Council clashes over $55,000 lighting for golf course

DOWNEY ‚àí After tense debate between council members on Tuesday, the City Council voted to move forward with a nearly $55,000 lighting project to accent portions of the Rio Hondo Golf Course for evening events.During the council meeting, Councilman Mario Guerra, who was the sole dissenting vote, spoke out against the proposal, which was introduced by Mayor Pro Tem David Gafin. "I just can't justify spending $50,000 for aesthetic lights," said Guerra. "There's no guarantee that these lights will attract more business. I'm voting against spending money we don't have." Gafin, however, defended the project, which he said will better showcase the golf course and improve the ambiance at the facility's 300-person banquet hall by strategically placing 15 spot and flood lights hundreds of feet into the course, located at 10627 Old River School Rd. "I was getting comments from citizens who were saying the golf course was beautiful, but you can't see it at night," he said. "The banquet hall looks out on the golf course. We want people to be able to look beyond the patio. Yes, it is for aesthetics and yes, it is money, but it's a long-term investment to keep the golf course a prime location." Councilman Luis Marquez questioned the pricing, but ultimately praised the proposal. When Guerra reiterated his position against wasteful spending, Marquez openly complained, accusing Guerra of disrupting the voting process. "You can't just spend money when it's for renaming streets and your own projects," Marquez said. "It's been a full year of 4-1 votes." The project, which will be paid for using golf course funds, will return to the Council next year for final authorization once a company is chosen to install the lighting.

********** Published: December 15, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 35