Monday, May 4, 2020

Valley View median project shelved due to economic uncertainties

La Mirada-  May 4, 2020.

The La Mirada city council approved a recommendation by City Manager, Jeff Boynton, to delay moving forward with the Valley View Ave center median improvement project due to budget uncertainties that have been created by the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak at it's April 28th meeting.

The project would have removed the existing center median from Imperial Hwy. south to Rosecrans Ave and replace it with an all-new median similar to the recently completed medians along Rosecrans Ave and La Mirada Blvd.

An executive order issued by Governor Brown in 2017 during the worst drought recorded in California history banned the use of potable water on center median lawns. Following the order resulted in the die-off of turf as well as serious damage to many of the trees along the median.

The city had earmarked 'remnant' bond proceeds from the former La Mirada Redevelopment Agency to fund the $1.35 Million project.

With unemployment rates expected to exceed 30% later this month and the Congressional Budget Office forecasting a 40% drop in GDP during the current quarter local governments across the state expect significant revenue shortfalls will occur over the next several years with the California League of Cities projecting losses in revenue to cities across the state at approximately $6.7 billion during fiscal year 2020-21 alone.

On a per-capita rate, La Mirada's share would be $8.3 million though it is not likely to be that high with the heaviest losses hitting big-spending cities like Santa Monica $300 million and San Francisco $1.7 billion, the worst.

La Mirada has a $7 million rainy-day fund that was established after the Great Recession of 2007-09 just for such occurrences, but the magnitude and shock to the economy from the current pandemic shutdown will likely result in losses to the bottom line that may far-exceed that number over the current and next few budget years.

La Mirada News sources confirm the city is expecting a significant drop in revenue however the uncertainty over how the crisis will evolve does not allow an accurate prediction on what the shortfall will amount to. Discussions on what if any cuts to community services that might be made to deal with any revenue shortfalls have yet to occur.

Transit patrols coming to La Mirada

The city council voted 5-0 to use $110,000 in unused Prop. A transportation funds for extra patrols at local bus stops.

The Sheriff's Department will likely fill the special patrols with the four deputies and sergeant assigned to the La Mirada Special Assignments unit on overtime. 

The supplemental patrols will provide an opportunity for deputies to engage members of the public as well as offer assistance and resources to homeless individuals that are often found at bus stops.

Councilmember Anthony Otero suggested that deputies also board and ride the buses to interact with the driver and patrons in order to bolster their sense of security and wellbeing.

The special patrols will have the added bonus of raising the overall visibility of law enforcement in the city and the additional deputies can be shifted to emergency incidents if the need arises.

City Council Notes

Mayor John Lewis assisted Love La Mirada to secure $10,000 from County Supervisor Janice Hahn writing a proposal that will fund will be funding close to 1,300 senior care packages that provide basic necessities that have been hard to find to those in need. 

As of May 1st, about 1,100 deliveries have been completed in the effort spearheaded by council member Ed Eng along with the owners of the La Mirada Grocery Outlet and Pastor David Newman of the Neighborhood Life Church in La Mirada. 

Pastor Newman leads the delivery effort and is seeking volunteers or donations with the goal of 2,000 packages. Anyone interested in helping out can reach the church at (562) 359-7945 or email

The above video from the Neighborhood Life Church Facebook page shows in fast motion the volunteer effort in action.

During the current health emergency, many of the functions of the county court system have been delayed as the need to conduct court proceedings in a time of social-distancing while respecting the rights of all persons involved in court cases has presented a unique set of problems to overcome.

Certain court matters such as the issuance of protection orders and hearings for criminal suspects that remain in custody must still be conducted and a new video arraignment program developed by council member Ed Eng and his Los Angeles County Citizens' Economy Efficiency Commission where he is Executive Director will help in that endeavor.

The program launched hastily on April 21 allows appearances from a remote location via streaming video eliminating a lot of the close-in exposures persons in custody experience during transportation and in cramped courthouse holding cells.

The new program has been put in place in 32 courtrooms at 17 courthouses according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The program designed to eliminate much of the labor and cost of transporting prisoners to courthouses for their initial arraignments could save the county from $30 to 50 million annually if fully implemented.

To close last week's meeting Mayor John Lewis presented Steve De
Ruse with a custom made bobblehead of his likeness to mark the completion of his second run as mayor two weeks ago. 

Mayor Lewis who was at home social- distancing during the April 14 was unable to present the gift to De Ruse during his final meeting as mayor.


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