Over 40 years ago, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was introduced by President Gerald Ford. The grant was enacted to provide municipalities monetary assistance from the federal government to develop housing, and was voted into law bipartisanly in 1974. 44 years later, the City of South Pasadena has improved sidewalks in affluent neighborhoods and has failed to do so in areas in actual need, and has seemingly forgotten that the CDBG describes its purpose as to “help local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities” and that the funds provided are to aid “the most vulnerable in our community.”
Since the launch of the program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has granted over $144 billion to cities across the nation to aid Low or Moderate Income (LMI) persons or families. However, the city of South Pasadena has continuously decided to use the funds in a different way. Every year, from 2013 to 2018, the City has spent over $622,000 on repairing or replacing sidewalks through a loophole in the grant guidelines to beautify already affluent neighborhoods. to make them compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
While South Pasadena is bettering sidewalks to make them ADA compliant, they are doing so in generally prosperous neighborhoods — including Diamond Ave, La France, Maple St, Wayne Ave, La Fremontia, and Primrose Ave. Furthermore, most of the residences along the sidewalks being repaired are single family houses, and the city asserts that the 2013 sidewalk improvement project was to, “reduce the amount of money spent by the City on claims, and reduce the City’s cost of liability coverage”. Despite the importance of modernizing infrastructure and making sidewalks ADA compliant, using grant money to defend the city from liability claims is in no way what the grant was purposed for.
Read the full article South Pasadena’s misuse of Community Development Block Grants
From 2UrbanGirls: Every year the city sends out annual surveys, to ascertain how their allocation of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds are used. They can be used to increase housing vouchers, repair infrastructure and a plethora of other things. In the city of Inglewood only approx. 44,000 residents that are “homeowners” were allowed to have input in the most recent survey according to Damian Pipkins, who works in the city’s grant department. There wasn’t enough money to send to every household, which would include renters.
The allegations of wrongdoing made in South Pasadena are eerily similar to allegations made by the former Finance Manager in the city of Inglewood who was fired for her discovery of such.
This is disheartening as residents, specifically renters, clamor for more affordable housing units in Inglewood. These funds would have been the perfect opportunity to increase the number of housing vouchers the city provides through the Housing Authority.
Instead of going towards the most vulnerable residents, the survey’s said the homeowners wanted their sidewalks repaired. So the money is going to continue funding the senior citizens meals on wheels program and sidewalks. Two of the largest voting blocks in the city.
In another perplexing switcheroo of the grant funds, the city of Inglewood previously spent CDBG renovating the soccer fields located inside of Centinela Park. They are visible from the Florence Ave. side. Residents were required to register with the Parks & Recreation department to use the area and had to pay a fee based on their income. Now those field have been converted to a football practice area for the Inglewood Chargers. Formerly known as the Inglewood Jets, the team has joined the Snoop League and is sponsored by the LA Chargers.
Mayor Butts uses the same loophole of “ADA compliance” to seize property from business owners and residents, along Century Blvd, to prepare for the NFL stadium being built and has now hijacked a CDBG project for the use of the affluent NFL subsidized little league teams.
2UrbanGirls has requested the details of the alleged “robust reserves” the city of Inglewood claims to have and our request didn’t yield any proof of such figures. We were only provided a dollar amount. When we requested the ledger detailing the account number the funds are held in and a transaction history of all incoming deposits, the city stopped responding.
2UrbanGirls has also requested details of the LAWA disbursements, of all payments coming in, the city wanted nearly $3,000 for printing costs. When we asked to view the documents vs actually pay for the printing, we are now getting the run around on how they will allow access to view.
When we altered our request a third time to instead obtain the information on CD, as another entity offered Joel Rubin at the LA Times and our request was not responded to.
Received a response from a California agency to a public records request . Two options, they say. Option 1: send us a check for $2,505.50 and we’ll send you hard copies of the 8,505 pages of documents we found. Option 2: Send us $5 and we’ll put the docs on a CD. Lemme think…
When will the State Controller audit the city of Inglewood and who will step up to challenge Mayor Butts in November?