By: Miya Walker, Candidate for Inglewood Mayor
What about us?
While the City is bursting at the seams with new development, the everyday needs of residents have been overlooked. After watching wealthy developers become richer in Inglewood – it is time to enrich the lives of residents and make us a priority.
We can re-imagine the City’s next chapter with a new vision – a vision inclusive of the community’s voice. I’ve dedicated hours listening to the concerns of our residents and they see the Inglewood Renaissance leaving them behind. Sure, entertainment venues offer benefits, but at a high cost to everyday life. Residents tell me they want transparency, thriving small and large businesses, safe, clean, non-congested neighborhoods, stable housing, uncomplicated parking, and great schools. In fact, I had the honor of meeting a longtime resident whom I will call Ms. MRJ who shared:
“The City has so much potential to do good [things] for residents. There is so much that can be done.”
Ms. MRJ represents a strong voice for the community. Residents just want to feel respected, acknowledged, and protected. As mayor, I want to fill these gaps and work toward a more responsive government that understands the needs of residents and solves issues.
I learned a powerful African proverb that has guided my decision-making and policy development as a public servant for over a decade:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
This proverb has taught me how to bring people to the table, identify problems, cultivate teams and relationships to find solutions, and then communicate progress and challenges. As mayor, this is the route I will take to address some of Inglewood’s most stubborn issues.
Residents shared a variety of frustrations they want to be addressed – namely transparency. We can invite residents to a budget town hall meeting before the budget is adopted for more clarity into how our dollars flow into and out of the City. The development of an Annual Community Report would also provide residents with more insight into the City’s plans. We can address communication concerns by introducing modern technology and serving our native Spanish speakers with translators during City presentations. I would also prioritize traffic congestion during event days. Additionally, it is time to revisit the Citywide Parking Permit Program. It has created a terrible system that charges families to park in front of their own homes, treating residents more like visitors.
Education changes everything. Residents firmly believe education should be one of City Hall’s top priorities. Yes, the City Charter is clear that the Inglewood Unified School District has full control over our schools. However, the District is losing 500 students annually, closing and consolidating campuses, and has lost local control for the last 10 years. While some progress has been made, there’s more hard work ahead. I believe the City can be an active partner with parents, residents, and the District to identify more resources to support our children. There’s no doubt we want to end receivership as quickly as possible. I have served as a higher education administrator for a decade, so I am familiar with some of the challenges the District is facing and can offer potential insight toward solutions. It is impossible for Inglewood to be a thriving metropolis without a strong school system.
Looking ahead, it’s time to expand our horizons beyond entertainment. It’s great to have venues that attract visitors, but the City’s future growth must include more investments in our residents. We need to set our sights on offering more opportunities for Inglewood residents to retrain for highly skilled careers and entrepreneurship. The median household income for Inglewood residents is less than $60,000 and 15% live in poverty. The City’s most profitable return on investment should be in our most invaluable resource – the people of Inglewood.
As California grows greener, our focus should also be on a more holistic approach to new development that encourages wellness and sustainability. In the process of growth, let’s not forget about our Mom-and-Pop shops. Thriving small businesses will help keep our dollars circulating in our own neighborhoods and add to the City’s prosperity.
Despite big new stadiums, Inglewood still has the heart of a small family town. I love that our city is incredibly unique; our neighbors are more like family members. We often share Sunday dinners, host block parties, attend church together, gather around special milestones, and celebrate culture. I want to preserve this spirit in Inglewood.
If given the honor to serve as mayor, I will be committed to change that is deliberate, transparent, and thoughtful. I am prepared to roll up my sleeves and work alongside Inglewood residents the same way I have spent my career helping to transform the public sector and higher education. By making people the priority, our framework for progress will be on improving the well-being and quality of life of residents. The work ahead is extensive, and no mayor alone can tackle these challenges by themselves. It is going to take a collective effort to fix what is broken.
Once we prioritize the needs of residents – then we can truly live like Champions.
My name is Miya Angelou Walker, and I am running for Inglewood Mayor. Visit www.miyaformayor.com for more details about me and my platform.