First of Five Part Series: An Inside Look at the La Mirada City Council Candidates-Andrew Sarega E-mail
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Written by Kiwanis Chronicles   

La Mirada~There are five candidates running for La Mirada City Council.  The election is scheduled for March 5th. In the race is Councilwoman Pauline Deal who was appointed to replace Susan Tripp in the summer of 2011; Mayor Gabe Garcia, seeking a second four-year term; Planning Commissioner and businessman Steve Keithly; Paramount Unified Schools Administrator Randy Gray; and Newport Beach Police Officer Andrew Sarega.

The Kiwanis Club of La Mirada has invited all of the candidates to speak at their weekly meeting, separately, and all have accepted. We will provide a brief snippet and some insight to each of the candidate’s speeches excerpted from The Kiwanis Chronicles.

The schedule is as follows: Andrew Sarega-January 23rd; Gabe Garcia-January 30th; Randy Gray-February 6th; Steve Keithly-February 13th; and Pauline Deal-February 20th.

The following is the first of a five-part series in which we hope to provide you a snippet and some insight into each of the candidate’s speeches. As of now, there has been no candidates forum scheduled for the community.

The Kiwanis Club of La Mirada and the La Mirada Blog are not political organizations.  These reports are for informational purposes only and do not reflect the views or opinions of the Kiwanis Club of La Mirada or the La Mirada Blog Network.

At the January 23rd meeting, candidate, Andrew Sarega expressed his pleasure at being allowed to speak to the members concerning his reasons for running for a position on the La Mirada City Council.

He was raised in La Mirada, attended Escalona Elementary School, Benton Jr. High, and La Mirada High School.  He studied for a time at Biola which he interrupted to play professional soccer in Europe.  After a debilitating injury he returned to La Mirada. He then was accepted into the police department in Newport Beach and remains there after five years service.  Due to his honorable record he received a Life Savings Award, is on the Board of the Police Action Committee, and is a Reserve Coordinator. Sarega is a graduate of Cal St. Fullerton with honors in Criminal Justice.  He speaks three languages and is working on a fourth.  He has Real Estate and Appraisers licenses, owns his own appraisal business, is president of a corporation, and is involved in a used car business.

Sarega lists the following issues he has with the City of La Mirada:

1)    The recent sales tax increase is unwarranted. He understands the implications of this issue, but people are disheartened by now being one of the highest sales-taxed cities in the state. Fiscally, the decision is not conducive to confidence in the city.

2)    Mayor Garcia’s recent misstep is an embarrassment and has been misrepresented to the people. The life of a public figure is under constant scrutiny, and the goal here should be service to residents.  The incident has reflected a negative light on La Mirada.

3)    Sports in the City have always been a source of pride and their image has been lessened.

4)    Schools in the past have enjoyed solid community backing. This has diminished.

He also added-regarding the Alondra property-it was a several million dollar loss on the sale of the property to fulfill the goal of 41 new homes being built.  That property could have been used for business buildings to encourage sales and property tax profit. He also said the City should develop a Credit Union and should do so to increase funds for city use.

Sarega is never in favor of raising taxes-the recent measure to do so was misrepresented to the people who believed there would be a one cent tax increase instead of the actual one percent increase on each transaction.

He stated City Council is the leadership arm and should determine direction.  Staff is to implement council wishes.  Going directly to the Manager insures that the message is carried.  Going through other sources does not guarantee it will go to the Manager which is the logical progression. When pressed that his plan might interrupt the flow of the process he maintained his opinion on the order of authority.

Sarega concluded by saying the respect is gained, not by words, but by actions. Things are as good as they can be, but could and should be better.  He maintained that his strategies and values are worthy of being passed on to the future. A brief Q & A session then ensued:

Q: You are involved is lots of businesses, your police position requiring a night time schedule. How would you be able to manage council meetings in the evening?

A: Sarega responded that his record in the Newport Police Department has earned him the opportunity to pick his own schedule to make ample room for this position. He would be a voice of the community.

Q: You have not participated in city affairs or on committees up to this time. Are you waiting to become a council member to serve?

A: Sarega replied that he had applied for positions on two city commissions and was told that more suitable candidates had been found.

Q: A new City Manager will be selected in the near future. If you were to be elected, what counsel would you give to your colleagues about such a choice?

A: Sarega responded that he would not select an existing Manager from other cities.  Someone new with new thoughts would be preferable; someone with adequate education in other areas and with, perhaps, a better attitude. He would want to find someone with a new and fresh outlook with new expectations. At present he sees an over-reliance on staff decisions instead of on Council members. City manager and staff have far too much power.  The present manager insists that all issues be brought directly to him, not through Council members. Over-reliance on city Manager and City Staff is not appropriate.  Council should be able to converse on subjects and make the final decisions. He also maintained councilperson should have an office in City Hall. When asked it might be too expensive, Sarego disagreed that it would be too expensive and that it is important to spend money to make money in the long run, and it would help the council member with their true responsibilities.



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