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. Claudia Frometa, Downey Council Member, is a candidate for District Four. District Four covers northeast 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?
Claudia Frometa: I am running for re-election because I am passionate about families and our community. I will continue to work tirelessly to promote initiatives that support public safety, business growth, infrastructure improvements and transparency, for a better quality of life. And, I am the Only candidate with the knowledge and experience to lead this city and bring stability back.
As a councilmember, how would you balance the interests of business owners with the interests of residents?
Claudia Frometa: Small businesses are the backbone of our community and for the most part they are owned by Downey residents. The interests of all sectors of our population need to work in synergy with each other for our city to continue to be successful. I will continue to be a liaison for both the residents and our small businesses to make sure we all work together for the betterment of our community.
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?
Claudia Frometa: The Downey LINK has been an important asset of our community for many years. Our residents have used it free of charge to get places in Downey. We need to evaluate every now and then how it’s being used and if it needs improvements to better its popularity. Public transit ridership is a great idea that deserves a study, for us to make an educated decision on how it should operate.
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?
Claudia Frometa: Downey already has state rent control in place, and the council voted not to implement a hard cap. Most tenants that I have spoken to have expressed their disapproval for more rent control. They argue that rent control almost always backfired as property owners are forced to increase the rent annually, and pass on repair costs every year on to their tenants. I would prefer we focus on building more housing in Downey to give renters more options, this way property owners have to compete for tenants with lower rents.
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?
Claudia Frometa: The unhoused residents population in Downey has decreased. In fact, the [LAHSA] figures show a 15% decrease. We are actively engaging with the unhoused and collaborating with agencies to offer services to them, not the least of which is good shelter, but [also] mental health services. We will continue to engage our unhoused residents to find ways to help them get back on their feet with the appropriate mental health services and into a home.
What are the biggest challenges facing Downey in regards to public safety?
Claudia Frometa: Fentanyl. We are facing an epidemic of illegal drug use and sadly our children are the target. A colorful pill that looks like candy is making its way onto our streets and potentially our school campuses, these are proving to be lethal. We have also seen an increase in speeding in our neighborhood streets along our major avenues. Residents [want] additional speed enforcement and neighborhood patrols.
Should the police budget: increase, decrease, stay the same?
Claudia Frometa: Increase. We need to make sure our police officers are well staffed and have the necessary tools they need to do their job and keep our neighborhoods and families safe.
Should the fire budget: increase, decrease, stay the same?
Claudia Frometa: Increase. We need to make sure our first responders have the necessary tools they need to do their job and keep our families safe.
Which city department or program is most in need of increased funding:
Claudia Frometa: The Planning department. This department is for most the first point of contact for many residents and small businesses that are submitting an application to add or remove something from their property. The turnaround time, services provided and fees need to be the most user friendly in the region. We need to pay more attention to this department and perfect all its parts to make it efficient, fast and affordable.
What is your vision for the future of the city? What do you propose to make Downey a better city?
Claudia Frometa: As the tenth largest city in the County of Los Angeles, The City of Downey is already known as a healthcare hub. The opportunity to expand economically and from a technological standpoint in the region is there. However, stability is key within city hall and electing individuals with the experience, knowledge, ethical leadership and sound financial practices is of paramount importance. Having led Downey through the COVID-19 pandemic without cutting services, and being instrumental in passing balanced budgets these last four years, I, Claudia Frometa, am the Only choice for Downey City Council District 4.