Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts appears to have maintained control of the chess board as the election updates continue to roll out of Norwalk in his favor.
Butts continues to maintain around 55% of the vote while his closest challenger, Fredrisha “Sha” Dixon clocks in with 16% of the total votes cast.
District 2 Councilman Alex Padilla faced one challenger and received close to 68% of the vote, while his opponent Bobby Brown collected an impressive 32% of the vote as a first-time candidate.
With the future of the Inglewood Transit Connector at stake, it was crucial for the mayor to maintain control of the city council to continue wielding the unchecked power he has over all facets of Inglewood’s governing body.
Butts had the foresight to know District 1 Councilman George Dotson was weak and would face the most challengers for his seat and we have no doubt that his alleged behind-the-scenes support of Gloria Gray propelled her to a runoff that the mayor so desperately needs.
After the Nov. 12 update, Dotson has roughly 32% of the vote with Gray on his heels with 23%.
Gray is no stranger to Inglewood voters, particularly those in District 1, where she has long relationships and name recognition having previously served on the Inglewood school board and its personnel commission, and then a member of the West Basin water board.
It was no fluke that the Inglewood Today newspaper printed a front-page advertisement calling for Dotson’s ouster and Gray’s election as the district’s best option. The newspaper is partially funded by the City and there’s no way its publisher Willie Brown would go against Dotson unless it was sanctioned by Butts.
It was done because Gray was the best option for Butts.
While Gray was serving on the oversight committee for the city of Carson she penned a letter to the state saying she was in favor of Inglewood landing the NFL.
Gray comes with her own baggage that voters may not be readily familiar with. Let me fill you in.
If you google “Gloria Gray + metropolitan water district scandal” you will see women weren’t protected in the organization while she served as the agency’s Chairwoman. There were also concerns within the agency over diversity and racial bias on her watch.
Things were so bad at Metropolitan Water District under Gray’s tenure as chairwoman that the city of LA threatened to cut ties with them over sexual harassment allegations.
Gray is alleged to have supported the hiring of a general manager at West Basin, where she has been on the board for over a decade, whose former employer had to pay out a $250,000 claim to settle a sexual harassment claim lodged against him that was covered in the Daily Breeze.
Sounds like Butts’ kind of colleague.
The mayor can’t sacrifice the Queen (Inglewood) by letting an “outsider” be elected to the seat. The City’s “future” is connected to him being in office.
He’s willing to sacrifice his pawn, Dotson, as long as he has another pawn on the board to maintain a unanimous voting body.
Padilla has already told us that the council doesn’t always agree, but their votes on agenda items remain unanimous.
With the City about $1 billion short on funding for the Inglewood Transit Connector project, it made the succession to Autumn Burke just as crucial.
Butts initially supported Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles to succeed Burke, but once Tina McKinnor won the remainder of Burke’s term, he switched his support to her.
And right on cue, after McKinnor secured a full-term as the Inglewood assemblymember, after the powers that be found Pullen-Miles a cushy job in another elected’s office to drop out of the race, she pens an op-ed in a local newspaper, three days after the election, asking for state support for the transit connector.
From the way it looks, Dotson and Gray are headed to a runoff that guarantees Butts will remain in control of the council for the next four years.
God help us.