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Gabe Garcia Takes Over as La Mirada Mayor

Garcia family left to right, son Paul, wife Maria, Gabe, daughter Cristina.

By Tony Aiello

Gabe Garcia took over  as mayor of La Mirada Tuesday night replacing outgoing mayor Steve Jones who was joined by many family, friends and others to wish him well.

Garcia was elected to the city council in March 2009. Previously, he was elected to the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s Board of Education for three consecutive terms from 1993-2005. Garcia becomes the first Latino mayor in the city’s 52-year history.

In La Mirada Mayors serve one-year terms on a rotating basis, with council members basically, taking “turns” as mayor. So, the evening was mostly a ceremonial, nominating and voting process, with Garcia beginning his first stint at the helm. Officially, the vote was 5-0.Councilman Steve DeRuse was voted in as mayor pro tem.

Norwalk–La Mirada School Board of Education President, Darryl Adams presented a certificate of recognition to outgoing Mayor Steve Jones, thanking him for his contributions to the school district and the community saying, “You have been an explementary model of what a leader is all about-leading with consistency.”

Captain Pat Maxwell of the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station also thanked Jones for his support on behalf of all the men and women at the station, and presented him with a $250 check for the charity of his choice.  Jones said he would donate the money to the California School Project organization.

After the meeting, we asked Garcia if he has any priorities for his first term as mayor. ”First, the fiscal health of the city, second, would be the strategies in dealing with the loss of redevelopment, and attracting new businesses to our shopping centers with new incentives,” he said.

Referring to the city’s current financial situation in which a fiscal emergency was proclaimed recently he said, “The process has started to maintain viability at the highest level possible (for the residents). We will make adjustments to minimize the effect felt. But, it will be extremely difficult, especially with the infrastructure improvements of the city that are necessary and badly needed. We don’t have that money (redevelopment).”

Garcia mentioned the recently completed retail study by an independent consultant, and the reconvening of the citizen’s task force as examples of how the process has started in addressing these priorities.

“The study provided us information such as what businesses will work in which locations, he said, “and with the task force, we are waiting for findings and recommendations (to deal with fiscal challenges). So, the conversation has started.”

“These are big issues (for the city) and I believe in hitting things head on,” Garcia said.

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