**Updated** LA Weekly asks if Compton Mayor Aja Brown can turn city around

Mayor-Elect Aja Brown

Mayor-Elect Aja Brown

Mayor Brown will most definitely be able to turn things around and that will more than likely require more than one term of office to accomplish.  Brown has the experience of understanding land-use and how critical it is to ensure the environmental safety of the residents, she is knowledgeable in negotiations and marketing to entice new businesses.

We can see changes happening.  Dirt is turning across from Gateway Towne Centre.  7-Eleven is preparing to open near the airport and rumors are the store might have a liquor license.  Now all we need is Crystal Park Casino to fix the side of the building facing the 91 freeway and a façade program on Compton Blvd, and the city of Compton is well on the road to recovery.  I have even noticed green grass at the schools and parks.  It’s a new day in Compton and even our county supervisor is pleased that former mayor Eric Perrodin is out.

This comment by Mark Ridley-Thomas caused me to laugh a little, “… Residents and others “were tired of Eric [Perrodin],” says county Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who endorsed Brown. “Plain and simple. His leadership was no longer effective. … Compton couldn’t pay its bills on time for the Sheriff’s Department, and [city] workers were generally fed up with him.”  Now if the County Supervisor acknowledges the thoughts of the residents, and backed Perrodin’s replacement, isn’t that the first step in the right direction?

**editors note**

On the City of Compton city council agenda for Tuesday, July 16th, there was a resolution addressing the planned 7-Eleven on Wilmington.  Apparently, the planning commission denied their conditional use permit, however, the city council was reconsidering.  The problem is, the Planning Commissioners are paid a stipend of $150/month to attend meetings, however, viewing the cities website shows the commission hasn’t met since June 2012?  Who’s job is it to update compton’s website with current information?  Is that a violation of the Brown Act?

PLANNING COMMISSION (5)                                                     (Derek Hull)

Atkinson, Elizabeth                                                                   09-20-11              6-30-15

Hill, Michael                                                                              03-07-06              6-30-13

Turner, Cleo                                                                              09-16-03              6-30-14

Wright-Green, Juanita                                                               09-09-03              6-30-15

Vacant (1 unexpired term ending 6-30-13)

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16 Responses so far.

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  11. Satra Zurita says:

    Well, it’s very unfortunate that one would assume that a colleague has ill feelings or is not supportive because one reporter claimed that she refused to comment. If folks paid closer attention, they would realize that Compton began to move in a positive direction when Councilwoman Zurita was elected two years ago. However, it appears the article written by a reporter who was clearly on the outside taking a recent look in.

    Three years ago when Zurita decided to run for city council she ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility. She boldly informed citizens of the city’s financial crisis. No one in the city had ever mentioned that the city had a looming $48,000,000 deficit prior to Zurita’s campaign for city council. I am certain that Zurita’s constant and strategic mention of the $40 plus million deficit paved the way for new leadership, but it appears there was no value in that.

    I wouldn’t interview with someone, on their terms, that considered me a charter member of the old guard. I consider that statement to be the one with the least merit in the whole article. Had he been familiar with the inner workings of the city, especially in the last two years, he would know that Zurita was the change agent on the council. However, she has not had the opportunity to celebrate making history as a 2 nd generation representative for the First District. With her victory, she was dropped into what seemed like “The Fight Club”. Constantly under attack for her head on approach to make government begin to work for the citizens and not for their or their cronies own benefit.

    She was elected to the city council during the worst financial crisis in the City of Compton’s history. She did not have the benefit of having grand public events at the citizens expense to gain favor. She got in, was courageous, challenged the status quo, and showed up and showed out every week on the citizens behalf, in spite of the unwarranted personal attacks and constant resistance from other members of the city council. What she did do, by raising limited funds through sponsorships, host quality of life events that would provide information and awareness, as well as free services that enhanced the lives of Compton residents. Zurita hosted the first ever Breast Cancer Awareness program, “Compton Walk For A Cure”, where over 400 residents, young and old, that included many breast cancer survivors from the community, had the opportunity to celebrate their lives and give testimonials. It was a grand celebration of life and those participants who had lost loved ones and those survivors appreciated the effort. She has made this an annual event that will take place in October. In her effort to increase awareness about the serious effects of childhood obesity, she hosted the City’s first, “Let’s Move Compton” event, in conjunction with the First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to curb childhood illness and promote healthy eating. She invited and solicited the services of many health and community service organizations that provided information and services to residents, young and old. Through a partnership she developed with Komen twenty five women in the community, who did not have medical insurance, received free mammograms in the Komen Race for the Cure mobile unit. This is now an annual event that will take place in September.

    While she would love to have grandiose events, she is much more concerned about citizens being burdened with high water bills, streets riddled with potholes and trees hanging so low they create safety hazards. She focused on making sure residents received basic services they were entitled to as tax payers. Her discontent with city services is what fueled her desire to serve. Since she was elected, over a thousand trees have been trimmed, and potholes filled. The city is no longer threatening bankruptcy and has a positive budget for the first time in 6 years. How phenomenal is that? In two years the city went from approaching the door of bankruptcy and their business as usual deficit spending to having a proposed $1.8 million surplus in the current fiscal budget. She fought to freeze the scheduled increases in the water bills (scheduled to increase every six months), while staff had the opportunity to develop a plan to not only stop the increases but assess the structure of the bonds and work to not only stop the increases but work towards lowering the bills. In light of the horrible circumstance the city was in when she was elected, she has done a phenomenal job in changing the culture that put Compton in such dire financial straits. Yes, she inherited some major challenges, to say the least, but she met them head on and worked to correct and make the best of a bad situation. The Metro Transit Center is several years over schedule and millions of dollars over budget. Zurita had nothing to do with that! That monstrocity of a water well that was placed smack dab in the middle of the baseball diamond at Sebrie Park, that has never been turned on. But she has worked to make good of many bad situations, and of course I may be biased, but it is evident that many of these things have changed as a result of her leadership and drive for positive change and transparency for the citizens of Compton.

    She and I both, are looking forward to working with new Mayor Aja Brown, as well as, newly elected Councilman Isaac Galvan, to continue to enhance the quality of life for Compton residents. Perhaps now we can finally put our guards down, and celebrate the history that we’ve made by carrying on our mother’s great legacy of service. It is noteworthy, that I served as President of the CUSD and she served as Mayor Pro Tem concurrently, causing us to be affectionately referred to by many locals as “Compton’s Sister Act”. I’m certain that the change in the council’s dynamic has given Councilwoman Zurita the opportunity to exhale.

    I believe that I have an open relationship with the editor of 2 Urban Girls and I was a little disappointed that the reporters opinion was shared as fact, when he certainly did not draw an accurate conclusion in his distant perception of Councilwoman Zur

    • UrbanGirl says:

      The article was shared in order to make more visible to Compton residents. The reporter discussed all of the reactions of city council members. The media plays an important part in how outsiders view the city and by the residents coming forward to speak out, whether on the LA Weekly original post, or 2UrbanGirls, it creates a dialogue that is needed. Media doesn’t attend every council meeting so they are left at the mercy of who will answer the call for a statement.

      Thank you for sharing the many accomplishments achieved and with the new members on the job for less than a month, the reporter could have chosen better words to describe his interactions.

      I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the council members and believe they are all working towards the betterment of the city. If Mayor Brown is continuously portrayed as an “outsider” that will keep up the divide between the old and new.

      Urban Girl

  12. Michael Hill says:

    It’s my hope that this rather new portal’s mission is to seek accurate information and not start witch hunts such as those we’ve been experiencing in past years. The nature of the question cited in the above article suggests that objectivity and accuracy of intent might not be the whole agenda inspired by such a contention of words. I deal in truth, period, having lived here since I was age 2, by my parents’ admission. I’m almost 60 now, and I’ve read many a word written about our city, often ill informed, yet designed to spark suspicion and controversy. The LA Weekly article seems the only one to deal with the objective truth in a way. I hope this doesn’t go the same way as the former OneCompton portal did and deal only with speculation. Yet I find it slightly amusing the contention cited about the commission knowing the writer has probably not attended one of our meetings, especially the one in alleged question. It raises an eyebrow when I was almost on the cusp of recommending it to a friend. Since I’m close to the issue and know firsthand what actually happened, it’s a bit of a concern because I sense other may read it and be enticed to speculate in error. We’re a quiet commission and our stipend barely covers a monthly bill, yet I do not serve for that reason. My collected stacks of agendas over the time served, as well as the two hours I and the other members spend bi-annually online certified ethics training, in compliance with State Assembly Bill 1234, as well as compliance with annual paperwork disclosing conflicts (Form 700) of interest that are filed with the State of California, having no other interests other than public service, I think should validate that I take this role quite seriously as do the others. I had to also clarify this truth, since I do not care for idle fancies of imagination when one writes and article or a blog. It’s misleading and sometimes causes the weak minded to err. Agenda or no. We get enough of that with certain attendees at the weekly City Council meetings. I’d serve if the stipend were nothing yet it’s in the city charter to compensate members of certain commissions accordingly. So if we’re your target, I’d suggest aiming a bit higher on the food chain. Desperation is it own reward sometimes it seems, when you want to make a point, yet have little fact to work from. Been there before. It’s why we all work for a living outside of our public service. Believe it or not. I may be actually wasting my time writing this since it’s the only other of two comments to the speculation. Our recommendations in terms of votes do naturally go to the CC for final approval and that’s according to the city charter. Perhaps you might avail yourself in taking time to review it. It’s linked to the “outdated” website you referred to. I imagine you have skills in HTML5 and Python so you can assist with it’s upgrade. Yes? I’m also a part time C++ programmer and have looked at the source code. Do you even know where the city’s webhost is and why? I do. But that’s information you’ll have to research for yourself before you become so critical. I even assisted IT in unscrambling a DNS issue it was having. So before you criticize too tersely, check your facts. Anyone can create a website. Even you. But to what avail, I wonder. A question only…if a city is in fiscal difficulty it’s so easy to judge. I ask the right questions of the right people in charge and I do get honest and reasonable answers to them. And I speak to them as a citizen should address them. Asking if I can help solve the problem. For IT is was easy peasy. ATT held the answers I needed. Coding takes time, talent and of course, money allocated. I think they’re working on it, so give ’em time to work the plan. This is not Walmart Corp with their billions of dollars in revenue, besides. Their website gets updated weekly and shuts down for maintenance. Critics are everywhere these days, it seems. But do they know how to fix things? Or are just good at leveling criticism to the masses? One has to wonder some days…

    • UrbanGirl says:

      Not targeting anyone nor the commission. The cities website doesn’t list any planning commission meeting agendas and/or minutes since June 2012. If you have experience in web design, perhaps you can assist them with uploading the documents. The LA Weekly article also cited the lack of up to date information on the city of Compton’s website. The city of Compton posts the agendas for all of the regular council meetings and gaming/housing commission meetings regularly except for the planning commissions agendas, how does that make sense?

      The reasons the conditional permit were denied was also not available. I raised the issue of the 7-Eleven as a sign the city was on the road to recovery by bringing in news stores to generate additional sales tax revenue the city so desperately needs. The Valero gas station has also reopened over on Compton Blvd after having cleaned up the underground storage containers that were leaking.

      The site looks at issues brought up by community members. Many whom live in the area of the proposed 7-Eleven are long time supporters of Miracle Market. They could see a drop in their business if 7-Eleven opens which is why we were asked to look into it. The LA Weekly article is positive in regards to the impending changes within the city as a direct result of new leadership. The author is also clear and open of how Mayor Browns colleagues think of her. To go as far as to say one council person wouldn’t even address the question shows a tad bit of poor taste. How are things going to get better for the residents if the council can’t get along and support one another? They are not mandated to agree on any issue, but definitely should be open to listening.

      In terms of fixing things, it appears that Compton residents are confident that Mayor Brown has the skills to bring about a difference, and their support was evident in the number of votes she received in June.

      Urban Girl

  13. Michael Hill says:

    In response our commission meetings have been and are always scheduled by the Planning Department and we’ve even raised questions at times about the lack of meetings for certain new developments in the city. If you review the votes on the Southland Corporation’s variance and conditional use public hearing it will put in proper perspective exactly the vote on one application at a location near the Compton / Long Beach border. I know of a second location that is advertising a new 7-11 to be constructed on site and that one has not come to the commission as yet. They have had the notice posted in the window of the site for some time, adequate probably according to DBC requirements and I have no information that I can actively share about their current status. I’d recommend you contact Planning and Beverage Control as to the status at present. No meetings of the Planning Commission have been held nor public hearings as yet on the second location in question. The request is for a Class 20 license and they’re located right across the street from a business who holds a Class 21 license and has had that status for years now. Just a response to try to clear up any misconception on our part. We’re currently comprised of only four commissioners and lacking a fifth member who personally told me she was removed from her seat, helping us often avoid a deadlock in voting, for political reasons. She ran unsuccessfully for a city council seat and was apparently removed sometimes afterward. Without having that conversation with her, I’d been under the impression that she’d resigned and with the changes in the Director of our department there was no clear communication forthcoming as to her reasons for no longer being a member on the commission, as far as I know, personally. Hope this helps clear up any possible confusion on matters raised. Thanks for your time.

    • UrbanGirl says:

      Yes you have cleared that up and thank you for taking the time to respond.

      Urban Girl

About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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