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public to coincide with the date that the current 'stay at home' order issued by county public health authorities is rescinded.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.

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