Art Montoya: My vision for Downey – The Downey Patriot

My vision for the future of Downey is one where we honor our past but look forward towards the future. As I have lived in Downey my whole life, I have seen the many changes in the city, some good and some bad. Some of the issues and topics I plan on focusing on will be public safety, homelessness, economic growth and development, and maintaining public services.
Public Safety
The biggest challenges facing Downey regarding public safety is crime. Crime is up everywhere in Los Angeles County, and Downey is no exception to that. Having family and loved ones in law enforcement, I know firsthand how important it is to let our police know they are supported by their community. Downey has a great police department, and our community supports them 100%. Aside from supporting our police, we need to make sure they have the right tools to combat crime. I believe we need to try and invest in technology to help our officers with crime prevention. One example of this is the use of license plate vehicle readers which can curtail vehicle thefts.
Homelessness in our city is something that is not different from any other city in Los Angeles County. While I will do not claim to have a solution that will solve the problem of people becoming homeless entirely, I will take an active, and humanistic approach to help those who have become homeless in our city. I would apply for funding from Measure H or other grant money to hire or contract one or two people as dedicated city staff to engage in homelessness outreach. The goal of these city staffers would be to actively engage in Downey’s homeless population to gain an intimate understanding of those individuals that are homeless, what led to their state of homelessness, and for our staffers to get the resources needed for each person—whether it be mental health services or other health services, or to find them temporary housing.
Economic Development
As a councilmember, it is important to understand the wants and needs of both the business owners and the residents. Some of those interests overlap, such as ensuring safety within the community and attracting businesses that enhance the quality of life for the community. Downey is home to many well-known franchises, like the first Taco Bell and the oldest operating McDonald’s, but Downey was built on the many great small businesses we have in the city. One simple and easy thing we can do to help our businesses in the city, is by upgrading the way City Hall works with businesses. We are living in the 21st century, and when a business is trying to get the city to come and do an inspection so that they can move on and proceed with work on the building or beginning operation of their business, the business owner should be able to go online, schedule an appointment that is available for the city to come out and inspect the site in question. There are many delays with construction or operation because people still must call City Hall to try and schedule an appointment with the city to come and inspect their business. These delays and inefficiencies then cost business owners (and residents when doing improvements on their homes) money, which is something that can easily be avoided if we invested in a more efficient way to work with businesses in Downey.
Although land and property owners have the ultimate say on who they choose to do business with, my goal would be to collaborate with these property owners and work with them to help attract businesses that not only bring value to our community, but also good paying jobs. For example, seeking out tech companies like health tech, cleantech, etc. (which could be complementary to the future development of the Rancho Los Amigos South Campus), or startup businesses and providing incentives for these types of businesses to establish themselves in Downey and bring good paying jobs to the city. As a recession looms ahead, these are opportunities where innovation and creativity can impact industries. I want to work with Downey Unified School District (DUSD) on the implementation of a Downey incubator, so that our students and community have a place to go to with their ideas of innovation, learn how to create a business plan, and how to potentially start their own business here in Downey, thus hopefully draw the attention of investors or people with seed money so that these business ideas can become a reality. Downey’s motto is “Future Unlimited”, and that’s why I believe we need to govern by that motto and keep pushing our city forward into the 21st century.
Public Services
Public services may not be the top of the list of importance, but it is these little things that help keep our city going and add value to the community. I will ensure that we not only continue to have funding to update and maintain our streets and alleys, but I would like to secure funding to continue to maintain our parks and add another dog park to the city. While canvassing and talking to my neighbors, two things I kept hearing that the community wants are more activities and programs for our senior residents and more programs (nonathletic) for our youth. The pandemic really changed the way we interact with people, and pushing more meetings, lessons, and virtual gatherings, but that substitute that feeling of interacting with someone right next to you. That is why I would work with our city staff to get some new programs for our seniors, and I would reach out to our city partners, such as Downey Foundation for Education Opportunities (DFEO), to grow and expand on programs for our youth.
Throughout the years, I have known no town or city that’s gone through as much change as Downey has these past few years. Although change is inevitable, I will make sure to bring civility and stability to our city and build on the successes of others before me. If I am elected to represent District 2, I will ensure that I will zealously represent our community to make sure that we have a voice and equitable representation for our District.
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