Mayor's Corner: Healthy Downey going strong

Dear Downey Family, I hope this finds you well, in good spirits and good health. I enjoy updating you on some of the many things happening in our City.

Character Counts Week took place last week and it was great to see our youth embracing the six pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. I personally spoke to students at Gallatin Elementary and enjoyed talking to them about making the right choices in life and living up to the Character Counts model. I want to thank our amazing Downey Unified School District for implementing this vision throughout our schools and for our Council for adopting this as a part of who we are. It is now part of the DNA of our community. We are so proud to be a Character Counts City.

Many thanks to all who attended my annual Town Hall meeting on Oct. 16. I had the pleasure of meeting so many of our wonderful residents and truly enjoy talking about our great City. From fiscal updates to public safety to developments. We have many exciting projects on the way, one of which is the Promenade at Downey. This multi-million dollar development will be a major economic leap for our City, bringing close to 1.5 million square feet in retail , office space and a hotel. 3,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs, many in the medical field.

As you might have heard, Cinemark is already one of our confirmed tenants for the Promenade and we will be announcing others as we get confirmation. We plan on a ground-breaking announcement on Nov. 14. It is the largest development on the west coast and it will be special. Stay tuned! Very exciting...

Other developments being worked on are at Lakewood and Firestone, Lakewood and Gallatin, Firestone Blvd. across Stonewood Mall and the Beaches Market location. Lots of exciting projects in the works. So many have seen the value of our City and what we offer as a community. We are making sure that we are very pro active in lettings others know about Downey.

Last Saturday we had the honor of dedicating our City's dog park to former Downey Mayor David R. Gafin. Mr. Gafin, a true man of character and integrity, served our City proudly and we can't thank him enough for what he did for this community. While on Council, he was a big proponent behind developing our very own dog park and we couldn't find it more fitting than to name it after him.

Our City held a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the Telegraph Road improvement project. This was a collaboration between the City of Pico Rivera and Downey, and it was nice to come together with our neighboring officials to celebrate a job well done. This is an example of local governments working together to better the quality of life of our residents. It also reinforces our continued focus on streets and infrastructure and fits right into several of our Council goals regarding quality of life and economic vibrancy.

A special thank you to Pico Rivera Mayor Gustavo Camacho and his fellow Council colleagues, City staff, as well as our Downey team, for making this project possible...A lot of other road improvements throughout our City have been approved by our council and are on the way. You will see the difference in the very near future.

We continue to be proactive and look for ways to improve our services and quality of life for our residents. One of our goals as Mayor and Council was to work together and to think about our future, to think big and bold but to also do the fundamental job of local government. Just a few weeks ago, my fellow Council colleagues and I, along with our City Manager and department heads, went on a bus tour throughout the city to analyze our infrastructure, parks, streets, and various other areas and to set priorities. It was an open, publicized, agenized meeting and we even had a few residents join us on the bus. Our goal was to determine what we are doing right and what we need to improve on. We visited different areas in the city and made a list of priorities that we need to focus on to make Downey even better. We are always looking ahead and trying to come up with innovative ways to create positive change for our residents. The tour definitely served as an eye opener and brought many positive ideas to help us better our community. This was the first time this has ever been done in the history of our City but I look forward to doing it again annually.

Healthy Downey is stronger and better than ever and that is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our community partners. We have made a big difference and made so much progress. I first initiated the program almost a year ago as a way to improve my health and that of our community..My goal, our vision was to create a healthier Downey through community collaboration and raise the issue of how important health and nutrition is for all of us. We have come a long way so far, from our Healthy Downey 5K Walk for TLC, to Bike to School Day, Walk to School Day, to Healthy Downey Walk Against Crime Day, a Healthy Downey emphasis at every Downey event, Kids Day, Shop with a Nutritionist (thanks to Kaiser, YMCA and Albertsons ), our Bike Master Plan, Parks Master Plan, my Mayor's Walking Wednesdays, education in doctors offices, afterschool programming with our YMCA and DUSD (grant from Coke ), and many informational tools distributed on the Healthy Downey Facebook page and website, we have made an impact in our City. Most importantly, we made an impact on our youth.

I continue to weigh in (thanks to Applecare Medical for donating the scale at City Hall ) at every council meeting and I am proud to say I am now 78 lbs. lighter than I was when I was first started back in December. I've never felt any better and it has changed the quality of my life. Thanks to our Healthy Downey Partners for making this a reality and changing our city, one child, one person at a time. Please see a full list of Healthy Downey Partners on our website.

Don't miss out on some great City events coming up. The "Dia De Los Muertos" festival is this Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Downey Civic Theatre. Enjoy great food, music, dancing, an assortment of merchandise, and art exhibits by local artists. Event runs from 11am-8pm so come on by for a great time.

Also at the Downey Civic Theatre, but on Nov. 10, Tito Puente, Jr. along with the Pacific Mambo Orchestra will be performing to the sound of Latin hits from the 40's through the 60's. It's definitely a show you won't want to miss!

Veterans Day is just around the corner. Join us on Monday, Nov. 11 at 10 am as we honor and pay tribute to our beloved Veterans. The ceremony will take place right outside City Hall, next to our Downey Veterans Memorial.

My continued prayers and wishes for you and your families. Thank you for all you do for our great City and I urge you to continue to be involved. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. You may reach me on my personal cell number at (562) 706-4114, my City Hall number (562) 904-7274 or email me at

All my best, God bless. Mayor Mario A. Guerra

********** Published: Oct. 31, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 29