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.)

Monday morning report, Oct. 10

Five things to know this Monday morning: 

Photo by John Zander

Photo by John Zander

1.) Thanks to everyone who attended the Patriot's inaugural City Council debate last Friday at the Downey Theatre. It took an incredible amount of work to produce, so it was satisfying that many Downey residents chose to attend, making all the work worth it. 

More importantly, I hope residents learned about the candidates running for office. 

We're working on getting video of the debate posted online, and I'll post a link when that happens. 

 

2.) The nation's first disability pride parade was held yesterday in Downey. The event was the first of its kind anywhere in the country. 

Here are photos taken by former mayor Mario Guerra. ABC-7 covered the event as well but, as you can see from the screenshot, took a different angle. 


3.) There's still time to participate in Downey's Dia de los Muertos altar and trunk altar contests. 

Click here for details; deadline is Oct. 14.


4.) The Downey Conservancy is sponsoring a walking tour of historic Downtown Downey on Saturday, Oct. 22, starting at 9 a.m. 

The tour will provide an overview of the historical and cultural landmarks downtown. Bring walking shoes and a bottle of water. 

Participation is free. 


5.) Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis has its annual golf tournament today at the Rio Hondo Golf Club.

It's too late to golf, but join us for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m.; cost is $40 for a Mexican buffet. There's also going to be some pretty cool raffle prizes.

Thursday morning report, Oct. 6

Five things to know this Thursday morning: 

1.) The authors behind "Sharing Stories: The Ties that Bind," the popular memoir series that appears weekly in the Patriot, will be at the Rio Hondo Event Center at 11:30 a.m. today to celebrate the release of a new book anthology. 

"Sharing Stories: Global Voices Coming Together" features select stories that were published over the past three years. The book was published Los Nietos Press, in associated with the Downey Patriot. 

Admission to today's event is $22, which covers the cost of lunch.


2.) The Downey Chamber of Commerce is hosting a "Let's Do Lunch" mixer at the new Green Olive restaurant at the Promenade today. 

Admission is $20 at the door and includes food. The event begins at noon. 


3.) HomeStreet Bank at the Promenade will be offering free document shredding this Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

CDs, newspapers, phone books, VHS and cassette tapes, newspapers, and hanging file folders also can be safely disposed of at no cost. 


4.) Congratulations to Michael Chirco, who was installed last night as president of Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis.

Chirco is also a board member with the Downey Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers with Gangs Out of Downey. 


5.) The Downey Gateway food court at Downey Avenue and Firestone Boulevard is for sale. Asking price: $16.525 million. 

 

 

 

Wednesday morning report, Oct. 5

Five things to know this Wednesday morning: 

1.) A developer is proposing to build six townhomes on an empty piece of land in downtown Downey. Planning commissioners will consider the development application tonight.

According to a staff report, CEDG Inc. wants to build the three-story townhomes on a vacant 10,500 sq. ft. parcel at 8117 2nd St., directly across from the post office. 

 The homes would range in size from 1,770 to 1,943 square feet and feature between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 baths with an attached two-car garage. 

City staff recommended the project's approval. 


2.) Planning commissioners will also revisit a plan to build 14 condominiums on Foster Road at the southern Downey limit. 

The project was temporarily put on hold this summer after objections from area residents. 


3.) I can't believe this is even a thing, but the creepy clown trend has hit Downey. 

If you haven't heard of the clown attack craze, here's a primer. It's basically people dressing up as clowns and chasing after people, pretending to attack. 

Creepy clowns are already popping up in Downey, though most threats appear to be hoaxes.


4.)  Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Vasquez will be speaking at Latina Empowerment Day, taking place this Friday at the Embassy Suites. 

Put on by HOPE (Hispanics Organized for Political Equality) and the National Latina Business Women's Association, the conference will feature workshops on a variety of topics, including leadership, technology and wealth. 

Registration is $25; sign-up here or contact Natasha Tadros at (213) 622-0888 or ntadros@latinas.org. 

The conference begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m.


5.) The Downey Symphony has signed up for a Smile account with Amazon.

Go to smile.amazon.com, choose the Downey Symphonic Society as your charity of choice, and Amazon will donate a percentage of the sale back to the symphony.

 

Tuesday morning report, Oct. 4

Five things to know this Tuesday morning: 

1.) Gangs Out of Downey meets at 7:40 a.m. in the second floor training room at City Hall. 

This Friday is GOOD's annual golf tournament, with proceeds benefiting the Ricky Galvez Scholarship. The tournament is sold out, but there are still opportunities for sponsorships or to attend the dinner. 

For details, contact Mark McDaniel at markmc.good@hotmail.com. 


2.) A Downey couple was convicted last week in the death of their infant daughter, who was found beaten and malnourished. 

The baby was discovered unresponsive on New Year's Eve 2013. The L.A. County Coroner's office determined she died of blunt force trauma. 

Here is coverage from KTLA


3.) The Downey Chamber of Commerce has contracted Stay Studio -- the same group of people behind Stay Gallery -- to produce the Downey Christmas Parade. 

This year's grand marshal is... wait for it... Don Knabe.


4.) A new real estate company is moving into the northeast complex at Lakewood and Firestone boulevards. 

Realty One Group will take the second floor space above Farmers and Merchant Bank and Starbucks. A grand opening is scheduled for Oct. 20. 


5.) St. Pius X. St. Matthias Academy is asking for prayers after a sophomore student was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. 

Wednesday morning report, Sept. 28

Five things to know this Wednesday morning: 

1.) Gangs Out of Downey is hosting a Public Safety Forum tonight at the Barbara J. Riley Center, starting at 6:30 p.m. 

A panel of expert speakers will engage in conversation about crime trends in Downey. Some of the panelists include representatives from the Downey Police Department, Downey Unified School District and L.A. County Probation, along with other community leaders who lend a hand in keeping Downey safe.

Mark McDaniel, president of GOOD and a lieutenant with Downey PD, will moderate.


2.) DUSD Superintendent Dr. John Garcia will host his first "Coffee with the Superintendent" of the new school year at 6:30 p.m. tonight at school district headquarters, 11627 Brookshire Ave. 

It's an opportunity to share your ideas, thoughts or concerns directly with the man in charge of Downey schools. 


3.) All items were approved at last night's City Council meeting, including the proposed civilian volunteer program within the Downey Police Department. 

Volunteers will be unarmed and are not authorized to take enforcement actions, said Capt. Stephen Garza of the Downey Police Department. 

Total cost to get the program off the ground is about $66,000, which will be used to purchase two new patrol vehicles. Two patrol cars will be taken out of service, repainted and re-purposed for use by the civilian patrol. 


4.) A Downey woman is raising money to bury her infant daughter, who died yesterday during a planned open heart surgery. 


5.) Joslyn Davis is selling a Downey t-shirt with proceeds benefiting TLC.