other individual contributions of note include $500 from businessman Tony Abboud; and $500 from former City Councilman Mario Guerra.

It takes money to successfully run for political office. Analyzing where that money comes from and the amount donated, can help to inform the voter, as it indicates the political interests of the candidate.

Candidate Frometa appears to have the interests of business and her fellow politicians in mind.

Remember the often quoted line from “All the President’s Men,” and “follow the money” before casting your vote in the fourth district council race.

(In full disclosure, the writer donated $500 to Frometa’s campaign.)

Brian Heyman

Letter to the Editor: Speeding on Studebaker

Dear Editor:

I would like to have some kind of an island installed on Studebaker Road between Cecilia Street and all the way to Florence Avenue.

Lately there has been a lot of speeding and during the night weekends there's been young guys doing donuts in the middle of the street.

I am just asking for safety in our streets and community. I hope the city takes action.

Claudia Villasenor

Letter to the Editor: Mental health

Dear Editor:

Thank you Alex Dominguez for such an enlightening article on anxiety and depression. It was touching as well as educational.

He shared such specific and personal symptoms that he has dealt with which, in my opinion, was courageous and selfless.

In addition to the hotlines he mentioned for those in crisis, I want to recommend NAMI, National Alliance for Mental Illness. They have chapters in most communities and offer classes for family and friends that want to understand mental illness and better support a loved one.

Thank you again for using your talent as a journalist to promote awareness on this very important issue.

Lupita Dawson