Saturday, April 18, 2020

City council news: John Lewis chosen Mayor, Anthony Otero sworn into office

In a city where council meetings are usually quiet, low-key affairs where city staff will often outnumber those there to watch, it was still eerily strange seeing no more than six persons in council chambers at the meeting Tuesday night's city council meeting.

On the dais were Mayor Steve De Ruse and Larry Mowles adhering to social distancing protocol as were the few city staff members that were on hand. Attending by virtue of teleconferencing were councilmembers John Lewis, Ed Eng, and Andrew Sarega.

The council voted 5-0 to extend the current closure of city facilities to access by the public to coincide with the date that the current 'stay at home' order issued by county public health authorities is rescinded. The order will remain in place until at least May 15. Public parks remain open for passive use such as exercise and there remains a ban on gatherings of any kind.

Absent the self-distancing currently in effect to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus there would have been an overflow crowd on hand considering longtime councilmember Larry Mowles was attending his final meeting after nine years in office, a new councilmember was to be sworn-in and a new mayor would be chosen.

A new mayor and a new member is sworn-in

After city business was handled a new member of the council was sworn-in. Anthony Otero, a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department was sworn-in as the newest member of the city council. Mr. Otero represents District #5 in the north and central areas of the city.

Also receiving the oath of office were Ed Eng, returning for a second term, and Steve De Ruse for his third term.

John Lewis, entering his third year on the council was elected the new mayor for the next year and Ed Eng will be the Mayor Pro-Tem.

Lewis released a statement after being selected to serve as mayor as follows: 

It is an honor and a privilege to be selected by my colleagues as the Mayor of this great city to serve during these challenging times we are facing. The current Covid-19 crisis has revealed the spirit of La Mirada by bringing out the best in all of us by helping our neighbors in this community. I have seen numerous individuals, churches, and local businesses step-up to the plate and help out other residents in this community. This is the spirit of La Mirada! Let’s keep it going all year long. Let’s also continue to visit our local restaurants for drive-thru and take out to make sure we have a strong economy when this pandemic is over… so lets #ShopLaMirada #DineinLaMirada and Stay La Mirada Strong.
Ceremonies to mark the occasion of Mr. Mowles' departure as well as to mark the election results and nice selection of Mr. Lewis as mayor will be held at a later date.  

Other agenda items

The city approved going forward with a traffic congestion relief project with the city of Santa Fe Springs that will see improvements at two intersections at Valley ViewAve. and Rosecrans Ave. and Valley View Ave and Alondra Bl.

The project creates new turn lanes, traffic signal upgrades, modifications to center medians and lane restriping.

The city of La Mirada is acquiring parts of two parcels including land needed at Pep Boys and from a warehouse at 15910 Valley View Ave.

The city of Santa Fe Springs is the lead agency on the project which is being funded by Metro Measure R funds.

Mayor John Lewis was to administer the Oath of Office to his son Zurich Lewis on Thursday after he passed his bar exam recently.  A provision within the state Government Code allows a mayor to perform the function that is mandatory as lawyers are deemed officers of the court before they can begin practicing law.

Zurich, in his second term as a trustee at Cerritos College, graduated from Trinity Law School in Santa Ana and will be working alongside his father at the Law Office of Lewis & Lewis which is based here in La Mirada.

Notes: The city continues to provide street sweeping services during the current COVID-19 pandemic but has suspended writing parking citations for street sweeping day violations.

There were no public comments submitted by email or delivered by phone to the city council.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

City council meeting to be held with a little help from Zoom

La Mirada-
The city council will test uncharted waters when it conducts its first meeting tonight via teleconference in order to comply with COVID-19 social-distancing requirements while allowing public participation in several new ways.

Tonight's meeting which begins at 6:30 pm can be viewed live on the city website will be the first meeting ever carried live.

Mayor Steve De Ruse will conduct the meeting from a room at City Hall with just a few staff members in the same room I have been assured will be social-distancing with the others on the council as well as councilmember-elect Anthony Otero participating remotely via Zoom.

Anyone wishing to make comments to the council can do so by joining the meeting by accessing it online on Zoom or by phone. Information for joining the meeting is provided below.

The city is providing access that exceeds the requirement in the order on March 4 by Gov. Newsom that required access be provided by phone only.

Tonight will be councilmember Larry Mowles' final meeting. Mowles did not seek a third term on the council.

Anthony Otero will be sworn into office to begin his first term representing District 5 tonight as will  SteveDe Ruse and Ed Eng who were re-elected to new four-year terms last month. All three will be sworn-in remotely.

A ceremony will be held at a later date to honor the outgoing Mowles' as well as newcomer Otero as well as the returning De Ruse and Eng.

Current Mayor pro-tem John Lewis is expected to be chosen by his peers to be mayor over the upcoming year. Traditionally the mayor pro-tem becomes mayor the following year. 

On the agenda, a vote will be taken that will extend the emergency declaration that has closed city facilities to the public access to remain in effect until county health officials lift the 'stay at home' order currently in effect across the county.

The council will consider the acquisition of property that is needed to move ahead with two traffic congestion relief projects at Alondra Bl. and Valley View Av and Rosecrans Av. and Valley View Av. that will allow turn lanes to be added. The city of Santa Fe Springs is leading the project that is funded by Metro sales tax funds.

The following instructions were provided to allow the public to make commas during the meeting by either zoom streaming video or by phone.

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device: (Password 055970)

Join by phone:  1-720-707-2699 (Webinar ID: 764 589 845; Password:  055970)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Local COVID-19 news update 04/10/2020

 April 10, 2020, Updated 1:58 pm

La Mirada- City officials are urging residents to continue exercising social distancing while using city parks which remain open for exercising and other passive activities to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

City parks are still receiving regular maintenance and have seen a sharp increase in the number of users including entire family units despite activities being limited to passive ones.

Playground equipment and park restrooms are not open for use.

County-owned Regional Park also remains open to only passive activities just as at city parks with baseball fields, tennis courts, disc golf course, and park restrooms remaining off-limits until further notice.

Regional park, as well as other parks operated by the county including Adventure Park and Mayberry Park in South Whittier, will be closed Easter Sunday in an effort to enhance the social distancing push that is showing success at minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak,  The Surgeon General announced this morning that social distancing is reducing the spread from one infected person from over five new infections to 1.5.

The county golf course remains closed.

City Hall, Resource Center and other city facilities including Splash! will remain closed to public access until at least mid-April

Extending the closures will likely be on the city council agenda on April 14. 

The city has suspended issuing parking citations for street sweeping day violations but asks that those that can park off the road do so. 

The city continues to provide core services including graffiti removal, building inspections, and transit services (Dial-a-Ride).

City Hall is closed to public access but will continue to process building permits, project reviews, and business licenses through its website

All city commission and committee meetings have been canceled.

More COVID-19 related news 


On April 6 the district announced it will shutter campuses for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. The district will continue to educate students through what it terms 'distance learning' through the rest of the school year ending June 2nd.

Instruction will resume after spring break which begins today (April 10) and runs through the 17th.

The district will continue to offer take-home meals of five breakfast and lunch meals for youths aged 1 - 18 through two distribution locations once a week.

The distributions are each Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm, and are available each week while supplies last, at Los Coyotes Middle School, 14640 Mercado Rd (cross street Rosecrans Av.) and at the district central kitchen, 12244 Rosecrans Av. (cross street Norwalk Blvd).

For further school district news and information check their website at

Community effort gets necessities to local seniors

Grocery Outlet owners Amanda Paez and Steven Hernandez,  Neighborhood Life Church led by Pastor Dave Newman and volunteers throughout the community have teamed up to help seniors in need that are having a difficult time obtaining hard to find necessities including food and cleaning products.

Funded through donations from the community and the generosity of the owners of the Grocery Outlet located in the Ross4Less center, volunteers assemble and deliver the packages to the homes of seniors need.

A donation from the foundation run by councilmember Ed Eng and his wife Cathy towards 100 care packages in the first days of the projects and followed by an article in the La Mirada Lamplighter, resonated with the community. 

The result has been an increase in donations and volunteers according to reporter Tammye McDuff.

At the following link, you will find an updated article by the La Mirada Lamplighter that includes information on how you can contribute or volunteer to this relief project.

Misc notes

The total number of confirmed cases in La Mirada inched up to 19 with two new cases reported Thursday, April 9th.  In unincorporated South and East Whittier, the number of confirmed cases is 25, Norwalk 64, and Cerritos 29.

Throughout Los Angeles County there were 7,955 confirmed cases including 223 deaths. 

With the number of people infected with the virus hard to pin down since many people suspected of having the virus are told to just go home and self-quarantine without being tested there is another way to look at the progression of the virus locally.

PIH Health in Whittier began offering the data daily last Friday on the number of hospitalized of confirmed and suspected cases. This morning the 592-bed hospital reported 11 confirmed cases with seven in ICU beds and another 21 suspected cases of which one was in the ICU for a total of 39, an increase of two from 37 reported yesterday. Last Friday that number was 26.

In California, deaths from the coronavirus are expected to reach an apex on Wednesday, April 15, with the last death occurring May 15 according to researchers at the University of Washington who are tracking the daily progression of COVID-19 in the United States and Europe. The forecasted dates assume social distancing continues through the end of May.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Firefighters rescue man after freeing self from fast-moving Coyote Creek

A man stuck in fast-moving stormwater was rescued by fighters early Monday morning from the east channel of the Coyote Creek after several residents nearby heard the man's cry for help and called 911. 

Units from Orange County Fire Authority, Fullerton, and engines from both La Mirada stations responded to the area of the 4600 block of Fairhope Dr in the unincorporated area of La Mirada in Orange County at about 6:45 a.m. 

The first engine company on scene reported that they were unable to locate anyone in the creek and directed units to head downstream. 

The man was spotted a short time later along the wall of the flood control channel just above the water near La Mirada Blvd. just south of Alondra Blvd after he was able to free himself from the water that was reported to be 4 to 5 feet high and moving at 15 to 20 mph. 

An OCFA spokesperson said firefighters lowered a ladder and were able to pull the man to safety where he then declined treatment by paramedics.

It is unknown how the man came to be in the flood control channel and where his journey downstream began.