As a rookie Downey city councilman in 1986, Roy L. Paul conducted himself with a flamboyance that amused longtime council member Robert G. Cormack, a Republican who considered Paul an "off-the-wall" Democrat.
"I used to kid him about his showboating, his playing to the audience at council meetings," Cormack said. "I said to him that it was obvious that he (intended to) run for a higher office. He said, 'No way, Bob, you're misreading me. My goal is to get on the bench.' "
Paul reached that goal this week when he resigned as councilman and was sworn in as an $85,000-a-year commissioner of the Downey Municipal Court, which also serves La Mirada and Norwalk.
"It's an opportunity to advance in my profession, something I've wanted to do," said Paul, 41, an attorney who specializes in family law. "I will continue to serve the same community I've lived in, just in a different capacity."
Paul was selected for the position by the court's five judges. As one of the two commissioners on the court, he will handle small claims, traffic infractions and civil matters. The judges decide criminal cases.
"From just listening to his analysis of things, I think he will do a good job," said Cormack, who at times during the past five years was Paul's adversary.
Paul laughed when told that Cormack recalled him as a showboater. "Everyone thought my motives were political," he said. "They were never political; they were part of public service. I've grown up with public service since I was a little kid."
Paul, who has lived in Downey since 1984, grew up in Bell Gardens discussing politics with his mother, Lynn Paul. A lawyer who died in 1978, she was the first mayor of Bell Gardens, and was in office when Paul attended Bell Gardens High School.
"She believed that public service was part of the work ethic, and that everyone should contribute to their community," said Paul, who in 1982 also became Bell Gardens' mayor.
A graduate of USC and the Western State University College of Law in San Diego, Paul brings experience to his new position, having sat as a judge pro tem in Norwalk Superior Court and in Downey, Huntington Park and South Gate municipal courts.
As a Downey councilman, Paul backed the expansion of the Stonewood Shopping Center and was the most vocal opponent two years ago of a pesticide laboratory and warehouse.
The facility, at Imperial Highway and Garfield Avenue, was allowed to operate only after the council was assured that chemical fumigations would take place there only in emergencies.
"I already miss (being a councilman)," the new commissioner said, adding after a brief pause: "I'm just a voter now."
* Valeshia Hines, 21, of Compton, is working in a summer affirmative action research program in the orchards and vineyards of Fresno County. An agricultural engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Compton High School graduate is inoculating almonds with a fungus at the University of California's Kearney Agricultural Center near Parlier. After harvest, she will help analyze the nuts that succumbed to disease.
* Recent Cal State Long Beach graduates Jeffrey Auldridge and David Temprendola have been accepted into the Peace Corps. Auldridge will work in Ecuador on public health and sanitation projects, and Temprendola will help train business managers in the Cook Islands.