Attorney, Clerk and Treasurer: Compton Candidates Forum Review

imagesTransparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.  The City of Compton is definitely lacking in transparency.  If you have ever attempted to request city documents, pay your water bill online or view the city finances, you probably face difficulties in obtaining the information.  Based on the incumbents combined 60 years of experience, its noteworthy that the city has such difficulties.  The Compton candidates forum offered much clarity from the incumbents themselves and by doing so, gave rise to their challengers.

City Attorney Craig Cornwell is running unopposed.  He cited he is for the people of Compton and standing up for the rights of the city.  Isn’t he the same city attorney who advised the council to proceed with compiling data for the return of the police department?  In closing, Cornwell cited a Malcolm X quote, which to paraphrase, is about working with everyone.  We must add that he took the time to thank current and former colleagues on the city council, and our assembly district, but most notably failed to acknowledge colleagues, from the 1st and 4th districts.

City Treasurer candidates Douglas Sanders and Jasper Jackson were asked a multitude of questions.  Sanders admits his office is lacking in the technology department and wants to spend $1.5million on upgrades to add a kiosk and better access to paying water bills.  It’s odd that for a city with cashflow issues, as Sanders highlighted as a concern, would not make modernizing the payment process top priority.  It was only within the last couple of years that you can now pay with either a credit and/or debit card for city bills.

[California’s Largest Bank Invests in City of Compton’s Future]

Douglas Saunders cites he earns millions in bond revenue for the city along with invoking the memory of his late father.  The elder Sanders was city treasurer for close to 18 years.  When he passed in 1992, his son ran for treasurer in 1993, telling the people of Compton he would follow in his father’s legacy, and also touted his pending graduation from USC.  In a LA Times article dated April 4, 1993, Sanders proudly stated:

“I am the only person who has gone through accounting courses, who knows about finance and economics and who will become a licensed certified public accountant,” said Douglas Sanders, a full-time student who expects to graduate in May from USC.

[11 Candidates Jockey for Position in City Treasurer’s Race :  Elections: Some are trying to gain an edge by boasting of ties to Wesley Sanders Jr., who held the post for 20 years until his death.]

Twenty years later, by his own admission, Sanders still doesn’t have that degree nor has he become a CPA and “still expects to graduate soon”.  In fact, the treasurers department is NOT an accounting department, they are investors for the city.  Therefore accounting courses are not going to help with investing the cities money.  Compare his credentials to his colleague in Inglewood and there will be no confusion as to where his efforts could have been during the last two decades, in terms of increasing his skills to perform the job.  If every election your platform is: I turned in council members, I still have my daddies desk and I’m about to graduate, residents should be tired of the bullshit.

Jasper Jackson, on the other hand, is not looking for your sympathy vote, he has not presented material falsehoods of the truth in respect to his credentials, he is a current board commissioner, thirty year businessman and most importantly, is the only candidate to speak on transparency in the city along with reviewing the contracts awarded to vendors.  To continue to vote for a man who clearly lacks the skills and desires to improve his knowledge, is not someone who is interested in doing the best job. Sanders had a tough time completing thoughts, would ramble off government codes that where unnecessary and actually couldn’t remember those either for someone who does this job all day, every day.  NEXT!

The City Clerk’s office has the same issue.  A ton of “experience” but nothing to show for it.  Mrs. Godwin has been a city clerk employee for the last 30 years.  At the forum she stated, “who better to know how to run a city clerk’s office than me?”  Godwin attends many continuing education courses, is certified as a city clerk, but some of her statements where quite perplexing for someone with her resume.  Official city documents, dating back to the 1800’s have yet to be microfilmed?  Is the ink still legible?  This is why you can’t get requested documents because she admits they are in a storage room in boxes.  Godwin also failed to mention the most important function of the clerk’s office, publishing and receiving of bids for city sponsored Request for Proposals (RFP).  Her office receives the bids and opens them for awarding.  On the theme of transparency, Mrs. Godwin is not ensuring a transparent city when her office can’t methodically locate documents and generate revenue for copying costs.

Satra Zurita offered a great idea to enhance voting in the city by reaching out to Compton area high school students on the voting process (selective service currently recruits at the high school level) and creating city sponsored voting drives to increase voter participation.  Satra currently sits on the Compton USD Board of Trustees where the district has increased enrollment, increased revenue, boasts (3) distinguished schools and increasing the use of technology to better engage students and their parents, she is well versed in delivering tangible and quantifiable results.  Zurita is endorsed by all major unions (LACDP, AFL-CIO, Local 2345, SEIU 721) throughout LA County and in Compton.  I must also remind those not in attendance, Ms. Zurita never invoked the name of her mother, former councilwoman Dolores, for she has made her own name while being CUSD Clerk.  Although the job duties may differ, Zurita results are atributed to embracing technological advances to deliver out of the box ideas, to Compton’s children and she wants nothing less for the city in its entirety.

[Compton Unified delivers enormous gains in student attendance]

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results ~ Albert Einstein

Ms. Godwin and Mr. Sanders have devoted 50 years to the City of Compton and we thank them for their services, however, residents understand things will not change with the same leaders in place.  Kudos to the hosts of the event, it was well attended, organized and had good food afterwards.  Based on audience attendance, efforts to engage 18-35 year olds and Latinos, in the municipal election cycles are nice.  I wonder if CUSD has a political science club?

*Skyy Fisher did not attend.

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