Downey Rose Float profiled in L.A. Times

The Downey Rose Float Assoc. won the Governor's Award in yesterday's Tournament of Roses Parade, drawing praise and recognition from media outlets around the world. 

The L.A. Times interviewed float builder Kelley Roberts, who has been working on Downey's float for nearly 40 years. 

"A state employee by day, Roberts said he has worked on the Gold Rush float pretty much every evening since August. He designed and built the float's roller coaster, which he planned to ride during the parade.

"After the parade is over, Roberts said he will manage it on display near Pasadena High School. And in about two weeks, after the flowers have dried and crumbled, he will strip the float, tear it down and not look back.

"He has next year to think about."

Baby killed in traffic collision is identified

The 4-month-old baby boy killed in a traffic collision Saturday at Firestone Boulevard and Brookshire Avenue has been identified as Xavier Leon, of Bell Gardens. 

The boy was in the backseat of a Mercedes SUV traveling south of Brookshire when it collided with a Chevy Silverado at about 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

Paramedics rushed the baby to a local hospital where he died.

Any witnesses to the crash are urged to call Downey Police at (562) 904-2339. 

Warren High School selling old yearbooks

Warren High School is selling a collection of old yearbooks dating back to the 1950's. 

The sale will be held Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 2:45-4 p.m. in the yearbook room, A-105.

Prices are $30 for yearbooks dated 1980-2000; $40 for years 2001-06; $75 for years 2007-13; and $95 for years 2014-16. 

Prices were not listed for yearbooks pre-1980.

Live streaming and Snapchat

I will be live streaming the public comment portion of tonight's City Council meeting from the Downey Patriot's Facebook page. I've heard it could be interesting.

Also, the Patriot is now on Snapchat under the handle @downeypatriot

Downey Police patrolling for drunk drivers tonight

Downey police officers will be actively searching for drunk drivers as part of an expanded DUI deployment tonight. 

"If you want to stay safe this Halloween then make a plan to get home without driving if you've been drinking," said Downey Police Chief Carl Charles. "Just one drink impairs judgment, so plan to get home by taxi, ride share, mass transit or designate a sober driver. 

"Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so plan ahead and stay safe." 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 43 percent of all motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2009 to 2013 involved drunk driving. 

Drivers caught driving impaired can face jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

LivingHelp Golf Tournament this Friday

An announcement in last week's issue about the LivingHelp Center's annual golf tournament included an incorrect date. 

The tournament will take place Oct. 21, not the 28th as stated in the article. 

All other details remain the same: cost is $135 per player and includes green fees, golf cart and buffet dinner. Golfers can also purchase mulligans and raffle tickets. 

Registration starts at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at noon at the Rio Hondo Golf Club. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available and range in price from $60-$1,000. 

For more information, call Jim Miller at (562) 928-3539 or Dennis Pagenkopp at (562) 928-1429. 

Walking tour of historic Downey set for Oct. 22

The Downey Conversvancy will lead a walking tour of historic Downtown Downey next Saturday, Oct. 22, beginning at 9 a.m. 

The tour will begin at Firestone Boulevard and Downey Avenue, and will provide an overview of the historical and cultural landmarks downtown. 

The tour lasts about two hours; participants should bring walking shoes and bottled water. Cost is free.

Here's a link to the photographs that will be used during the tour. Download it to your smartphone so you can follow along.

Why we reported the Luis Marquez story

The Downey Patriot doesn't deal in tabloid journalism. How many times before yesterday have you read in the Patriot stories of another person's extramarital affairs? 

But the story surrounding Councilman Luis Marquez was too big and too important to ignore, and its reporting was necessary for a couple of different reasons: 

1.) Marquez is a public figure, a two-time mayor of Downey. Details of his life that could impact his ability to serve as a City Council member are crucially important to Downey citizens. 

After word of the allegations against Marquez leaked, Marquez skipped Tuesday's City Council meeting and cancelled a planned community forum. There's no doubt the story was impacting his ability to serve, and residents have a right to know that.

2.) Not only does Downey call itself a Character Counts city, council members voted to inscribe the six "pillars of character" – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship – inside council chambers. It renamed street segments after the six pillars of character and basked in the positive publicity.

When City Council members willingly boast of being people of such high moral character, shouldn't they be challenged when those values are breached? I believe the answer is yes. 

3.) In his statement, Marquez specifically requested an opportunity to "publicly" apologize to his wife and children. This article gave him that opportunity. 

The article written by Alex Dominguez avoided a lot of the innuendo and unfounded allegations spouted by a Cerritos tabloid last week, which has a history of throwing muck against the wall and hoping something sticks. 

To be clear, we're not saying the allegations in the Los Cerritos News story are untrue, only that there is no evidence to support the claims. At its most basic level it's a story of he-said, she-said.

Like any other story published by the Patriot, it's up to Downey residents to read the article and do with the information what they will. It's the newspaper's job to inform as fairly and objectively as possible.

Wednesday morning report, Oct. 12

Five things to know this Wednesday morning: 

1.) Councilman Luis Marquez has cancelled his Oct. 19 community forum at the Columbia Memorial Space Center. He was also a no-show at last night's City Council meeting. 

2.) The Downey Chamber of Commerce is conducting a short survey related to Measure S, the proposed half-cent sales tax increase Downey voters will decide on next month. 

Click here to take the survey. 

3.) The latest Neighborhood Watch newsletter is out

4.) The Don Knabe Wellness Center officially opens at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center today. The new facility is a milestone for the Rancho Rising 2020 project.

Grand opening festivities begin at 11 a.m., including remarks by L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe. 

5.) Downey firefighters will visit the Downey City Library at 10:30 a.m. today to read some of their favorite books, demonstrate how to put on protective gear, and give a tour of the fire engine. Children and their caretakers are invited. 

Editor's note: I'm going to take a break from these daily briefs. Finding time to compile these posts has been difficult lately, especially with election season in full swing. I feel the quality of the posts has suffered as a result. Hopefully after the election, when things calm down, I can start again. (I'll still posting items on the blog, though.)