Downey City Council elections are quickly approaching with residents already receiving vote-by-mail ballots. We asked candidates about caps on rent increases, police, homelessness, and more. Anthony Felix, associate director, grants, is a candidate for District Two. District Two covers southwest Downey.
You can find out which district you live in here.
You can check your registration status, request a vote-by-mail ballot, and find a local voting center by going to www.lavote.gov or calling 800-345-8683. The last day to vote is November 8th!
All six candidates were asked the same questions. Responses have been edited for clarity.
Why are you running?
Anthony Felix: I want to improve the quality of life for everyone in my community. Specifically, I want to ensure anyone who wants to buy a home can do so with their current income. Through my housing market reset approach it is possible.
As a councilmember, how would you balance the interests of business owners with the interests of residents?
Anthony Felix: It’s about addressing the concerns of both stakeholders to ensure economic prosperity and resident needs are met. Once the priorities of each group are identified, strategic planning and action steps can concurrently move forward.
There has been talk about eliminating Downey LINK, Downey’s citywide transit system, by councilmembers. What are your thoughts on Downey LINK? As a councilmember, will increased public transit ridership be a priority?
Anthony Felix: I support increased public transit so long as it does not displace any residents.
Neighboring Bell Gardens recently imposed a hard cap on annual rent increases of 4%, going beyond the state imposed cap of 10%. Do you support a cap on annual rent increases that goes beyond the state cap?
Anthony Felix: Yes, but capping annual rent increases is not a long term solution. We need to freeze the amount of profits over the cost of the mortgage to ensure we prioritize housing over profits.
Downey has 218 unhoused residents according to the county’s latest homeless count. What policies or programs do you support to help these individuals secure housing?
Anthony Felix: For literal homelessness, the most reasonable approach in Downey is operationalizing an access point and couple it with street outreach services. We can compassionately link people experiencing homelessness to resources based on their [individual] situation. Downey does not currently have a strategic plan for mitigating homelessness.
What are the biggest challenges facing Downey in regards to public safety?
Anthony Felix: Perception of public safety in the form of policing in residential neighborhoods. The general sentiment is that residents want peace of mind and knowing there are increased patrols this can be achieved. Additionally, residents have expressed concern over a need for increased parking enforcement and speed [bumps] on certain streets.
Should the police budget: increase, decrease, stay the same?
Anthony Felix: Stay the Same. We need to audit the current police budget to determine how existing funding is allocated annually to help inform needs.
Should the fire budget: increase, decrease, or stay the same?
Anthony Felix: Stay the Same. We need to audit the current fire budget to determine how existing funding is allocated annually to help inform needs.
Which city department or program is most in need of increased funding:
Anthony Felix: In my option, public works funding is needed for capital improvements. Residents have voiced concerns over the lack of sidewalks and adequate lighting in residential areas. When vehicles speed through the residential streets in the evening and folks are walking in the middle of the street because there are no sidewalks, it is a public safety concern.
What is your vision for the future of the city? What do you propose to make Downey a better city?
Anthony Felix: Safe learning environments for teachers and students, and problem solving for root causes of the affordable housing crisis. We just prioritize affordable housing over profits.