"5 Questions" is an occasional feature in which we ask five questions of Downey business and community leaders. This week's participant is Councilman Alex Saab. Interview conducted by Eric Pierce 1.) You are approaching one year on the job as a councilman. What has the experience been like?
My experience as a Councilman has been both rewarding and challenging. It has been rewarding because at the local level, you see the results of your efforts much quicker than at other levels of government. Our decisions makes a direct impact on our community of which comes great responsibility. Sometimes making those decisions though is challenging because while some may agree with you, others do not. At the end of the day, as long as I know I did my best, in both an honest and ethical manner, I am satisfied with my decisions.
I am very proud that during my first year, we were able to pass a balanced budget, we've see a reduction in crime in our city, we've been designated an All-American city, we're finally moving forward with the city council going paperless and implementing more green practices at city hall, and we changed the council meeting times 1 hour earlier in order to encourage more public participation. But there is still a lot of work to be done.
2.) You have the distinction of collecting the most votes ever by a councilman in Downey election history (16,882). How long did it take until that sank in?
I am both appreciative and humbled by the trust given to me by the residents of our wonderful city. With that comes much responsibility which I solemnly uphold in every decision and vote I make, always vowing to do what's in the best interests of all our residents. Having been raised in Downey, owning a business in town, and raising a family here, it is an awesome honor to represent our residents and to ensure that our government functions both efficiently and responsibly. I am enjoying every second and am happy to serve.
3.) What issue or question are you asked about the most?
The most common question I am asked is how I am able to handle the busy schedule. My answer is that I've learned how to better balance my time and have embraced modern technology. Between my family, my duties on the council and running my business, I am obviously busy. But its a productive busy of which I feel I am making a difference. I am at a great place in my life right now; my family will always be my priority and I am appreciative for the understanding and support I receive from them. And to make things even better, we are expecting a baby girl at the end of November. So I don't anticipate much sleep in the coming months.
4.) Congratulations on the baby girl! Are you nervous?
Nervous and excited at the same time. We are very blessed although we haven't picked a name yet. So if there are any suggestions, send them our way. Our 4-year-old son, Dominic, is especially excited to meet his new baby sister come November. Although he wants to name her Darth Vader, I don't think we'll go that route. If you see me yawning while around town, please excuse me. Its not because I'm bored.
5.) Downtown Downey is really buzzing with restaurants, Stay Gallery, the new food court, the farmers market and Thursday's Taste of Downey festival. Any other plans for downtown that you can share or we can look forward to?
These are exiting times in our City, especially in our Downtown. In a few months, we will see Firestone Boulevard redone with an emphasis on inviting people into our Downtown area. We are hoping to add monuments, possibly a large archway, welcoming people to Downtown Downey. There will be some art and cultural events and the addition of many new businesses. We are seeing our Downtown Specific Plan work; obviously there are some growing pains, such as parking issues, but we are working through them. We are going to see some specific signage in our downtown and hopefully some parklets. I'm hoping to see more art components as well to enrich our lives. We are also working on making downtown more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. The plans for the Avenue Theater are also something we hope to work on soon. There is a definitely a renaissance occurring.
********** Published: Sept. 19, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 23