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Mayor’s Column: Thank you, voters

What an election!


Congratulations to all the candidates for taking the time and making the effort to run for city government here in Whittier. As a candidate you really get to know the people of our community by attending functions, making phone calls and going door to door where people tell you things that they would never tell you outside of their home.


It is both an exhilarating experience and very tiring. And although turn-out was lower than expected, thanks to all the voters who voted and care about our community.


Last Tuesday night at our City Council meeting, the Council took several actions of interest that generally fly under the radar.


The Council approved plans and specs for the Lambert Road traffic signal synchronization. As we all know, Whittier Boulevard is traffic-choked much of the day due to cut through traffic that neither originates nor ends in Whittier. The best alternative is Lambert.


With the Green Way Trail East Extension, traffic signals need to be coordinated and synchronized for safety and ease of flow of traffic from PIH and Washington Blvd. all the way to the Orange County line. When completed, this will be a great traffic flow enhancement for our residents driving east and west.


The Council also approved the Lee Owens Park renovation project on Greenleaf Avenue. The park is very well utilized and the City has been seeking grant funds to renovate the Park and the splash pad for a number of years. Monies were granted to the City from the County of Los Angeles, the State of California and the federal government (Community Development Block Grant funds) in the amount of $1,170,359.


The City had previously been able to purchase contiguous property with State funds to expand the park. I am pleased that we were able to award the contract Tuesday night to move forward on this important project.


Councilmember Josue Alvarado consistently championed this project for the residents of District 1 and for all the residents of Whittier due to its prime location across from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whittier. Good work!


The Council also expanded the Whittier Uptown Specific Plan boundaries to allow live entertainment and fortune-telling (this is an interesting story by itself). One of the major concerns relates to noise and what type of music/entertainment is appropriate. Guidelines were adopted as to use of live entertainment vs. minor live entertainment vs. “ambient” music.


The bottom line here is this…if a business chooses to have live entertainment, they will need to abide by the rules and make sure that the music is not loud and bothersome to others in the Uptown area.


There needs to be a balance and the Council expects business owners, neighbors and patrons to work together to make Uptown an even more exciting destination. The Council is committed to this and we know that those in Uptown are committed also.


One last note regarding the election…it struck me that there was some hyper-partisanship that seemed to pervade the electioneering. Unlike our elections for federal and state officials where party affiliations and ideology always seem to be a point of contention, our races at the local government level are always non-partisan, meaning that a candidate’s political party affiliation is not preeminent.


Instead, local government is not about political ideology but what is best for the people of Whittier.


Typically, here in Whitter, we will have issues regarding public safety/police/fire, traffic control, parks, etc. These are not issues of political ideology but of quality of life. It is in this spirit that we all work together, regardless of political affiliation, to do what is best for the people of Whittier.


As we move forward, it is important that we remember that it is about working together for the best interests of all of Whittier and that is all that really counts.

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