President’s spending

Dear Editor: In response to “Politics” (Letters to the Editor, 3/27/14), I have to agree with Joanne Gallo that we have not and will never have a perfect president.

Myself, and I am sure others, were not looking for perfection. We were looking for leadership credentials. Being a community organizer, serving in the Senate for a few months, teaching constitutional law, and graduating from Harvard does not qualify anyone to become president of the United States. A brother-in-law of mine has a doctor’s degree from Harvard but in no way is qualified to become president.

Sure, in my opinion and others’, George W. Bush’s big mistake was getting us into war in Iraq -- hopefully history will prove that this was not a mistake. However, does this mistake (if indeed it was), and others that he made justify voting someone into office who is totally unqualified? Obama’s mistakes are way too numerous to list, however, the following are a few:

Passing the Affordable Care Act without allowing the opposition party to have a voice. With more than 2,000 pages in this act, and having seen a few excerpts that are forthcoming, even Ms. Gallo might not like what will be happening. We are just beginning to see the downfalls of Obamacare. My son’s insurance deductible has increased form $900 a year to $5,000. Being a senior citizen and having a Medicare Advantage Plan, my healthcare plan has not been compromised -- yet.

Taking extravagant family vacations to Hawaii, Europe, Africa and China. Sure, you might say, he is president and entitled to these luxury trips. If he were an emperor, yes, however, he is not.During our economy’s hard times, Obama and family should be honorable enough to set a good example and conserve on expenses.

Using Air Force One more than any other president to fly to Los Angeles to raise funds for the Democratic Party or for making guest appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “Today” shows. Obama has used his executive privileges more than any other president to institute his agenda.

Increasing our national debt by more than all the previous presidents combined -- yes, including George W. Bush. Our debt is now around $17 trillion and rising.

Taxing the rich. Sure there is corruption among the rich as there is among all classes of people. But some have worked hard, put in long hours running a business that provides jobs for many, saved and invested wisely for retirement. The rich pay a higher percentage of income tax than anyone else and are largely responsible for contributing to the nation’s income. In France, the rich are taxed 70 percent of their income and are now leaving the country. If the rich in the United States decide to leave our country, with 49 percent of the people paying no taxes, the upper and middle class would not able to sustain President Obama’s and his wife’s lifestyle, and what a pity that would be.

Martha Call




Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Turf and irrigation

Dear Editor: (Re: “Artificial Turf,” Letters to the Editor, 3/27/14) I am a retired county employee from the Department of Parks and Recreation and served many years as a journeyman plumber, construction project coordinator and safety officer.

During my many years with the county, management tried to curtail water usage by installing (at great expense) artificial plants and turf in median strips on south Hawthorne Boulevard in Rolling Hills Estates. This was also done during a long drought in the 70s and the political leaders of the county at that time thought it would provide the required landscape ambiance along the highway while also reducing costs of landscape maintenance and water usage.

Well, the only thing it reduced was money from the county budget. The artificial turf was difficult to maintain as it got dirty from road dust and litter and had to be blown off and hosed regularly. Oh, and don’t ask me about vandalism. The county finally had enough complaints form residents of that area and ripped it all out, replacing it with irrigated plants and turf.

The city of Downey has been and is a good steward of water resources and consistently uses reclaimed water instead of potable drinking water in many of its irrigated landscaped areas that are very well maintained and show their pride in our city. It’s my understanding that reclaimed water is not available for the Firestone Boulevard project but they are going to use drought tolerant plants in the median strips and irrigate them with drip irrigation installed under the topsoil so that only the plant gets irrigated and not the surrounding soil.

I think the city of Downey and its dedicated employees deserve our praise and gratitude for the way they take care of our wonderful city.

John Wehrly




Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Florence Bitticks passes away

DOWNEY – Florence Viola Aaby Bitticks, 96, died in Santa Rosa, Calif., on March 21. She was born in Rock Dell, Minn., on Dec. 29, 1917 to Martin and Mattie Aaby. Florence grew up on a rural farm and moved to California at age 26.

She worked for Hammand and Avery Insurance Company prior to marrying her husband, David L. Bitticks. Their marriage lasted 63 years.

She graduated from Cerritos College and Cal State Dominguez Hills. She worked for Cerritos College as an academic advisor, peer counselor and adjunct teacher.

A lifelong Lutheran, she was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Downey, where she served as a Sunday school teacher for more than 25 years. She also served as a Camp Fire leader and participated in many other volunteer activities.

She is survived by heirs, daughter Ann Philipp (John) of Sebastopol, Calif.; daughter, Alyce Bitticks (Ronal Alston) of Greensboro, N.C.; granddaughters, Carina Bitticks-Alson of Durham, N.C., Aldea Bitticks-Alston of Greensboro, NC, and Jena Bitticks-Alston of Greensboro, N.C.; sisters, Ordelia Coley of Hinckley, Ohio and Verna Herrick of Rochester, Minn.; and many nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, David L. Bitticks; parents; brothers, Glenn and Clifford Aaby; and sisters, Elvira Wilson and Lorraine Grovdahl.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Businesswoman earns advertising certificate

DOWNEY – Nicole Beresford, print and marketing specialist for PIP Printing in Downey, has been awarded a Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information (BASI) certification from the Advertising Specialty Institute – the industry equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. BASI holders are recognized as industry experts who have the knowledge they need to thoroughly understand and navigate the promotional products marketplace profitably, and develop “solid relationships with their colleagues that will help them prosper in the industry.”

“We are so proud of the graduates of the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program,” said ASI president and CEO Timothy Andrews. “We launched this program to provide members with the skills they need to out-think, out-perform and out-service the competition. We couldn’t be happier so many members are seizing the opportunity to set themselves apart through quality education.”

Both live and online ASI courses qualify for credit. Candidates must complete certification within three years of beginning the program.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Churches join for Good Friday service

BELLFLOWER – Bellflower United Methodist Church is sponsoring a region-wide worship service Friday, April 18, entitled “Sayings From the Cross: The Seven Last Words of Jesus.” The two-hour event will highlight the words of Jesus spoken while on the cross at Calvary.

Various churches from the surrounding area will participate. Featured speakers include Rev. Paul Kim, pastor of Trinity UMC of Lakewood; Rev. Jon Waterson, pastor of Downey UMC; Rev. Moses Barrios of Carve Life Church; Rev. Sione Tu’ipulotu of United with Hope UMC; Rev. Abel Lara of Norwalk UMC; Rev. Samuel Cruz of Paramount UMC; and Rev. Lui Tran, J.D., of Lakewood First UMC.

“This will be the opportunity for young and old to experience the power of renewal,” said Rev. Leonardo V. Wilborn, host pastor of Bellflower First United Methodist. “We have planned an event that will feature praise and worship songs, special prayers, transformational messages and opportunities for individuals to receive the spirit of God from this group of anointed pastors, leaders and committed followers of Jesus Christ.”

Bellflower First UMC is at 14525 Bellflower Blvd. Free parking and child care are available.

For more details, call (562) 866-2551.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51


Dear Editor: Many kudos to what’s going on in Downey.

Kudos to whoever was instrumental in getting the zebra crosswalks painted on the corner of Paramount Boulevard and Stewart and Gray Road. I hope I will be seeing more of them in Downey. I don’t know why, but they make me smile.

Also, I would like to thank The Downey Patriot for the “Shared Stories: The Ties that Bind” column. Gloria Hannigan’s history of television in her lifetime was an absolute delight to read.

Keep up the good work, guys. It’s much appreciated.

Doreen Lorand




Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Lakewood Boulevard

Dear Editor: Wow! Our City Council thinks it will do something about Lakewood Boulevard between Florence and Gallatin. I will believe it when I see it. (“Repairs May Finally Be Coming to Lakewood Blvd.,” 3/27/14)

And what happened to fixing Lakewood between Gallatin and Telegraph? Not that they need it – we love the lousy road and potholes.

How the city can find money to fix just about anything else is beyond me.

Doris Hannon




Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

ABWA to honor woman of the year

DOWNEY – Joan Horvath will be guest speaker when the American Business Women’s Association celebrates its 49th anniversary April 16 at the Rio Hondo Event Center. The meeting’s theme is “Women’s Future in Technology.” The chapter’s woman of the year will be honored at the meeting.

Networking starts at 6 pm. followed by dinner at 6:30. Cost is $35.

RSVP before April 9 by contacting Ilda Vaja at (562) 868-2011 or



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Healthy Downey 5K walk Saturday

DOWNEY – There is still time to sign-up for the second annual Healthy Downey 5K Run/Walk taking place this Saturday at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Same-day registration is $40 for adults and $30 for kids ages 4 and older.

Proceeds from the walk will support the TLC Family Resource Center, which provides resources to underprivileged students and families of the Downey Unified School District.

The event begins with check-in from 6:30-7:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies and warm-up at 7:30. The run/walk begins at 8.

Water stations will be located at various stops throughout the course. There will also be food, information booths, and more.

For questions, call (562) 904-3577 or go to



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Rio San Gabriel fields reopen

DOWNEY – The sports fields at Rio San Gabriel have reopened to the public after extensive renovations, including adding 250 tons of soil to prevent sinking. Work crews also raised five rotor heads, added 1,500 pounds of perennial rye mix for athletic fields, and 50 yards of seed topper.

The park’s basketball courts were also renovated last month.

“We want our residents to be able to enjoy good quality parks and we are committed to utilizing the resources we have available to make necessary improvements,” said Mayor Fernando Vasquez.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Are you prepared for an earthquake?

The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake. Before an earthquake:

•To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

•Fasten shelves securely to walls.

•Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.

•Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.

•Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.

•Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.

•Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.

•Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.

•Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.

•Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.

•Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.

Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.

•Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.

•Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.

During an earthquake

(if indoors):

•DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.

•Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

•Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.

•Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.

•Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.

•DO NOT use the elevators.

•Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If outdoors:

•Stay there.

•Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.

•Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a moving vehicle:

•Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.

•Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If trapped under debris:

•Do not light a match.

•Do not move about or kick up dust.

•Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.

•Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

After an earthquake:

•When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.

•Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.

•Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.

•Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

•Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.

•Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.

•Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

•Go to a designated public shelter if your home has been damaged and is no longer safe. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).

•Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations.

•Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.

•After it is determined that its’ safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery.

•Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.

•Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency by visiting:

•Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.

•Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.

•Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage.

•Inspect utilities.

•Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

•Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.

•Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

Tips courtesy FEMA. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Health coverage

Dear Editor: According to the L.A. Times, more than 7 million previously uninsured Americans now have health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. My 53-year-old son is one of those people.

Denise Calhoun




Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Downey library marking national library week

DOWNEY – The Downey City Library is planning several events next week as it celebrates National Library Week from April 7-12. Author Jill Stowell will discuss her book, “At Wit’s End: a Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities,” Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Fernando Vasquez will read at the library’s Preschool Story Time on Tuesday starting at 10:30 a.m. Vasquez will read some of his favorite stories to children ages 3-5. Children will also enjoy a snack and make a handprint lily as a thank you gift.

“Celebrating National Library Week provides a great opportunity for us to showcase all of the wonderful things our City Library has to offer,” the mayor said. “I encourage our residents to stop by our library and take part in the activities that are planned.”

On Thursday from 6:30-7:15 p.m., Duffy Hudson will delight children and their families with Dr. Seuss stories. Duffy is a Broadway and film actor who specializes in creating unique and lively shows. Children can even meet the Cat in the Hat and have their photo taken.

The library will host two events on Saturday, April 12. For adults, the library is hosting a bus to the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC. The bus will leave the library’s parking lot at 8 a.m. and return at 5 p.m. Cost is $5; residents can register and pay at the Friends of the Downey City Library’s gift shop during normal library hours.

For children, the library will have a Read-A-Thon from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The library is celebrating DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Day in honor of Beverly Cleary, author of the “Ramona” series and numerous award-winning books. A host of volunteers will be reading favorite children’s books. There will be balloons, crafts and giveaways.

The free event promotes a love of reading and libraries in children of all ages. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

Also, the library’s Book Lovers Club is meeting Thursday from 12-1 p.m. for a lively discussion on “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie” by Ayana Mathis. All are welcome to participate or simply listen in.

For more information on upcoming activities, call the library at (562) 904-7360 and select opion 3 for the Adult Information Desk or option 4 for the Children’s Desk.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Free paper shredding

DOWNEY – Simplicity Bank at Stonewood Center is having a free paper-shredding event this Saturday, April 5, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Residents can shred their confidential documents at no cost. Shredding is done by South Bay Document Destruction Inc.

Acceptable items include copy and industrial paper, reports, contracts, newspapers, phone books, magazines, hanging file folders, and even VHS tapes, cassettes and CDs.

Paperclips and staples are OK.

Simplicity Bank is on the Lakewood Boulevard side of Stonewood Center, near the food court.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Family carnival at Golden Park

DOWNEY – Families are invited to a “Bunny Breakfast and Extravaganza” at Golden Park on Saturday, April 12. The breakfast is sold out, but there will be free outdoor activities from 9 a.m. to noon, including carnival games, prize walk, information booths, jumpers, “toddler town,” and a mobile skate park.

The event is jointly presented by the city of Downey and Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis Club.

For more information, call the Parks & Recreation Department at (562) 904-7238.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

5 arrested at DUI checkpoint

DOWNEY – Five people were arrested for driving under the influence at a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint in Downey last Friday night. The checkpoint at Firestone Boulevard and Ryerson Avenue resulted in five DUI arrests, 53 citations and 17 vehicle impounds.

“The goal of the DUI/driver’s license checkpoint was to remove impaired drivers from the roadways and to bring awareness to the public of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” police officials said.

Funding for the checkpoint came from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Downey Elite boys basketball team

The Downey Elite boys basketball team won the seventh grade division championship after taking first place in the Open Gym Premier Kickoff Basketball Tournament held March 22-23 at American Sports Center in Anaheim. Downey Elite went undefeated in four games. The team includes Asst. Coach Fernando Gomez Sr., Fernando Gomez II, Coach Eddie Martinez, Junior Melendez, Elijah Hatfield, Jalen Manson, Asst. Coach Mark Manson, Reydecel Barragan (MVP), Calixtro Garcia, Eddie Martinez Jr., Alexander Duran, Gene Cajigas, Asst. Coach Eugene Cajigas and Brandon Gutierrez. Not pictured: Alejandro Gonzalez.  


Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Free car fittings for seniors

DOWNEY – Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center is hosting a free “CarFit” event for seniors on April 16, where seniors ages 55 and older can learn how a proper fit can greatly increase their comfort and safety inside an automobile. Participation in the program is free but appointments are necessary by calling Mary Hernandez at (562) 401-7464.

The CarFit program is designed to give a quick, comprehensive check by occupational therapists, senior living specialists and traffic safety health educators on how well a senior driver and their vehicle work together.

“Unless seniors make adjustments, those changes may make older drivers less comfortable and reduce control behind the wheel,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s community relations and traffic safety team lead.

California has no upper driving age limit and state law prohibits the DMV from using age alone to require a behind-the-wheel test at renewal.

However, motorists 70 or older must renew their license in person rather than through the mail.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

With grant, library plans veterans project

DOWNEY – The Downey City Library has been awarded a $5,000 grant to build “intergenerational connections” between veterans and the general public. The grant is from Cal Humanities, which is sponsoring the project in conjunction with the California Center for the Book and the California State Library.

Library officials will reach out to military veterans and current service members, linking them to local children. Activities include a veteran-led reading for fourth and fifth grade students, followed by a student letter-writing and art project, a panel discussion on the experience of coming home from war, and a campaign to provide books for deployed soldiers and veterans.

Partners will include local VA representatives and service clubs.

“This grant from Cal Humanities will provide a wonderful opportunity for our library visitors to engage with our local veterans and show appreciation for their service to our country,” said Mayor Fernando Vasquez. “Thank you to our Downey City Library staff for their work in securing this grant and for helping promote and enhance our library’s reading programs.”

For details on upcoming activities, call Claudia Dailey at (562) 904-7360, ext. 123.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51