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Downey Mayor’s Corner: The Optimist Sees Opportunity in Every Difficulty

By Mayor Claudia M. Frometa

Downey is continuing to face and respond to the historic pandemic and some of the greatest challenges we have faced in our lifetime. Yet, I am encouraged and filled with hope, enthusiasm and grit.

As the greatest British statesman of the 20th century and leader of the British Army responsible for the victory in WWII, Sir Winston Churchill once said, “The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” And here we are Downey, we will tackle the challenges ahead and move our city forward.

This week has been historic for the State of California and certainly for LA County as the first shipment of the Pfizer approved CoVID-19 vaccine arrived for distribution and inoculation.

While we celebrate the arrival of a vaccine that will eradicate the virus and bring us closer to ending this historic pandemic, my message to our Downey residents is this: We must continue to remain vigilant and protect each other by avoiding large gatherings especially with Christmas and the New Year upon us.

The virus has over a 90 percent survival rate in LA County, yet we have seen a 300 percent increase in hospitalizations over the last two months. Currently there are over 4,000 people hospitalized in the County, this number changes daily, and our hospitals are running out to Intensive Care Unit capacity.  There are not enough beds for all who may become extremely ill.  These are the most critical times we have faced during 2020.  Neighboring county hospitals are running out of ICU beds and space.

I say this with the intention NOT to contribute to additional fear mongering but as someone in the healthcare industry, seeing firsthand what is happening in our hospitals across Southern California. As an Emergency Management professional in healthcare for the last 15 years, the surge that our hospitals are experiencing, coupled with the shortage of staff is both alarming and unprecedented. Healthcare staff is exhausted and hospitals have been on disaster response mode all year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to address a few important issues of concern:

  1. Excessive trash all over the city and littering around fast food places. The city is working with the management of these establishments to keep up maintenance.
  2. Trash and the potential for viral infections. As we continue to deal with a public health crisis, our city will continue with its normal street sweeping schedule to maintain public safety and health for the community.
  3. Illegal dumping. We are seeing an excessive amount of bulky items thrown out. Please contact the city’s illegal dumping at 562.904.1161 or contact Cal Met to schedule a pick up at 562.259.1239.
  4. Speeding through our major intersections. Our police department will continue to conduct speed enforcement in different areas of our city.
  5. We want to avoid large gatherings to minimize any community infection, but our parks and playgrounds are open.

This coming year will continue to bring us great challenges but it will also bring tremendous opportunities for collaboration, growth and strengthen of our city. I invite you to be involved and be the change you want to by working collaboratively to strengthen relationships and unify our community.

As the 47th Mayor of this city, the 11th largest city in LA County, I promise to lead Downey through this time of adversity with strength, compassion, integrity and empathy. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.