EXCLUSIVE-Last of Five Part Series: An Inside Look at the La Mirada City Council Candidates-Pauline Deal E-mail
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Written by La Mirada Kiwanis   

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 last 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.

Pauline Deal was the final speaker of the five candidates for the office of La Mirada City Council. She thanked the members for inviting her and was privileged to be here. Describing her personal background, she informed members that her husband’s stepfather was Cary Mayer, a leader and respected member of this club in the past who lived and breathed La Mirada Kiwanis.  Pauline’s children, now grown and married, called him Grandpa. Pauline has been a resident of La Mirada for 33 years, her husband, Jeff, for 45 years.

Deal’s background of service in La Mirada included working as a volunteer with the La Mirada Baseball Association, as Treasurer, Board Member and Coach with the La Mirada Girls’ Softball Association, as Trustee with the Southeast Regional Occupation Program, and as Trustee with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, a position she currently hold.

She described her more than 15 years of experience as a Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board member as an excellent venue to gain valuable experience in overseeing administrative and employee issues, as well as infrastructure and budget issues. In addition, during her tenure as a La Mirada City Councilwoman she has worked consistently for the benefit of the residents she has served.

Crime in La Mirada is at its lowest point in more than 20 years, and has decreased by 37.7 percent since 2005.  Deal is determined to maintain her dedication to public safety.

She expressed pride that La Mirada continues to have a balanced budget despite the revenue losses due to the recession and the unprecedented millions that Sacramento has taken away from the city. However, this status does not come without a price. To maintain Public safety as the highest priority and to spare the public from significant program reductions, full time staff has been reduced from 97 to 71 positions  Hourly staffing has been reduced by a similar amount and the remaining City staff has assumed the workload.

Of major concern is that La Mirada has an estimated $67 million in infrastructure repair to deal with.  Adding the deteriorating block walls and underground utilities, the cost is over $100 million. With the passing of Measure I regarding a 1% sales tax increase for 5 years, $4 million will be made available and will be used for the improvement and repair of streets and sewers.  Deal is committed to insuring that these monies are spent solely for these purposes.

The city of La Mirada has been a “Most Business Friendly City’ finalist for five consecutive years. Deal expressed concern that, although the council has been working earnestly to find solutions to our aging shopping centers, progress has been complicated by the fact that, in many cases, multiple property owners exist at individual locations.

Following a question from the floor, Deal stated that, as seen in the success at the Valley View – Rosecrans strip (Mr. V’s corner), it took  owner/city collaboration plus assertive posture on the part of the Council to bring about acceptable improvements after years of effort.  It is Deal’s intention to continue that format.  She believes that because of her current profession as Assistant Controller for a commercial development corporation that owns and manages commercial retail centers throughout the state, she possesses working knowledge of all sides of commercial property dynamics and is poised to put her knowledge to good use in La Mirada.

One of the most significant decisions the council must make will be the hiring of a new City Manager. We are an extraordinary city and that person must possess a wide scope of talents to satisfy the needs of the community.  High standards are a priority.  Deal is confident that her former experience in leadership selection processes will play a key role in the final choice.  She is committed to working diligently with a new manager to serve the residents well because it is those residents who make La Mirada what it is: the best place to live, work and play.

Pauline Deal’s vision for La Mirada includes:

-revitalized shopping areas

-underground utilities,

-restored boundary block walls,

-enhanced street lighting-

-modernized services

-strengthened public safety

-commitment to fiscal accountability

Response to questions:

Q: What are your challenges?

A: Infrastructure, employee cuts, where to cut back due to the $15-20 million loss of revenue.

Q: Is Charter City an option?

A: The Council will be studying this possibility at their retreat in April.

Q: Regarding the Imperial Corridor, what will you champion?

A: Hiring consultant to strategize. Much must be done to work with the business owners. Family trusts, multiple ownerships, concern for costs are but a few of the issues for the existing businesses. Council must be ready to move the process along, perhaps by keeping fees low, bringing out to the front of the Marshall’s center parking lot some attractive business (Starbucks or the like) to appeal, increased enforcement, incentives, etc. These are all now on the table.

Q: Lawsuits are waiting to happen with the crumbling block walls, owners not conforming along major thoroughfares, etc. What do you see the council doing to be more forceful in their approach?

A: Many approaches will be studied by the council at the retreat. Council is open to suggestions including “Where will the money come from?”

Q: How about the Santa Gertrudes ficus situation?:

A:Solution contract  has been approved and work will begin in March.



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