In support of Deacon Mario

Dear Editor:I have been a Downey resident since 1946 and a parishioner of St. Raymond, and, having read the article about Mayor Guerra's removal as deacon from St. Raymond, I find it hard to believe that anyone would say that Deacon Mario was taking his personal viewpoints to the pulpit. ("Downey Mayor Removed as Deacon at St. Raymond's," 1/31/13)

In all of my years at St. Raymond, I have never heard Deacon Mario express his personal political views from the pulpit.

If that information came from the firemen's union, then shame on them. I back Deacon Mario 100 percent in his belief that the Fire Department should stay local and not go to L. A. County. Robert J. Buckley Downey

Dear Editor: As a life-long resident of Downey, I am very proud of my city, its residents, elected officials, and the things that separate us from our neighboring cities such as having our own school district, our own police department, and our own fire department.

In my opinion, the men and women who serve and protect our residents are the finest and like most of our residents, I want to keep them ours.

Over the past few weeks, the negative chatter regarding Mayor Guerra is unwarranted and disturbing. Mayor Guerra is a man who is nothing short of passionate about this city; his loyalty is to the residents, and he is devoted to his parish and religion.

However, now he finds himself being blasted and criticized for standing up to the bullying antics of the fire union. I for one applaud, and stand with, him. I am in no way saying that Mayor Guerra is an angel. I am sure he has rattled some feathers with his candid, big personality, but regarding this issue I wholeheartedly agree with him: let's keep our fire department here in Downey.

Again, the Mayor has said some things in the past that I have not agreed with, and perhaps his approach regarding this matter should have been different. But for the most part, I think everything he does is in the best interests of our city and its residents-he bleeds Downey and this is the type of official you want representing you and our city.

Quite frankly, our firemen are paid very well and given great benefits. In addition, they are loved and supported by our city and its residents. With that said, no one is forcing anyone to stay here and I am sure for every job within the department that becomes available there will be hundreds fighting for that job. The bottom line is, if I don't like where I work or whom I work for, I leave and our firemen are free to do the same.

As for former fire chaplain Fr. Higgins, I find it unbelievable and disturbing how this man has forgotten whom he truly serves: he is supposed to serve the Lord, his parish and his parishioners, not the fire union. Can someone please remind Fr. Higgins that his business and concern should remain with and at St. Raymond, and not with city issues. Issues affecting our city should be handled by the men and women we appoint to represent us, and by us the residents by means of our vote. Hiding behind the church and Archdiocese doesn't impress me, Fr. Higgins. In fact, quite the opposite.

As a devoted Catholic I am appalled by the Archdiocese and St. Raymond relocating a man who has devoted over two decades to not only this parish but also the parishioners who love him, a man who has done no wrong. Shame on you!

Because I want to keep our fire department in Downey I would welcome a study or survey which would indicate whether or not going county would truly be in the best interests of our residents. At that point we the residents can make the right and responsible decision for the betterment of our city.

I challenge the residents of Downey to stand up and fight for what is yours, don't allow the fire union to bully you into thinking going county would suit us better, I say let them prove it! Enough with the lies and deception. Give us the facts! Let's keep what belongs to Downey in Downey! Jeff Jones Downey

Dear Editor: Mayor Deacon Mario Guerra has been reassigned to be deacon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles in downtown Los Angeles. The fire union said Guerra took his personal viewpoints to the pulpit. The pulpit is where personal viewpoints are expressed. Professing your faith if very personal.

The fire union lodged a complaint with the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese said "Deacon Mario remains in full and good standing as a deacon of the Archdiocese." Steve Davis, president of the Downey firefighters union, said "In order to be removed as a deacon in the city, you must have done something wrong." Who is lying?

Davis said, "Mario called me a flat-out liar at his town hall meeting. He has called me a bully and a union thug." Saying Mayor Guerra must have done something wrong and lodging a complaint before he is transferred sounds to me like Steve Davis is a liar, bully and a union thug. This suspicion is supported by the resignation of St. Raymond's pastor, Fr. John Higgins, as chaplain of the Downey Fire Department last Monday.

Cheer up, Mayor Guerra. Maybe the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles needs a whistleblower. El Bee Downey

Dear Editor: I've lived in Downey 47 years and patronized the library for that long. I was grossly offended today to see a person at a table, in front of the library door, with a petition to go directly against the previously stated will of the majority of Downey citizens. Regardless of the direction our federal government is leaning, we are still a republic. We vote for representatives at each level of government and they are supposed to represent us, not some special interest group. (Wow, am I too naïve?)

I grew up with county services years ago, and don't want them again. And now that the county is mostly bankrupt, people who do not represent Downey are lying to its citizens so Downey will give up its own excellent fire and police services to help pay for county services instead. Who does this benefit? It may help keep the county system afloat so the broke cities around us can have their county services. Who else does it benefit? Is it a union that wants more influence, a politician who wants union backing? All I know, it is not the people of Downey. If something the city is doing needs improvement, taking it to the people is fine-but letting three council members decide for all of us is not fine. It's bad enough to be rudely accosted in front of Ralph's or Walmart, but now I can't go to a place which has always been a source of relaxation for me-a place to learn, to be entertained, to escape from stress, to get at the truth, where I pick up my favorite newspaper, the Downey Patriot.

It may be legal to circulate a petition, but not in front of the library, a place people should be able to enter without harassment. And it is not legal to lie about the purpose of a petition to ignorant and naïve voters who have not lived in Downey long enough to even understand what is at stake. Who are these people in Downey who want to turn our city into another "third-world" city? If you don't like Downey, why don't you move somewhere you like-oh, yea, it's because Downey has its own police and fire and it's safer to live here!

I wrote this letter, then read the Patriot the next day. I couldn't believe my eyes: a citizen has a right to express his opinion on health and safety issues, whether he is a Deacon or not. To drive someone out of their church for this when unions constantly tell their members for whom to vote!

I'm not against unions-my husband belonged to several and was a steward. By the way, his worst opponents when he fought for blue collar workers were his liberal-leaning supervisors. They did not care about anything but power.

It's bad enough that the unions run California and have gotten us in a mess, but now they want to take over Downey and bypass the citizens. Glory Derryberry Downey

********** Published: Febuary 7, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 43