Veterans Day ceremony Monday

DOWNEY - City officials will unveil a veterans memorial during a special Veterans Day ceremony Monday at 10 a.m. in front of City Hall.The public is invited to attend and help honor military veterans who have served our country. For more information, call the city manager's office at (562) 904-1895.

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30

Date set for police chief swearing-in

DOWNEY - Carl Charles will be sworn in as police chief Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. in the council chambers.Charles, a 22-year veteran of the Downey Police Department, is replacing Rick Esteves, who announced his retirement two weeks ago. "Our city is fortunate to have such exceptional men and women serving in our police department, and Mr. Charles is a clear reflection of what the department represents, which is community and commitment," said city manager Gilbert Livas. Charles was hired as a police officer in Downey in 1990 and quickly moved up the ranks, earning promotions to sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He's worked in all three police department divisions, which include administration, field operations and the detective bureau. "Mr. Charles's exemplary commitment and dedication to the Downey community is reflected in his many years of service to our city," Mayor Roger Brossmer said in a statement. "We are confident that Captain Charles will continue to lead our fine police department with the highest regard and integrity." Born and raised in Inglewood, Charles holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Cal State Northridge and a master's in public administration from USC. He is married and has two children.

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30

IRS warns of phony websites

The Internal Revenue Service is issuing a warning about a new tax scam that uses a website that mimics the IRS e-Services online registration page.The actual IRS e-Services page offers web-based products for tax preparers, not the general public. The phony web page looks almost identical to the real one. The IRS gets many reports of fake websites like this. Criminals use these sites to lure people into providing personal and financial information that may be used to steal the victim's money or identity. The address of the official IRS website is Don't be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you find a suspicious website that claims to be the IRS, send the site's URL by email to Use the subject line, 'Suspicious website'. Be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. If you get an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, report it by sending it to The IRS has information at that can help you protect yourself from tax scams of all kinds. Search the site using the term "phishing."

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30

Governor hails 'clear victory' for children, schools and colleges

Delivering on his pledge to ask the people of California to vote on the best path forward, Governor Jerry Brown this week hailed the passage of Proposition 30 as a clear and resounding victory for children, schools and the California dream."Last night, Californians made the courageous decision to protect our schools and colleges and strengthen the California dream," said Governor Brown. "We joined together as Californians first in a resounding victory for education and fiscal integrity. The people of California have put their trust in a bold path forward and I intend to do everything in my power to honor that trust." Governor Brown was elected on a promise to confront the state's perennial budget crisis with honesty and resolve. When Governor Brown returned to Sacramento after almost three decades, California faced a $26.6 billion budget deficit - the result of years of budget gimmicks, a failure to match spending with tax revenues and a massive economic downturn. Since Governor Brown took office he has cut billions in spending from the budget. State spending as a share of the economy has hit the lowest level since Ronald Reagan was governor-and the state's credit outlook has shifted first from negative to stable, and then from stable to positive. However, without additional revenue a deficit remained. The Governor proposed a budget that combined deep cuts with a temporary extension of then-existing taxes. But Republicans blocked an election, refusing to put the measure on the ballot and let the people decide. Facing the necessity of crippling cuts to education without new revenue, Governor Brown introduced Proposition 30 (The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012), which makes California's tax system more fair, guarantees funding for public safety realignment and invests in education. Proposition 30 raises the income tax on those at the highest end of the income scale - those who can most afford it - while families making less than $500,000 a year will pay no additional income taxes. It also temporarily increases sales tax by ¼ cent, keeping the overall sales tax rate lower than it was in early 2011. The revenue generated through Proposition 30 prevents $6 billion in cuts to our schools this year and will provide billions for our schools in the future. The new taxes in this measure are temporary. The sales tax increase will expire in four years, and the income tax increase for the wealthiest taxpayers will end in seven years. The new revenue is guaranteed in the California Constitution to go directly to local school districts and community colleges. Proposition 30 bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Proposition 30 also provides constitutional protection of funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments. To ensure all of these funds go where the voters intend, they are put in special accounts that the Legislature cannot touch. Proposition 30 funding is also subject to an independent audit every year to ensure it is being spent only for schools and public safety. The audit will be open to the public so that voters and parents know that the funds are being spent properly. The sales tax increase is effective January 1, 2013 and the income tax increase is effective starting with the 2012 tax year.

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30

Pension scheme would cost hundreds of millions of dollars

Calling former Mayor Richard Riordan's proposal to change the retirement benefits for all current and future Los Angeles city employees "deeply flawed," the Los Angeles Police Protective League urged voters this weekend not to sign the petitions that could put the Charter Amendment on the May 2013 ballot.The proposal, now called the "Bankruptcy Avoidance and Pension Protection Act," will dramatically increase the city's required payments to the three Los Angeles pension systems. These increased costs, which will be in addition to already scheduled contributions, would take effect as soon as the systems are closed to all future employees and will continue at the increased level for a decade or more. "The plan proposed by Riordan to close the defined benefit pension system as a way of saving money is both simplistic and wrong," said Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. In the past 18 months, nine separate states and the City of New York have examined and rejected closing their respective defined benefit pension systems. After study and debate, it was determined that closing the pension system would not save money, but instead would be more costly than continuing with the existing pension system. For example, this year New Hampshire commissioned two separate actuarial studies on the costs of closing their pension plan to new employees. The reports concluded that "total pension funding costs would rise" and that "in all areas" transition to a "proposed defined contribution plan will be more expensive to employers and employees than maintaining the current defined benefit system," with an added result of cost shifting to future generations. "Richard Riordan is wrong about the city pension plans, and it's telling that he has presented no independent actuarial analysis in support of his talking points. Riordan repeatedly claims that rising city costs will lead to bankruptcy. If he truly believes that, it's bizarre that he wants voters to adopt a plan that immediately and for a lengthy period of time increases city costs. His plan isn't factually supported and doesn't save the City money, despite his witty sound bites claiming it does," said Tyler Izen. Texas, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Missouri, Wyoming and the City of New York have considered and then rejected the same type of proposal offered by Riordan to close the pension system to new employees and switch to a defined contribution system to save costs. "The common reason for rejection was that it was too costly to close the pension system to new employees and switch to a defined contribution system. The Riordan scheme ignores all these published studies, as well as one done in 2005 for the City of Los Angeles showing the immediate and significant costs of closing the defined benefit plan to new hires and implementing a defined contribution pension proposal in its place for the new hires is higher than continuing to make the defined benefit plan open to new employees," said Izen. Izen added, "Riordan cannot be believed on his claim that city bankruptcy is imminent because of rising city costs when he is pushing a plan that increases city costs substantially in the next decade or more. The Police and Fire Pension system is short millions of dollars in part because Riordan's 2001 charter amendment on pensions allowed - in fact, encouraged - using excess funding as a substitute for the city's required annual payment. Now, Riordan wants to double down on his previous bad policy decision with this poorly conceived plan." Thoughtful analysis and real solutions are needed to address pension issues - not sound bite clips and charter changes that are poorly thought-out and extremely costly. "Simply put, the Riordan scheme will not save money; it will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. We urge all residents not to sign the petition that would put Riordan's poorly thought-out plan on the ballot," concluded Izen.

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30

Election signs

Dear Editor:The chicken-wired Orozco, Franco, Marquez and Saab campaign signs all over the city are such an eyesore now, overlapping each other like wanton bidders at an auction on just about every busy corner of our city, that I'm left to wonder which of the four candidates will follow through with the implicit promise to clean up after themselves by diligently going about the costly and time-consuming business of collecting these print-shop bonanza productions of surname posters. I wonder because there are still a few tattered signs around the city from the last election. Downey should consider fining candidates who do not make a concerted effort to dispose of these signs promptly before the signs become weather-beaten gutter and drain obstructions in a possibly rainy winter season. Dan Chantre Downey

********** Published: November 8, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 30

Candidates make final pitches before Election Day

DOWNEY - With just days until Election Day, local candidates running for the Downey City Council are out fine tuning their messages this weekend, still eager to convince residents they have the vision and qualifications needed to lead the city for the next four years. After a season of contentious mailers and ethical accusations, contenders vying for open city council seats in District 1 and 5 showed no signs of letting up this week.

"We feel good...we're confident that the residents will make the right choice and choose the most ethical, honest person - a role model for the community," said Alex Saab, local attorney and community leader who is campaigning for the District 5 city-wide seat.

"They don't want Bell Gardens politics in Downey," he added. "It's clear, I'm the most qualified to move our city forward. Downey is unique and we have to fight to keep it that way for our children." Saab, who lost his 2010 bid for the city council, is confident voters will put their trust in him this time around.

"I'm very proud of my strong record of serving the community in my roles as a business owner and community service leader," he said. "I didn't just move into Downey and decide to do this - I grew up here, this is my motivation."

The race in District 5 has likely become the most tumultuous this year with four candidates vying to replace Councilman Luis Marquez, who decided to vacate his District 5 city-wide seat in order to seek reelection in District 1.

In addition to Saab, other contenders include former professional baseball player Gabriel Orozco, former Bell Gardens Councilman Salvador Franco, and attorney-at-law Ricardo Perez.

A resident of Downey for six years, Franco says he'll use "real-world experience" to attract over 100 new businesses to Downey, create hundreds of new private sector jobs and hire additional police officers if elected.

In his official campaign statement, Franco lists the Downey Firemen's Association as an endorsement and promises to "improve our fire department and fire service."

However, several allegations surfaced last week claiming Franco may have committed voter fraud between 2007-2010 by living in Downey, but voting in nearby Bell Gardens.

While Franco has yet to formally deny the allegations, he believes his opponents have negatively characterized him and his record throughout the campaign.

"This has not been a clean campaign against me, but if they didn't feel I was a strong candidate they wouldn't be attacking me," Franco said. "I'm not from the same crowd - I'm an outsider, but Downey needs someone with new ideas."

Franco said he is very proud of the work his campaign has done walking the neighborhoods of Downey, educating voters on the issues.

"We're trying to finish off what we started two months ago," he said. "I'm an innovative leader focused on economic growth...I'm the right choice with the right plan."

Orozco on Wednesday tempered expectations promising to remain active in the community whether he claims victory on Tuesday or not.

"I thank God for the opportunity to be in this position and I humbly ask Downey voters for their vote," Orozco said. "No matter the outcome, we'll be here pushing forward the issues, working towards a better Downey. I'm available to the community, they know where I stand on the issues - I like my chances."

District 1, which covers southeast Downey, is also a competitive race with three candidates hoping to replace Councilman David Gafin, who will be termed out of office this year.

Longtime resident and active community leader Mark Vasquez will faceoff against Councilman Luis Marquez and Downey Planning Commissioner Michael Murray, owner of Downey Used Cars on Lakewood Boulevard.

Although Mayor Roger Brossmer is running unopposed for his District 3 (northwest) seat, he praised the community this week, pledging to continue his service with residents in mind.

"I was honored to serve the last four years and I want the residents to know that I look forward to four more years," Brossmer said. "I want to continue to really keep an eye on the budget. We were able to close the gap this year, but that deficit's not going away. I also want to bring in more businesses and jobs for our city so there'll be no more cuts in the future."

The Downey City Council election is this Tuesday, Nov. 6.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29

Police searching for kidnapping suspect

DOWNEY - Downey Police are searching for a man who attempted to abduct a teenage girl while she walked to school Tuesday morning. The girl was walking in a residential neighborhood near Old River School Road on her way to a local high school at about 7:30 am. when she noticed she was being followed, police said.

Police are not releasing the name of the girl's school.

The suspect stopped his vehicle behind the girl and exited through the passenger side door. The girl ran but the suspect chased after her, grabbing her by her upper arm.

After a struggle, the girl was able to break free from his grasp. She ran to school and notified school officials, who called police.

The suspect got back in his car and drove away. He is described as a man in his 30s with a light complexion, possibly Hispanic, about 6 feet 1 inches tall, medium build, with short dark brown shaggy hair.

He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

His vehicle was a dark gray or black primer colored, older model 2-door coupe with black rims and a loud exhaust. It may be an early 1990s Ford Probe or similar style.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call police.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29

City bills residents for unpaid fees

DOWNEY - If you're wondering about a strange tax bill that arrived in the mail this week - it's legit.According to city officials, a computer glitch prevented L.A. County from collecting two fees that are normally included in residents' property tax bill. In response, the city of Downey sent out invoices this week to collect the unpaid fees, which cover the city's lighting and landscaping assessments. The fees could total about $26. Complicating matters is that the city also sent out a sample property tax bill to highlight the lighting and landscaping fees. That confused some residents, who thought they owed an additional $1,800. To be clear, the 2010 property tax "bill" is only a sample. Residents should refer to the separate invoice to find out how much they owe. For questions, call Public Works at (562) 904-7109.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29

Volunteers needed to serve meals

DOWNEY - Volunteers are needed to help prepare and serve a Thanksgiving meal to the less fortunate on Nov. 10 at the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center.The dinner is sponsored by the Breath of God Christian Fellowship in conjunction with the Aggressive Community Training and Services Foundation. Volunteers are needed to help with food preparation and also to set-up and decorate the hall. Food donations are also being accepted for food baskets that will be distributed to needy Downey students. To sign-up as a volunteer, call the church office at (310) 767-9620.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29

Red Carpet taking donations

DOWNEY - Red Carpet Heritage Realty is collecting non-perishable food items for the Families of our Military Heroes program.Items can be dropped off at the Red Carpet offices at 8423 Florence Ave. or call (562) 923-5401 to schedule a pick-up. Donations will be delivered to Soldiers Angels, a non-profit organization run by the USO.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29

Wells Fargo donates $1K to Soroptimist

DOWNEY - Wells Fargo made a $1,000 donation to Soroptimist International of Downey last month to strengthen the service organization's work in the community.The donation was made Oct. 17 when Wells Fargo held its Greater San Gabriel Community Support Breakfast in Pasadena. Wells Fargo and its employees invested a record $27 million in 1,600 schools and nonprofits in Greater Los Angeles and Orange County in 2011. "Soroptimist is grateful for their generous donation and will apply it to our scholarships and service projects in the community," said Giggy Saab, president of Soroptimist International of Downey.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29

Paul Murphy Guggiana

Paul Murphy Guggiana, of Downey, California died Sunday, October 21, 2012 in the Long Beach VA Hospital after a fight against cancer.Paul was born in Downey, California, September 25, 1949, to Roland and Electa Guggiana. He was the youngest of 3 children. Paul lived in Downey all his life, going to school there and graduating from Earl Warren High School in 1968. He attended Long Beach State and was drafted into the Army where he served in Germany on a top secret mission. He was employed by Luckys and Albertsons for over 30 years and retired in 2004. He loved to spend time with his family, and when he wasn't working would attend any event that his children were involved in, ranging from girl/boy scouts, baseball games, city pageants, and track and cross country meets. He was also very creative and during Halloween would often be making costumes for his children and later his grandchildren. Paul is survived by his wife of 35 years Shari, his daughter Shannon and her husband Darrin, his son Roland and his wife April, his son Robert, his daughter Robyn, his grandchildren Ella, Elisabeth, Logan and Misty and his sister Eleda.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29