“Don’t Ask, No Questions!” Pt. 2
Part 2 of 2: Compton Measure P Shocking Details and the Marijuana Initiative
Welcome to Part 2 of our two-part discussion called “Don’t Ask, No Questions,” a primer on the Compton City Council agenda items scheduled for Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 at 5:30PM at 205 S. Willowbrook in the City of Compton. Highlights of the agenda include the finally-revealed proposed budget items for Measure P and the opening discussion for the fate of the Marijuana Initiative in Compton.
Presented here in order and detail are several Compton City Council agenda items causing controversy and being questioned by the public. There are a total of 34 Agenda Items and their sheer number makes Part 2 of our discussion, of necessity, lengthy in nature. But remember, there is always a method behind the madness so this document is written to help you keep up and not be lost in the confusion as many citizens remain dubious whether the decisions currently being made are, first and foremost, by and in the best interest of Compton.
And while it is nonsensical to argue, believe, or state repeatedly that anyone in Compton is against progress, the absence of a written plan, an itemized budget, project descriptions, or a timeline–presented beforehand to the public like other cities have done –has created any manifested confusion and this late necessity to intensely scrutinize agenda items to assure “change” is controlled by and the vision of the people of Compton versus a single entity. The future of Compton is being written right now, one vote at a time, in the chambers of the city council. Wake up, everybody!
Here are some of the agenda items of concern in order:
#2 – COMPTON CAREERLINK A resolution to partner with Long Beach City College to pay $50,000 for job training for the Brickyard.
According to the city’s own press release, “$250,000 in seed money has been donated to create an industrial jobs training program in collaboration with the Compton Unified School District and Compton College District.” So what happened to the above two Compton entities conducting training when there was more than a year to plan and prepare? El Camino Compton Center aka Compton College, according to public pronouncements, was never approached by the City of Compton to participate, leaving many to wonder what this says about the college as a resource for the community, or the forces that decided otherwise. Also notably, Mayor Aja Brown and the developer bragged Compton citizens would benefit from “hundreds” of jobs as participants in the building of the Brickyard. Well, the project is nearing completion and the tsunami (tidal wave) of construction jobs never manifested. Now only 25 persons will be educated and licensed by this program. One can only hope the tsunami of jobs is still making its way to Compton.
#5 – MISSION TRAIL ADVISORS LLC A resolution to hire Mission Trail Advisors as financial consultants to the City Manager.
Compton consultant contracts are raining like water. While this company may be completely necessary, people are referring to this contract as just another example of the city’s growing dependence upon outside consultants. Citizens believe it is time to take a closer look at the collective costs of seemingly innocent contracts being voted upon weekly. They wish the council would do the same. Who and how many advisors and consultants are collectively employed by the City of Compton and what are their collective costs across all city departments? What missions are they tasked to complete and by whom? Some believe Mayor Aja Brown is steadily amassing her own loyal consultant squad, aside and outside of the ranks of Compton employees. The problem with this is the duplication of responsibilities and consultant costs being paid by Compton citizens through the issuance of contracts, and what impact this has upon the morale of city employees which is reportedly at an all-time low. The reason why so many questions is summarized in the following two quotes: “The devil is in the details” and “Don’t steal, the government hates competition.”
#6 – CITY TREASURER A resolution which includes the succession of authorized signatures and signatories.
While this resolution looks to be a necessity and improvement, some citizens are pointing out it is always prudent in Compton to ask the reason why prior approved city authorizations, steps, or policies are being rescinded and what is the effect of what is being substituted.
#17 – MEASURE P SPENDING PRIORITIES A resolution to set Measure P sales tax spending priorities and potential funding for the city.
To summarize, Compton residents wanted their streets repaired and the new fire station, first and foremost. The cost of streets (112 million) was thought by the public to be the biggest ticket item in Measure P. Now the budget has ballooned to 278 million dollars to start and counting, with incidentals distancing the cost for streets by 166 million. This prompted many to say, they would have taken the special tax on streets which needed a 66% voter approval versus Measure P with no sunset date, no restricted budget, and no parameters. Mayor Aja Brown’s hidden and unmentioned proposed pet projects—the Wilmington bridges, Performing Arts Center with parking, and a new City Hall—will cost a total of $120 million exceeding even the cost of streets. While the Mayor placed emphasis on parks (now questionably estimated at $15 million), she and City Manager Roger Haley failed to feature these higher-priced big-scale projects prominently in campaign literature. How many, opponents muse, may have opposed voting for Measure P if they knew these items were to be later included? 224 maybe, opponents muse, the margin by which the Measure won? .Projects of this nature need to be stricken then presented for vote separately so the public may have its say without being craftily deceived. Strike the bridges, the Entertainment Center, the parking structure, and City Hall and present these projects for a vote. Failure to do so, disrespects the public, jeopardizes public trust, makes transparency a joke, and lies to the public by omission. Only in Compton, some allege, could this happen. Try this somewhere else and politicians would go to jail after crawling from beneath drowning in recall posters. Not even some YES on Measure P voters saw this flip coming.
#18 – MARIJUANA INTIATIVE A resolution to schedule a workshop on the November 2016 statewide Marijuana Adult Use Initiative in September to discuss its impact on Compton and local control.
Ah, the Compton city council and the simple request. It is always the opening prelude to a Compton tragedy and Mayor Aja Brown sleight-of-hand. Banning marijuana needs to be done and it must be done now. No funny business. Draft the regulation. With Compton’s decades of history of violence and being a city ravaged by drugs, this should be a no-brainer for the city council. So far, 241 cities and counties have either approved some type of cannabis business ban or have one pending according to Marijuana Business Times. An even earlier report stated: “20 of the state’s 58 counties and 221 of its 482 municipalities adopted bans leading some locals to dub the trend banapalooza.” Surrounding cities that have totally banned marijuana include Long Beach, Cerritos, Gardena, Lakewood, Manhattan Beach, Norwalk, Palos Verdes, the Mayor’s own Pasadena, Pomona, Whittier, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Torrance, Thousand Oaks, Burbank and Newport Beach. And there lots of other cities lined up that have introduced bans that await final council vote.
Proponents, even those sitting on the dais, are only trying to buy time to finesse the pubic into some level of approval of marijuana versus a total ban. Expect Compton residents to be lured with stories of how Compton citizens are being deprived of participation in the industry, how much money and taxes could be made locally, how reformed drug felons in the industry now need jobs, and how those with an actual real medical necessity will be deprived. All wonderful, but as your mother told you–all money is not good money. Compton better watch who pushes and is line to profit by not enacting local regulations to completely ban marijuana. The city needs to move swiftly to protect from the incursion of outsiders purchasing land here to cultivate, or a proliferation of smoke shops and medical dispensaries. Every aspect should be completely and immediately banned as most other cities have already done. We want a total ban—now!. Compton council, get to banning. Pastors, churches, and bible-verse spouting politicians should be the first to agree. Now sit back and watch who argues otherwise.
#21 and 23 – WILMINGTON AVENUE SAFE STREETS PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE PROJECT A resolution to commence improvement of Wilmington Avenue using Sully-Miller Contracting Company A resolution to purchase street repair materials for their subsidiary, Blue Diamond.
Sully-Miller is a primary contractor that has worked with the Port of Los Angeles on the rehabilitation, expansion, and construction of one of the world’s largest container terminals including the West Basin China Shipping Container Terminal, and Blue Diamond is a subsidiary of Sully-Miller. Wake-up, everybody! This project as advertised will be to address the sidewalks and streets on Wilmington Avenue between El Segundo and Rosecrans Boulevards, supposedly. But theorist concerned about outside intrusion into Compton, the promotion of regional interest, or political payback (guess who?) are asking whether either of these resolutions relate or include or will precede the widening of any streets on Wilmington Avenue? Does the contract in any way fulfill a mandated street modification needed by the Brickyard to receive its Certificate of Occupancy in order to roll trucks or use Wilmington? Does it include or relate to bridges by any chance in any manner? A similar project called the Willowbrook Area Access Improvement Project has been approved on Wilmington Avenue starting at Imperial Highway and running to the border of Compton. How do these two projects relate? If any of the above questions are answered in the affirmative, theorist believe the project should be delayed until the public is apprised and allowed a voice in light of recent disclosures about the Ports Connector Truck Project and transportation interest that may now be in our city. Of course, Sully Miller presented the lowest bid, but independence upon a contractor with Los Angeles Port interest is also of concern. However, some listed improvements are commendable, but since the safety of our school children is of the upmost importance as pointed out in the literature, the Compton City Council should also immediately vote to erect signs stating “NO TRUCKS” along the entire length of Wilmington Avenue until past Greenleaf and the school adjacent there. After all, the children are our future. Also see #27 and #28.
#22 – LEUDERS PARKS IMPROVEMENT A resolution to make $188,000 in improvements to Leuders Park.
$250,000 in funding for Leuders Park was applied for in 2008 and has been sitting in Los Angeles County available since December 2015 according to the Los Angeles County website. The huge delay was due to the county awaiting the completion of paperwork that needed to be submitted by the City of Compton. This includes almost three years into this Mayor’s administration. Budget watchers have always contended Leuders Park and many other parks had financing so the Mayor held up and delayed projects to commence after passage of Measure P in order to take pressure the vote and take credit. This resolution will be the first of many park projects that already had funding that will now be unleashed and sliding down the chute finally for commencement.
#25 AND 26 – METROPOLITAN WATER AND WATER REPLENISHMENT DISTRICTS A resolution to import water ($400,000) and a purchase order $2,500,000 for ground water production assessment fees.
With so many wells and pools of water beneath the City of Compton, residents are asking who and why Compton has to import or pay for water. Listen closely to the answer and justification. The response speaks to the normal and continuing state of affairs in regards to water, and some feel the city is in a vicious cycle that needs to be halted and contracts better leveraged to benefit the people of Compton.
#27 and 28 EVANS BROOKS ASSOCIATES A resolution to pay $188,000 to this firm for grant writing and consulting services.
Citizens suggest the council not approve this company until the long-term strategy in Compton for transportation is revealed and approved by the citizens. The council is being asked yet again to approve a company many allege works exclusively for Mayor Aja Brown and regional interests and against the wishes of the people. Others are asking, what is the purpose of the city’s internal grant writing department if citizens have to pay dearly, yet again, for yet another outside consultant and grant writer. Evans Brooks Associates is another firm from Pasadena, the Mayor’s hometown, which previously had a contract with the City of Compton approved January 13, 2015 (item #5) to write three transportation grants at a cost of $56,100. This included the Wilmington Avenue Pedestrian/ Bicycle Project (See Sully-Miller items #21 and 23). Evans Brooks specializes in long-range strategic planning, government transportation grants and transportation projects, parking structures, roadway resurfacing and realignments, highway safety improvements, and transit-oriented developments
#31 – JASMYNE CANNINCK, PR FIRM A resolution to hire Jasmne Cannick as a PR firm for the City of Compton for $25,000.
Residents are requesting the Mayor recluse herself from the vote on this resolution given Jasmyne Cannick was also the PR person paid by Mayor Aja Brown and YES ON MEASURE P to pass the sales tax ordinance according to the Mayor’s official campaign documents. Citizens question whether the city council is continuing to approve to have citizens pay for a private squad of consultants loyal to the Mayor and not serving the general needs of the entire city and city council as specified.
#32 – STRATEGIC COUNSEL, LOBBYIST A resolution to pay a Strategic Counsel PLC for state legislative and advocacy services.
What exactly was accomplished by having the prior contract with this firm, some are asking. The achievements are not laudable enough for the consulting cost already paid some allege. According to the firm’s own documentation, Compton will be paying almost twice as much as other cities listed as comparison by the firm. Is this just another consulting firm crammed into this agenda that is actually controlled by Mayor Aja Brown and will not collaborate or report to the entire council? What also is the role of our city council in lobbying and advocating for Compton? Do they ever travel to Sacramento to lobby and present the face of Compton. This is just a sample of the questions being asked.
#33 and #34– MEASURE P ELECTION RESULTS CERTIFICATION & BOE CONTRACT A resolution by the Compton City Council to certify the results of the Measure P election and to enter into a contract with the California State Board of Equalization .
Citizens are requesting the vote on both of these matters be disapproved or delayed until the details of Measure P Item #17 are clearly decided. The state certified the vote on July 15th but the vote of the City council to certify the election is needed in order to write the Board of Equalization to enter into a contract to collect the sales tax revenue. Court cases contesting the results of the Compton election have been filed in Superior Court. Only 224 votes separate yes votes from no votes on Measure P. The consequences are enormous as citizens can now see. Opponents of Measure P and now even some Yes on Measure P voters feel there is no rush at this time to vote on Items #33 and #34 to quickly expedite the paperwork to begin the collection of revenue except to fulfill the wishes of Mayor Aja Brown and the many–developers, contractors, non-profits, churches, insiders–secretly in line to benefit. The commencement of the selling out of Compton has begun and some Compton natives have a part in it. Allegedly. “Don’t drink the kool-aid, Annie Mae!”
This ends our discourse on the importance of City Hall participation. We hope this helps and look forward to the public speaking out to protect the City of Compton and to ascribe their idea of a sensible budget and “Vison for Compton” that all citizens, including the 50% that voted against Measure P, can agree upon. Let’s work together.
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Watch cable or click her to view the Compton City Council Meetings Live: http://www.comptoncity.org/officials/clerk/agendas/video.asp
Next Council Meeting Council goes dark for the month of August so the next scheduled council meeting will be: Tuesday, September 06, 2016 @ 5:30 PM.
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Wake up, everybody!