Saturday, February 29, 2020

La MIrada News Briefs Feb 29, 2020:

Otero adds endorsements as Election Day nears

La Mirada City Council District 5 candidate Anthony Otero has received the endorsement of John Ojeisekhoba, the Chief of the Biola University Campus Safety unit.

Chief Ojeisekhoba is considered to be an expert in the campus policing community across the country and has received a number of awards and honors for his achievements.  

Biola officers have and full peace officer status while on duty by way of a standing agreement with the Sheriff's Department which outlines the scope of their duties and training officers must possess.

Otero announced also announced on Friday that he has received the endorsement of Public Safety Commission member Narcis Brasov.

Election Notes

Biola University's Chimes newspaper has taken an interest in local council district races and has published the responses to just two questions that were sent to each candidate.

The questions were a) What qualifies you to become a city councilmember? and b) How will you impact the Biola community?

The responses from five of the seven candidates that responded can be found on the Chimes website

Noel Jaimes, also a candidate for the District 5 seat was on hand last Saturday at La Mirada Library which opened one of the early Vote Centers that morning and where KFI 640 AM was giving away prizes and doing live cut-in to mark the occasion.
From Instagram/John Accornero

In District 3 challenger John Accornero a real estate agent is conceding nothing yet and was seen earlier in the week at La Mirada Blvd. and Rosecrans Av. actively campaigning.  Accornero is seeking to upset incumbent Ed Eng who is looking for a second term.

Courtesy a LMNews reader

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Endorsements for La Mirada City Council

When looking at which candidate is best suited to serve on the city council, La Mirada Newsbeat considered several factors in making that selection.

The candidate should be engaged with the community and be knowledgeable of issues and concerns they have and be able to define either a current or proposed course of action to deal with it. 

Just as important is determining the candidate that is best able to perform the day-to-day work of the council which includes sound decision making, the skill of diplomacy and the ability to listen, to work as a team player, will represent the city in a positive manner in the eyes of the public as well as with other elected officials and government agencies and much more.

The experience an incumbent possesses along with their track record of performance holds a tremendous value that must be weighed carefully against the knowledge, education, and experience a challenger offers or in the case of District 5 what each candidate has on their resume. 

In District 5 an open seat there are three newcomers vying for the seat.  The candidacy of Matthew Morse, a planning commissioner is problematic due to a lack of experience, knowledge of the city and its issues and a refusal to correct false statements.

Morse is running on a platform that is almost a carbon copy of that of District 4 candidate Jackie Fowler making several false claims that depict the city and current city council in a negative light. 

When presented with facts that refute his accusations it is troubling that Morse refuses to recant and correct the allegation he makes that the city was responsible for nearly ending a youth soccer program season of play last fall. 

A statement that the city receives zero revenue from all the warehouses that are tearing up city streets with their trucks could not be farther from the truth. 

The city generates more per capita from the 1% sales tax the state returns to local cities than Fullerton, La Habra, Whittier and Norwalk receive.  That is directly attributable to the industrial section of the city where 22 of the 25 highest sales tax-generating businesses in the city are located. Warehouses are keeping the lights on at City Hall, Behringer Park and more.

Also contending for the District 5 seat is Noel Jaimes, a man who has has been involved in the community for many years who is running on a platform of 'institutional knowledge'. Jaimes is a fine ambassador and promoter of the city as a director on the La Mirada Chamber of Commerce but he falls short his message falls short when compared to the vision and experience Anthony Otero offers.

Otero is a police lieutenant with a major Southland police agency with an educational background that has placed him in that operations unit that directs the field operations of a department that fields hundreds of officers at one time as well as implements and directs its new anti-crime initiatives.

The stack of endorsements Otero has received is impressive and says a lot about what other leaders think of his qualifications for public office.

Otero has been involved in youth programs in the community including sports and currently as a Scoutmaster and can be seen attending community events. 

His work experience and associated achievements, education, and mentoring youth suggest strong leadership skills, the ability to get things done, and someone who can be counted on to step up and lead in times of trouble or tragedy.

La Mirada Newsbeat endorses Anthony Otero's candidacy.

In District 3 incumbent Ed Eng is seeking a second term is running against challenger John Accornero a local real estate agent.

Acconero is an enthusiastic and likable man but lacks experience in city government. John Accornero is encouraged to focus his enthusiasm on a number of opportunities for community service that has been the pathway to elected office for so many others.

Ed Eng receives the endorsement from La Mirada Newsbeat in District 3.  

Preparing our youth to succeed as adults in a changing world through education is important to Mr. Eng who knows firsthand the value education played in allowing him to escape poverty and become the man he is today.

Ed Eng wants to expand opportunities for local youth by bringing a center of technology that will house both educational facilities and corporations that market technology in one place. La Mirada Newsbeat supports this vision 100%.

In District 4 two are running for the seat including incumbent Steve De Ruse and challenger Jackie Fowler.

De Ruse brings to the community several decades of service to the community, two-terms of leadership and knowledge, and a level of integrity and honesty that should serve as an example to others seeking public office.

Mayor De Ruse played a very important part in guiding the city through some of the dark days of tough budgeting in the fallout of one of the worst recessions experienced in this country since the Great Depression.

Both De Ruse and Eng should be applauded for successfully crafting a budget with a general fund surplus of more than $3 million while each of our neighbors is making cuts, raiding earmarked savings and cutting positions. 

Lacking any stated community involvement Jackie Fowler and daughter Krystal's antics in recent weeks, and a compromised platform make the District 4  endorsement an easy one.

La Mirada Newsbeat endorses Steve De Ruse in his bid for a third term on March 3rd.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Anthony Otero to hold 'Cop at a Doughnut Shop' meet-and-greet Saturday

District 5 Candidate Anthony Otero, in the middle
at his first 'Cop at a Doughnut Shop Jan. 4

La Mirada- 
With Election Day only a week away, District 5 candidate Anthony Otero is inviting the community to drop by AK Donuts located in the Home Depot Center on Saturday morning for some conversation over a cup of coffee and a doughnut.

Cleverly called 'Cop at a Doughnut Shop Take II', after a successful first meet-and-greet Jan. 4 at K & T Donuts in the Ross Dress for Less center that drew overwhelmingly positive reviews for Otero, a police lieutenant.

Saturday's upcoming event is being held at AK Donuts at 15017 Imperial Hwy. in the Home Depot Center from 6am to 9 am.

After Saturday's 'Cop at a Doughnut Shop' event, Otero will be out walking and talking to residents in the district both Saturday and Sunday in a final push as the March 3rd Election Day fast approaches.

For more information on Otero's upcoming events and candidacy click on the following link: .

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Early voting begins at three La Mirada vote centers

About 200 early voting centers opened this morning across the county including three in La Mirada allowing voters more options to cast ballots than ever before. 

Changes within the Registrar's office will no longer require voters to go to an assigned polling location on Election Day. Los Angeles County voters can now go to any vote center anywhere in the county from now thru Election Day on March 3rd at a day and time that is convenient to them.

The number of voting centers will expand to about 1,000 locations on Feb. 29.  During the last general election, there were 4,200 polling locations across the county.

Hours at Voting Centers: Feb 22- March 2, 8am-5 pm daily and 7am - 8pm on Election Day.

Vote Centers Opening February 22

La Mirada City Hall, 13700 La Mirada Bl Rooms A & B  

La Mirada Library, 13800 La Mirada Bl. Meeting Room

Neff Park Barn, 14300 San Cristobal Dr. Barn Hall

Liberty Comunity Plaza, 14181 Telegraph Rd. Constitutional Hall

East Whittier United Methodist Church  10005 Cole Rd.
(Two blocks south of Whittier Bl.)

Below are the additional vote centers that open Feb. 29 near La Mirada. The will be no additional centers in the city proper.

El Camino High School  14625 Keese Dr. Multi-purpose Room
(Off Springview Dr just south of Telegraph Rd.)

South Whittier Library, 11543 Colima Rd. Meeting Room

Orchard Dale Elementary School, 10625 Cole Rd. Banquet Hall
(Cross street Mulberry Dr 1/4 mile east of La Mirada Bl.)

Whittwood Library, 10537 Santa Gertrudes Av. 
(Between Whittier Bl and Lambert Rd.)

The offices of the Registrar at 12400 Imperial Hwy in Norwalk will have extended hours the night before Election Day, remaining open until midnight.

For further information:

Friday, February 21, 2020

La Mirada Political News Update Part 2- A councilman calls for a resignation and more from Krystal

Part I can be viewed at the following link:

Krystal Part Deux

It would have been hard to predict ahead of time that the daughter of a little known candidate for city council would be the trigger that unleashed all the hostility at last week's council session 

La Mirada News has learned that Krystal Fowler, the daughter of District 4 candidate Jackie Fowler who apparently lives under the same roof attended the meet-and-greet for incumbent Mayor Steve De Ruse using her married name Smith is seen as a poor attempt to mask her identity.  

The Fowler's live on the same block less than 1,000 feet from where the De Ruse event was held so Fowler and her children were quickly identified by some in attendance.

The day before last week's city council meeting, Krystal Fowler appeared on NextDoor stating she had not misrepresented who she was by telling others at Mayor Steve De Ruse's campaign event her last name was Smith because it is her married name that she currently uses and she has not used Fowler in 12 years.

Evidence to the contrary rests in the fact that she is registered on NextDoor and presented herself during the city council session as Krystal Fowler and the name in her professional role as Assistant Director at Empty Nest, the pre-school owned by her mother, Jackie Fowler. 

In a civil online exchange with the Misty Cota chairperson of the city's Community Services Commission, Krystal Fowler stated the reason she went to Mayor Steve De Ruse's campaign event was to learn more about De Ruse for herself and not take the word others.

The younger Fowler has not denied or offered any reason or explanation for allegedly causing a disruption at the De Ruse meet-and-greet or offered any details about her statement that she was forced to pose for a photo at the event.

Krystal Fowler has also failed to explain why she used the word 'violence' when describing the exchange after the candidate's forum at La Mirada High School on Feb. 3rd. Witnesses to the clash tell La Mirada NewsBeat that it was entirely verbal and no threats were made.

Community rallies in support of Misty Cota

Councilmember Andrew Sarega who has stayed below the radar for most of his second term following a first term that saw regular clashes with the rest of the council has returned to old form last week by first taking aim at the mayor the at a city commission member,

Sarega did not mention the mayor by name but it was quite clear who he was lecturing on the need as elected officials to have a thick skin and public speakers (his father) should have been allowed to speak and not muzzled because the line he considered to be unacceptable in society had not been crossed.

Sarega then went on to call for the resignation of Misty Cota, a city Community Services Commission member for allegedly using her position "to put out information disparaging" towards him. He called the alleged remark that he did not belong on the council disturbing since he was elected by the voters.

Sarega did not provide any information about how and to whom the comments by Cota were made.

It appears Sarega's rant may have had the effect of solidifying support for and raising the visibility that Cota enjoys in the community according to comments made by several elected officials and by supporters on social media,

After seeing the rally of support Cota drew from the community, District 3 candidate John Accornero commented on NextDoor "maybe it's a good thing Andrew never endorsed me."  

In addition to serving on the Community Services Commission, Cota donates countless hours volunteering on local organizations including the La Mirada Ebell and can be seen either attending or lending a hand at most every community event and fundraiser.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

La Mirada Political News: A meltdown at City Hall ends council meeting

La Mirada- During the seven years Andrew Sarega has held a seat on the La Mirada City Council he has been the center of discord on a number of occasions.

Despite the lingering resentments between Sarega and others on the council past and present many were caught off guard by the prolonged hostility directed at Mayor Steve De Ruse at last week's council meeting. 

It is generally accepted among those that follow the local political scene that council candidate Jackie Fowler who is running against Mayor De Ruse in the 4th council district and Matthew Morse who is running against two other candidates in District 5 are proxies in an attempt by Andrew Sarega and his father Ion 'John' Sarega to capture control by controlling three seats.

Morse was appointed to a seat on the Planning Commission last year after Sarega recommended him for consideration. Each council member is afforded one selection each to fill spots on city commissions.

Last week's outbreak of emotions is rooted in the appearance and conduct of Krystal Fowler, the daughter of Jackie Fowler, at the meet-and-greet for Mayor Steve De Ruse at the home of a supporter on Jan. 16.

In this photo taken at the De Ruse campaign event Krystal
Fowler can be seen in the front row extreme left smiling

Several people that attended the event support the claim by the mayor that Krystal Fowler with her children in tow was disruptive at the event. She is alleged to have listened to the mayor address people attending the event for a short time then began to challenge statements the mayor was making.

Krystal Fowler has not explained why she was at a campaign event in support of the man her mother was attempting to unseat and has not denied creating a disruption. Krystal Fowler will only say she was 'forced' to pose a group photo that those in attendance gathered to take and can be seen smiling in the photo.

Fast forward two and a half weeks to Feb. 4th to the conclusion of the final candidate's forum at La Mirada High School.  

After the event, a member of Mayor De Ruse's family was seen having a cordial conversation with Jackie Fowler that turned heated as soon as Jackie's daughter, Krystal became involved. 

 An unnamed source tells La Mirada News that shortly after the incident involving the Fowler's the same member of the De Ruse family was confronted in the La Mirada High School parking lot by John and Andrew Sarega.

Both Fowler's claim they were approached again a short time later by two men as they were leaving the meeting room that the forum had been held at the high school. Both confrontations were verbal and no threats or any other crime was said to have occurred. The identities of the two men were not given publicly if they were known.

Last week at the Feb. 10 city council session the elder Sarega appeared with Jackie and Krystal Fowler appearing intent on shaming the mayor for the disagreements the previous week.

Sarega was blocked from an attempt to criticize the mayor for an argument he had with a member of the mayor's family before the meeting began because it did not involve anyone on the council and verbal conflict was not under the jurisdiction of the city council.

Mayor De Ruse further stated he was not even present when either the Feb 4th or last week's conflict occurred, he also said he had no way of knowing the incidents were to take place.

The mayor allowed both Jackie Fowler and daughter Krystal more leeway with Jackie Fowler stating the 'verbal attacks' made them afraid. La Mirada News has received comments from unnamed residents stating the Fowler's have not taken responsibility for beginning the controversy in the first place at the De Ruse campaign event and failing to offer any explanation should be viewed as a huge 'red flag' surrounding core principles that should be seen in elected officials including truth, honesty, accountability, and credibility.

Decorum in council chambers experienced a meltdown as the mayor told those in attendance that "personal attacks have no place in here".  

As De Ruse explained he chose not to engage in public mudslinging after Krystal Fowler crashed his meet-and-greet, John Sarega, and both Fowler's began yelling at the mayor. 

Ion Sarega was furious that he had been told earlier he could not engage in personal attacks and started shouting at the mayor from behind the audience just inside the council chambers resulting in his ejection from the meeting.

Meanwhile, both candidate Fowler and her daughter continued yelling at the mayor angered he brought up Krystal's behavior at his campaign event offering that they (Krystal and Jackie Fowler)  never called out the mayor or his family by name even though it was clearly worded leaving no question who their target for criticism was.

After John Sarega was ejected, candidate Jacke Fowler and daughter Krista continued almost non-stop yelling at the mayor also from behind the audience refusing to allow Mr. De Ruse to speak free of interruption as he attempted to offer a public explanation through the commotion and yelling the mother and daughter were also doing from behind the audience.  

Once it became obvious the yelling was not going to end and not wanting to escalate emotions any further the meeting was hastily adjourned.  

The final swing of the gavel was hardly noticeable over the shouting from the pair.

Coming Wednesday and later in the week Part II - and Part III Including:

Andrew Sarega slings a little mud of his own
A look at the path to last week's meltdown
A look at some notable  positions seen in the candidate platforms
Candidate endorsements are in
City Council actions (Yes there is still business to attend to by the council)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Man that shot dog to death on a La Mirada street sentenced to State Prison

A Lakewood Man has pleaded no contest to charges in the shooting death of a dog in the industrial section of La Mirada last month.

Shane Michael Dubyak, 25, entered the plea to a charge of cruelty to an animal and to a second charge of using a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Dubyak who had been on AB-109 supervised community release was sentenced immediately to a five-year prison term.

The January 5th incident was captured on surveillance video that shocked many in the community. That video showed an SUV pull to a stop in the 16400 block of Phoebe Ave and then moments later Dubyak is seen placing the fifteen-year-old terrier that he had been caring for in the street and then firing the deadly shots.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Ranting man brings traffic to a standstill at a La Mirada intersection

Editor's Note: The release of this post was delayed due to a production issue.

La Mirada-

A man thought to be having some sort of mental crisis or reaction to drug use brought traffic to a standstill Saturday afternoon at a busy La Mirada intersection. 

Norwalk and La Mirada Sheriff's Stations began receiving multiple calls about a man that was walking in traffic and throwing items at passing traffic on Santa Gertrudes Av and Ashgrove Dr at 2:16 p.m 

Before going in traffic the man damaged a parkway tree throwing parts of it in the roadway,

Arriving shortly after the call was dispatched this writer observed that traffic on Santa Gertrudes Av was at a complete standstill as a shirtless man ranted and approached motorists stopped in their cars trying to avoid the disturbed man as he walked northbound in the middle of the roadway.

As the raging man approached the intersection with Rosecrans Av a lone deputy arrived on the scene and seeing the man was at an elevated level of crisis requested immediate help from other deputies. 

The response to this emergency call for help would be complicated by another emergency call that came in at the same time involving a gun at Biola Av and Rosecrans Av. More on this below.

The lone deputy was joined by a number of men that looked like they could take care of business and they quickly joined in an effort to contain the ranting man who was darting all around the intersection. I would later learn the men that stopped to help were off-duty peace officers.

The man took off running as back-up deputies arrived and the man was taken down without further incident at the driveway to Temple Beth Ohr.

Just six minutes into the above incident 911 dispatchers received another emergency call that a male in a gray Hyundai Genesis sedan pointed a gun at them while driving at the intersection of Biola Av and Rosecrans Av

Initially, deputies were unable to locate the armed man but there is workable information available for detectives to conduct an investigation.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Part 2- City Council Elections: Where do the candidates stand on the issues

This second part is still under revision and is currently posted to allow early voters timely access to the information within.

Youth Sports 

Candidates were asked for their positions on youth competitive sports versus recreational sports and why. 
(Editor's note: The following link provides a good rundown of what the two types of sports leagues are:

Councilmember Eng said players in both types benefit by building character and learning teamwork but thinks playing time at city sports facilities should go to La Mirada kids first playing in recreational leagues.  Mr. Eng went on to say any fields still available after the needs of local recreational leagues are satisfied should then be made available to competitive leagues.  

(Editor's note: Fields used for competitive games would have a far fewer number of local youth on the fields which include visiting teams.)

Eng emphasized that having youth focused on education was most important because the chances of advancing to a professional league were small.

Mayor Steve De Ruse said he supports both types of sports play noting that players in youth leagues are developing communication skills, teamwork, and other necessary fundamentals. 

The mayor said most of the time on city fields would be for recreational players but supports making room for competitive sports noting the kids should be out there growing and learning and "they are not out there to become the next Michael Jordan".

District 5 candidate Anthony Otero told the audience that as a father of three that had played in both recreational and competitive sports he sees value in both types.

Otero would support equity for both types of play and the city should seek new venues and explore field sharing agreements with the county in order to accommodate everyone.

Also running for the District 5 seat Matt Morse who sits on the Planning Commission is the director of coaching at AC Brea Soccer Club, featuring both recreational and competitive programs and owns two-sports related businesses.

Morse channeled his remarks exclusively towards youth soccer said the city is utilizing policies that were established several decades ago that do not reflect the sport today. He wants to make changes that allow competitive soccer to be introduced in La Mirada.

Noel Jaimes thinks both types of leagues belong in the city and would support studying the issue of playing fields available to for use by competitive sports teams and proceed if the costs were reasonable, Jaimes did note he thinks the same character-building values are learned with recreation play as in competitive.

John Accornero supports finding a way for both types of teams to play in the city.

Preparing youth for success

Candidates were asked what are your ideas to help future generations rise in the community?

Mayor De Ruse said it was important to listen to the next generation getting to know what they are about and what interests them in order to better communicate with them so they can learn and be mentored to lead society in the future.

Anthony Otero has been a scout leader for the past decade and has seen many young people grow and develop in this program. He would like to see more youth organizations in the city and says the city can help by creating a safe environment. Otero said it is important for adults to listen to the next generation and be there for them.

Matthew Morse took an unexpected approach to this question by attacking the city, calling the city 'not forward-thinking" for having what he termed a "zero tolerance" by not allowing competitive sports. 

Morse went on to say the city has a lot of pride in its sports teams and thinks competitive sports will add to that pride. He will work to gain access to fields at Regional Park in order to allow expanded opportunities for "club" (competitive) sports and mentioned the city does not have a skatepark.

Noel Jaimes said he felt that the city should embrace the next generation in the same manner the chamber does a new business, by embracing them.

John Accornero commented that future generations' biggest hurdle will be to afford a home in La Mirada. He wants to expand social offerings such as a skatepark.

Councilmember Ed Eng told the audience "the future is about two things, youth, and technology".  Eng is already looking forward and with his wife, Cathy a teacher established the Ed and Cathy Eng Community Foundation in 2017 that awards scholarships and helps fund community programs. 

Eng also shared an ambitious plan he has to establish a technology center of learning to provide job training for middle and high school students as well as bring in tech companies to develop communication infrastructure for the future.

Closing remarks

Mr Morse said he would stay the current course with financial issues and public safety and says if elected he would first call his opponent Anthony Otero, a police lieutenant with a major policing agency to tap his expertise. 

Morse said he would approach decisions and craft agenda in a forward-looking manner that emphasizes building a future for local youth. He also stated that there is a lot of land dedicated to a large number of tennis courts and devoted to the disc golf at the county regional park the should be used to expand the number of fields available for club (competitive) sports.

Noel Jaimes explained it is the 'institutional knowledge' about the city he has acquired over a period of 45 years combined with a love he has for La Mirada has inspired him to go to serve on the city council.

Councilmember Ed Eng told the audience that he has a solid track record and pointed to all the accolades the city has received for community safety, maintaining a business climate that has fostered economic development leading to being selected as the most business-friendly city in the county. 

Mr. Eng closed by recalling a promise he made in 2015 that he delivered on telling voters at the time "trust me, I will deliver." He again asked voters for that same trust that he will deliver for four more years.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

City Council Election: Part 1 Where do the candidates stand on the issues

As 'Vote by Mail' ballots are just beginning to hit local mailboxes, this first of a two-part series will highlight some of the positions each candidate for city council has taken on key local issues during a recent public forum.

Public Safety

Public safety is a shared responsibility between law enforcement and the community according to Anthony Otero, a police lieutenant with a major agency in the region. Otero presented his three-part Public Safety Initiative to further reduce crime in the city.

Using the latest technology, Otero's safe parks initiative would deploy tools such as motion sensor-controlled lighting to assist deputies on foot beats addressing crime and nuisances in local parks. He proposes forming an all-volunteer mounted patrol to assist in this initiative using Creek Park first to pilot the initiative before expanding it to other parks.

Technology would play an important part in his safe streets initiative using automatic license plate readers and cameras on routes into and out of the city making it possible to go back in time to identify and apprehend criminals that are coming from outside the city to conduct business.  This same technology could be deployed in neighborhoods if residents agreed as a group that its use would help address a local issue.

Matthew Morse acknowledged that the city is experiencing falling crime rates and would like to see neighbors get together to form groups and watch out for each other.

Noel Jaimes feels the city is well patrolled by deputies augmented by city Public Safety Officers and has excellent response times to calls for service.

District #3 candidate John Accornero told the audience that he feels public safety is very important and had recently toured both the La Mirada Sheriff's Station and Fire Station 49 to find out what he could do as a city councilperson to allow them to do their job better. He failed to reveal the results from his fact-finding mission.

Councilmember Ed Eng touts La Mirada's low crime rate as evidence the city is on the right path despite the challenges presented by AB 109, AB 47, and AB 57. The three measures shifted non-violent offenders away from prisons to county jails and community release, reduced some felonies to misdemeanors resulting in a surge in crime rates across the state. 

Eng credits this success to relationships city staff, community members and its leaders have built with the Sheriff's Department which recently reported that crime rates in areas patrolled by Norwalk Sheriff's Station are at a 30-year low.

Eng also explained more resources have been shifted to allow deputies to conduct more investigations. 

(Editor's Note: La Mirada's special problems unit (SAO deputies) have made numerous drug busts over the past year that have helped cause disruptions in local supply chains.)

Mayor Steve De Ruse said the current deployment of deputies and other Sheriff's Department resources has allowed a pro-active approach to policing that is getting results. He pledged to continue to provide deputies with the tools and resources needed to get the job done,

Calling public safety his first priority, De Ruse told the audience that "if you don't feel safe in your home, nothing else means anything".

Homeless encampments

The candidates were asked what proactive actions would each take to stop the establishment of homeless camps in the city.

Matthew Morse was first up to answer this question and admitted he was not very familiar with this issue or current city policy and would seek help from advisors and seek counsel for assistance. Morse noted that the participants in the recent annual homeless count tallied 33 homeless individuals found living in the city. He was undecided if the city should provide service since doing so may attract more homeless to La Mirada.

Noel Jaimes would offer to help the Whittier Union High School District with a proposal currently under study to use part of the Sierra High School campus as a shelter as one way to keep camps from popping up in La Mirada.

Anthony Otero told the audience that arrests will not solve the problem and dealing with it is a shared responsibility between public, private and religious organizations. Otero further stated that agencies with the resources to help the homeless should have primary responsibility leading the effort and not law enforcement.

Otero referred to a state law allowing a caretaker to be appointed for those with mental illness and views the law as a way for the state might become caretakers of individuals as a way to get them the help they need.

John Accornero has staked out a controversial position by proposing the city look into establishing a homeless shelter at a shuttered warehouse that sites on the southeast corner of Alondra Blvd. and Valley View Av.

(Editor's Note: The property at 15910- 15912 Valley View Ave sold for just over $21 million in 2017 and is a 210,000 square foot warehouse on close to seven acres)

Councilmember Ed Eng says the city has been dealing with the homeless issue in a proactive manner which includes enforcement with current laws and codes already on the books. Eng said the results of that effort can be seen by the recent homeless count tally now stands at 33, down from the 60 counted two years ago. 

Mr. Eng, Executive Director of a county commission that acts as independent advisors to the county Board of Supervisors said he is opposed to a proposal to mandate shelter housing in local communities.

Mayor De Ruse spoke about the need to determine why a person is homeless and determine what kind of help that person needs such as with substance abuse or mental illness and then find them the resources that they need. 

The mayor reminded everyone that a humanitarian approach is called for as homeless individuals are human too.

Local taxation

In District 5 candidate Anthony Otero stated adamantly he would vote against any attempt to impose a new local tax on La Mirada homeowners. 

Also stating he would not vote for such a proposal Councilmember Ed Eng says the city has built up a general fund reserve that is 130% of the amount that is budgeted to be spent from that account allowing the city to ride out any downfall that might occur in the economy.

To further emphasize his point that city finances were in excellent shape he held as proof a recent report from the state auditor that said La Mirada's financial stability was rated as being the 11th best in a state with over 400 cities. 

Eng attributed that stability to a longtime philosophy of fiscal conservatism and being financially prudent.

Mayor De Ruse, John Accornero, Matthew Morse, and Noel Jaimes also stated they would oppose any new taxes on homeowners with the mayor adding it would not be necessary because the city is well-run.

Up Next: Part 2 on Saturday

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Two more candidate forums remain as voting by mail date approaches

La Mirada-  Even though more than a month remains until Election Day, the County Registrar-Recorder will begin sending out mail-in ballots on Monday and candidate forums during the next week could be instrumental deciding at least one local contest. 

The first forum tonight at 'Church of the Redeemer' at 15151 Cordova Drive begins at 7 pm and will feature candidates from the 5th District.

Tonight, Police Lieutenant Anthony Otero and Real Estate Broker Noel Jaimes will discuss their campaign platforms and will answer questions presented by a moderator, The third candidate in this contest, Matthew Morse has informed organizers he is unable to attend due to a family obligation.

What is expected to be the third and final forum of the year will be held on Tuesday at La Mirada High School at 6:30 pm and all candidates have been invited

4th District candidate Jackie Fowler who passed on the first forum is also rumored as not responding to an invitation to attend the Tuesday forum. 

About 75 people attended the first forum last week at the La Mirada Activity Center where the key topics centered on the local economy, leadership, and public safety including homeless issues.  

On Sunday: A complete recap of the topics of discussion at last week's forum will be posted.