MARIO GUERRA’S TOWN HALL MEETING ANOTHER “HE SAID-HE SAID” AFFAIRBy Greater Long Beach
Downey Councilmember Mario Guerra’s annual town hall meeting Wednesday drew a crowd that packed the auditorium inside the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center, and anybody who was anticipating an evening of loquaciousness and pugnaciousness was not disappointed. Guerra, who loves to talk, did.
Guerra said crime in Downey is down 15 percent almost across the board—including motor vehicle thefts—the exception being a three percent increase in aggravated assaults.
Guerra said sales tax revenue is projected to be up 9.3 percent over last year. Guerra said City Hall’s economic health has improved to the point that city workers will take only six furlough days instead of the eight they had originally agreed to.
Guerra said a downtown affordable housing apartment project known as The View—its tenants targeted to be families earning between $25,000 and $67,000 annually—will be “the nicest apartment building in Downey.”
Guerra said that Tierra Luna, the $400 million retail project replacing Downey Studios, will have high-end retailers and restaurants along the lines of PF Changs and Yardhouse and, when complete, will be “160 acres of great stuff.”
Guerra said he endorses a community health initiative introduced by Councilman Fernando Vasquez earlier this year. Guerra also said he’s interested in community walks, with a citywide goal of walking 1 million miles in 2013.
Guerra said he is in favor of Downey continuing to have its own fire department, and described attempts to disband it and go with LA County services as “a coup.” Guerra said any potential savings from contracting with L.A. County Fire would be negated by a reduction in service, using the Downey Police Department and Norwalk’s Sheriff’s Station as examples. Guerra said, ”Norwalk pays $11 million for its sheriff’s contract, we pay $29 million for our police department. Norwalk is a fine city, but folks, you get what you pay for.”
Guerra said homelessness remains a problem in Downey, citing a recent survey that revealed there are 84 homeless students in Downey—including 14 at Downey High and 12 at Warren High. Guerra said, “We have an obligation to do something, but I don’t know what the answer is.”
Guerra revealed more information, including that In-N-Out “is very interested in expanding in our city” and that the Beach’s Market and Sambi’s restaurant properties are in escrow.Downey Nissan is outperforming the Nissan dealership in Cerritos, Guerra said, and Honda World Downey is among the top Honda dealerships in the country. One issue without an easy answer is homelessness in Downey.