Second of Five Part Series: An Inside Look at the La Mirada City Council Candidates-Gabe Garcia E-mail
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Thursday, 07 February 2013 16:23

Mayor Gabe Garcia spoke recently at the Kiwanis Club Meeting as part of the groups program highlighting the five city council candidates. In his speech, Garcia made no mention of his recent arrest, and indicated he is still running.

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, and all have accepted. We will provide a brief snippet and some insight to each of the candidate’s speeches.

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.

On January 30th, Mayor Gabe Garcia was welcomed to speak as the second of the five candidates running for a position on the La Mirada City Council. Gabe recalled that he was here at Kiwanis in 1993 when he was a candidate for a position on the Board of Education of the Norwalk-La Mirada School District. He has been married for 25 years with 2 children who were two and five at his last visit 20 years ago. Much has happened since.

In 1993 the district was upside down, and believed that he helped turn the situation    He served 12 years on the board, 12 years on the ROP board. For the city he served eight years on the La Mirada Planning Commission and four years on the Safety Commission. He has learned well how to be involved with the community and how it operates. He also spent time as a teacher of catechism at his church.

The year 2009 brought on the recession and a big challenge for the Council that included Councilmen Steve Jones, Hal Malkin and Pete Dames.  Gabe was the ‘new guy on the block’ and learned much about true leadership and the role of involvement in the culture of the community.  2009 also brought on serious budget concerns and fiscal austerity.  The Police force contracts, the administrative staff, public works issues were all on the agenda. A lack of revenue forced Contract Cities to be up in arms to make it through.

The State of California must have a balanced budget and therefore many entities such as redevelopment projects became in jeopardy. States were determined to take that money away. With different personalities and perspectives in the mix, it was incumbent on the council to decide in common what was best for La Mirada.  Contracting Sheriffs and downsizing were among the choices.  There was a 25% reduction in general funds, no city police and fire department.  Contracting out would reduce the overhead.

Over time, pension reforms, retirements, reduction in full-time employees, change of benefits, and hiring part time employees, rezoning, and fiscal austerity  are but a few of the measures taken to help alleviate the situation.

Right sizing is one of the methods Garcia condones.  Full positions have been eliminated following retirements, resignations and the like, and combined duties assigned. Reinventing and combining duties have been the goal of the Council. Fireworks stands have been allowable in the city through the Community Services Foundation as they provided for non-profits in the city.

No one likes taxes.  However, such as took place in the School District with the bond measure to improve structures, etc., the needs of the city for infrastructure repairs are of prime importance and taxes were needed to alleviate the situation (Measure I).   An example of the benefit is the solution for the flood area in Foster Park. Similar needs are apparent throughout the city such as block walls.  Several areas need redoing and, fortunately, additional money will be available as of April 1, 2013 for infrastructure. City manager Tom Robinson has been working to complete that process and will continue until a new City Manager is hired due to his retirement.

Gabe Garcia wishes to continue to be a part of the process in the city. He knows what it takes to do the job to select the best persons for La Mirada.

He is determined to attract and retain businesses in the city.

In concluding, he agrees on fiscal austerity, realignment of priorities in spending, improvement on the safety and quality of life for the community, affordable housing, good planning for regional issues, transportation improvement, and he wishes to continue to be involved in all of these issues.



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