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Candidates File Election Papers in La Mirada and Commerce

Two seats open in Commerce, three open in La Mirada.

By Brian Hews

Six candidates have filed for two open Commerce City Council seats for the upcoming March 3, 2015 election, according to the Commerce City Clerk

Seven candidates have filed for three open seats for the city of La Mirada according to their  city clerk.

In La Mirada, incumbents Stephen De Ruse and Larry Mowles will attempt to retain their current council seats with the third seat opening as a result of councilman Steve Jones’ retiring.

The five other La Mirada candidates are Tony Aiello, Edward Eng, Dale Nowicki, Michael Saenz and John Sarega.

In Commerce, incumbent Denise Robles will attempt to retain her seat, with another seat opening due to Councilmember Joe Aguilar’s retirement.

The five other Commerce candidates are Hugo Argumedo, John Diaz, Oralia Rebollo, Sonia Rodriguez, and John Soria.

HMG-CN reached out to all candidates asking for bio’s this week, with some, but not all, responding to the deadline request.

In Commerce, the well-known and popular former Commerce councilman Hugo Argumedo and Councilwoman Denise Robles responded, while La Mirada’s Aiello, De Ruse, Mowles, Nowicki and Saenz sent bio’s via email.


Hugo Argumedo

Hugo's Headshot

Hugo Argumedo


Hugo Argumedo is a former councilmember who moved to the City of Commerce in 1994 and was elected to the City Council in 1996 to fill the unexpired term of Ruben Batres. Argumedo was reelected to the City Council in 1997, 1999, 2003, and 2007.

In addition to his duties on the City Council,

he served as a member of the California Contract Cities Association, I-710 Oversight Policy Committee, Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District and also served as a representative with the Southern California Association of Governments.

As a former Councilmember, he played an active role in the city and is committed to improving community safety, education and employment. Argumedo helped initiate the City’s Education Commission and re-structured the City Scholarship Program resulting in more money being raised for Commerce students with college expenses.

The Crown Plaza Hotel was built and the Citadel expansion project was initiated doubling the number of stores at the Citadel, creating many jobs and added revenue to the city for many years to come.

Argumedo helped pass the hotel visitor tax which generates and estimated $2.3 million annually, negotiated a new fire department contract saving Commerce over $11 million, and new homes were built in Bristow and Veteran Park areas.

Argumedo has always been a strong advocate of community-based policing and the neighborhood watch program.

Argumedo has also served as a member of many community-based organizations, including the Model City Democratic Club of Commerce, the Commerce Sister City Association, and the Rosewood Park Elementary School PTA.

He is the proud father of four children and has 30 years of work experience as a computer/network technician for Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Denise M. Robles

Denise Robles

Denise M. Robles

City of Commerce Councilmember Denise M. Robles was elected to the Commerce City Council on March 8, 2011.  Raised in Commerce, Denise is the daughter of a blue-collar immigrant family and knows first-hand the challenges facing the residents in her community.

Denise began serving as a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain and as a commissioner on the City’s Library Commission and Community Services Commission.

Denise has been appointed to represent Commerce on several important delegations including California Contract Cities, Gateway Cities 1-710 EIR/EIS Project Committee and Southern California Association of Governments as well as an alternate on the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and Southeast Water Coalition Joint Powers Authority. She has received an Executive Education in Public Policy certificate of completion from the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and successfully completed training through the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund’s National Institute for Newly Elected Officials.

Denise’s priorities remain bringing new businesses to Commerce, improving the City’s appearance and protecting residential programs and services. With a passion to serve, Denise is committed to investing in those who are struggling the most. She is a member of the United Families of Bristow and Greenwood Community Church in Commerce.  Denise lives in the Veterans neighborhood of Commerce with her husband Richard and has six children and one grandchild.

Denise earned her Associate of Arts Degree in 2009, then graduated Cum Laude (with honors) in June 2013 from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Administration.  She is currently enrolled in the California State University, Los Angeles Political Science Masters program with a concentration on American Government.


Tony Aiello

Tony Aiello

Tony Aiello

Tony Aiello was born and raised in La Mirada, he has been married to his wife Carmen for 24 years and has two sons. Tony is a product of Norwalk and La Mirada schools from K-12. He has two sons, Miles and AJ, who were also schooled in the NLMUSD. Tony is the founder and owner of the La Mirada Blog, founder of the La Mirada Olive Fest, co-author of the La Mirada History Book, is a former city Historical Heritage Commissioner, and was on the La Mirada Neighborhood Enhancement Advisory Team (NEAT) in 2003-2004.

Tony enjoys being involved in the community and is the current official La Mirada High School basketball announcer. He also loves coaching and was the 2005 La Mirada National Junior Basketball Coach of the Year.

Tony worked as a grocery store auditor for Lucky Stores for 18 years, moving on to Stater Brothers, where he has worked for the past 14 years.

LM Councilman 

Steve De Ruse D.Min.

Steven De Rus

Steven De Rus

Steve De Ruse D.Min. tells HMG-CN that he has been married for 45 years to Mary Ann with two daughters Adrienne and Elaine, both La Mirada High School graduates.

De Ruse has lived in La Mirada since 1975 and is the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Artesia. He has also been a small business owner.

He was elected to L.M. City Council in March 2011, and since that time he has been Mayor pro tem from 2012-2013 and Mayor from 2013-2014.

Prior to election to the City Council he was a member of the Community Services Commission for 5 years, President of the La Mirada Clergy Council, and President of the La Mirada Rotary Club (current member).

He also was the Chairperson for Southeast Area Social Services Funding Authority (SASSFA), on the Board of Directors for Sanitation District # 18, recently elected to SCAG Regional Council District 3, an alternate on the I-5 Consortium, and serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Los Angeles Southern Baptist Association.

De Ruse has a Masters and Doctorate Degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dale Nowicki

Dale Nowicki

Dale Nowicki

Dale Nowicki has lived in La Mirada for 23 years. He and his wife Lorraine have two daughters who went to school in La Mirada. He is an attorney, college professor, retired sheriff’s deputy, and former military officer.

With his wealth of experience in law enforcement, Dale has served on the La Mirada Public Safety Commission giving advice and recommendations to the City Council. Dale is involved in the local Kiwanis club and is also a volunteer member of the board of directors for the non-profit charity, Vets Mentoring Vets, assisting our former service men and women make the successful transition from military to civilian employment.

As a business owner in La Mirada running a successful law practice, Dale serves as a Hearing Officer for several large municipal entities in the southern California area. This experience enables him to bring to his work as an advocate, the perspective and experience of a judicial officer on matters involving employment and labor law, business issues, housing and government assistance, among others.

Besides practicing in state courts, Dale is admitted to all federal district courts in California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Dale has appeared on matters throughout the state of California, in state, federal, and administrative courts with a specific focus on public safety related matters.

Dale is an adjunct professor at Cerritos College. Besides his law degree, Dale also has a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and military officer studies.

Mayor Lawrence P. Mowles

Larwence Mowles

Larwence Mowles

Mayor Lawrence P. Mowles was elected to the La Mirada City Council on March 8, 2011. He has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years.

Mayor Mowles served on the City’s Planning Commission from May 2009 to March 2011. He was a member of the City’s Public Safety Commission from May 2007 to May 2009. He was also a member of the City’s Community Services Commission from November 2000 to June 2007.

He is a founding member of the La Mirada Community Foundation where he served from August 1999 to May 2007. He served as the Foundation President from November 2000 to June 2007. While serving as a member of the Foundation, he was responsible for the operation of the “4 La Mirada Kids” Carnival, which raises funds for youth programs and community organizations.

Mayor Mowles served as a member of the Citizen Task Force on City Finances and Operations from November 2009 to April 2010. He received the City of La Mirada’s “Volunteers in Action Award” in 2008.

Mayor Mowles has been a resident of La Mirada for over 35 years. He and his wife, Paula, have four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Michael (Mik) Saenz

Mik Saenz

Michael (Mik) Saenz

Michael (Mik) Saenz has been a resident of La Mirada for over 25 years. He is married to wife Kim and has 3 kids all in the adult age. He attended Rio Hondo College and has attended and was certified in various business courses. During his early years attending school Mik began working part-time at Wells Fargo and it developed into a 27 year career. Mik has over 15 years of proven leadership’s abilities in building team oriented organizations.

Mik served as Commissioner for the La Mirada Planning Commission; Community Service Commission; was the City Athletic Counsel President for 5 years and is currently serving as Vice President of the City Athletic Counsel. He was chosen to be on the Task Force committees, as well as serving on the City Charter Exploratory Committee working to provide a better life for residents.

Mik told HMG-CN, “with the various positions I have held, I have come to truly understand this community. I will continue to support the quality of life and protection of our children, adults and senior citizens with the support of our excellent programs.  I have the skillset, experience and vision to strengthen our priorities and finances.”