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Fernando Vasquez selected Downey Mayor; Luis Marquez Mayor Pro Tem After Heated Exchange

New Downey Mayor Fernando Vasquez and outgoing Mayor Mario Guerra.  Downey Beat Photo

New Downey Mayor Fernando Vasquez and outgoing Mayor Mario Guerra. Downey Beat Photo

By Tammye McDuff

Councilman Fernando Vasquez has been selected as the new mayor of Downey in a unanimous vote at the last city council meeting.

Vasquez succeeds outgoing mayor Mario Guerra. The new mayor was first elected to the Downey city council in 2010 and will become one of the youngest figure heads and leader of the five member governing body for the next 12 months.

Within minutes of selecting Vasquez as Mayor, a contentious battle unfolded as to who the next Mayor Pro Tem would be.

A motion was made by Guerra to nominate Councilmember Roger Brossmer for the number two position on the council. Brossmer declined the nomination, stating that if he were nominated and the vote passed, he would have to resign. Brossmer stated that previous discussions, based on the rotation from each members first term and past practices of the Council, Luis Marquez Council Member District 1 should be next in line for Mayor Pro Tem.

Mayor Guerra stated that he was doing what he believed best for the citizens of Downey and attempted to convince Brossmer to reconsider, again, he declined. Guerra and Marquez have not seen eye to eye politically for the past number of years.  To further matters, Guerra then took the unusual step to place councilman Alex Saab District 5, into nomination for Mayor Pro Tem. Guerra and Saab have been political allies and personal friends outside of city hall.

Saab immediately questioned city attorney [name] about past protocol and asked if the Downey city charter had any specific statutes regarding selection of mayor pro tem. After a lengthy in depth discussion between council members and city attorney, Saab also declined the nomination, agreeing with Councilmember Brossmer that Marquez was next in rotation.

Marquez questioned Guerra directly about why he should not be allowed to be mayor pro tem.   Mayor Guerra fired back that he would vote his “conscience” for what he believed best for the city and stated that Marquez “would not be the greatest contemporary as Mayor Pro Tem or as Mayor.”

Guerra said “This is neither political nor personal. You made a lot of campaign promises Mr. Marquez to the people, which you did not keep. You owe our citizens over $38,000 dollars which you said you would repay.”

“You have sat on the council now for six years and you have yet to repay this debt. So if you are asking me if I think Mr. Brossmer or Mr. Saab would make a better Mayor than you, I say absolutely,” Guerra said.

“There are many other reasons why I believe that you, Mr. Marquez as Mayor, would not be in the best interest of our citizens, but I will not go into that at this time.” Guerra quipped.

Downey Mayor Fernando Vasquez

Downey Mayor Fernando Vasquez

In a final vote Marquez narrowly secured a majority vote with the support from Brossmer and Saab, with Guerra and Vasquez opposing.

Vasquez is involved in various local organizations, including Downey Kiwanis, Gangs out Of Downey, Downey High School Key Club advisor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and the Downey Planning Commission.  In 2010, he was elected to the Downey City Council and became the youngest person in his district to do so.

Vasquez graduated from UC Riverside, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, and from San Diego State University, where he earned a master’s degree in City Planning.

As a community leader, Vasquez said he has demonstrated a strong commitment to economic development and small business opportunities while promoting health initiatives that focus on wellness, healthier lifestyles and providing health care access.

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  • Robert M. says:

    That sucks that Fernando would fall on the sword for Mario. Congratulations are in order for Roger and Alex for doing the right thing. Mario’s bully routine is gettimg old but unfortunately he won’t go away quietly after his term is over. So many in Downey are tired of Mario and his self-righteous characteristics. Unfortunately, I won’t ever look at Fernando the same way again.

  • Paul Howard Duran says:

    Dear Mr. Vasquez. I am sorry about the nastinesses of me letters and emails to all you and Mr. Guerra. I have been
    writing letters and emails of dumpsters, about them, the illegalities of, Cal Met’s weirdnseese pertaining them, and the grattiti on and around the areas of dumpsters I look in. Recently I tried with failure to send a note to Graffitti Task
    Force on the taggings but each website I tried was “invalid.” I sent an email to Mr. Guerra asking him if he could send
    my info to the GFT and explained why. He contacted me and told me to contact the GFT. I sent him a message that the reason nobody likes him is because he is and has been against us with everything he does that we do not want done here. That how is he going to get votes for senator when he is always against us. I used no nastinesses in any of my recent emails to him. Just the truth. I wish that one time he, you, all of the council would start working for and with us and not against. This is all I have to relay. Lastly, could you please relay to me a working website of the GFT so that in the future I can send tagging findings directly to them? I asked this of Mr. Guerra who ” I too loathe graffitti
    being done here” for their wbsite but for some unforeseen reasn he chose not too share their website maybe because he does not loathe graffitti bad enough.

  • Paul Howard Duran says:

    Thank you for going against us as to a petition we signed near one year ago to stop you from putting a very unwanted island in Firestone Blvd! How many businesses will be hurt because of this “Obama” like move of yours?! All of Firestone Blvd. from past Lynwood past LaMirada is crap! The worst runs through the whole length of Downey!
    Your “Drowntown” is the pits asphalt wise! And when roadwork is
    done the workers usually over fill the work with asphalt and it feels
    lumpy and bumpy on our cars!
    It’s a wonder you are not removing all asphalt off of the boulevard as you did on Lakewood Blvd. under the hoax of the “American Reinvestment Act: Putting America To Work” that Obama started of
    which took over one year and four months to complete that mess!
    You did not have to remove the island in that mess just to put in an
    irrigation system!
    Thanks for going against us for the umpteenth time!
    I never drive Firestone blvd. anywhere in this city any way!
    But the only thing I do thank you for is no more parking on the boulevard. A precursor to your not wanted not needed island work?
    None of you have my vote if you run for higher offices.
    Paul Howard Duran.