The city of Compton has faced many challenges this year that they are tackling head-on to ensure the city has the capacity to provide services to its 100,000 residents.
The city celebrated the restarting of street repairs and the patience of the area’s residents.
“I want to thank the community who have been very patient, and the staff who worked hard to make this day possible,” said Mayor Emma Sharif.
The city then welcomed two new members to the city council.
District 1 Councilwoman Michelle Chambers announced her departure early in the year and the city opted to appoint Deidre Duhart to the seat as opposed to holding a costly special election.
Duhart’s appointment was controversial as some residents believed it violated the City Charter, as the council affirmed her on a 2 to 1 vote, which many thought didn’t constitute a quorum. City Attorney Eric Perrodin provided his analysis to the contrary.
“The framers of our city charter were silent on the number of affirmative votes necessary to fill a vacant [council] seat but they were very clear that in order to have a legal council meeting to conduct business, at least three council members must be present,” said Perrodin.
The embattled former District 2 Councilman Isaac Galvan was removed from his council seat after a judge threw out the 2021 General Election results due to allegations of voter fraud. Galvan was replaced by Andre Spicer whose first act in office was to sponsor a gas giveaway as prices spiraled out of control.
Spicer partnered with singer Rhyan Lowery, a Compton native who is known by his stage name El Compa Negro to “provide the community with relief as gas prices continue to be high,” said the councilman’s office in a statement.
During the summer, Compton native Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and the members of the Compton School Board celebrated the groundbreaking of the new state-of-the-art Compton High School which will feature a performing arts school made possible by a $10 million donation from Young.
“I was an artistic kid in school with no outlet for it,” said Young. “I knew I had something special to offer to the world, but with nothing to support my gift, schools left me feeling unseen.”
Towards the end of the year, Compton celebrated receiving $12 million towards the rehabilitation of the Artesia Bridge, celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color lines in professional baseball, and Compton School Board president emeritus Micah Ali continued his fight against the de-education of Black boys through his annual education institute through the California Association of Black School Educators.
“We come together to talk about a topic that is very much important through urban America and that is what do we do in respect to the crisis of young Black boys,” said Ali.
Ali worked to eliminate the need for using standardized test scores in the admission process for college acceptance in the state of California.
The City was mired in some controversy as issues within the Compton Fire Department spilled over into protests by the personnel seeking a new contract and certified equipment to perform their duties.
The City’s finances became another hot-button topic when the State auditor’s office named Compton the #1 fiscally challenged city in the state.
Compton treasurer Brandon Mims continues to provide a sense of transparency to the residents holding regular discussions with the community to answer their questions on the city’s fiscal stability.
The residents took to the polls in November and overwhelming supported another $350 million school bond to make repairs to the district’s schools, rejected reducing the number of monthly council meetings from four to two, and approved consolidating local elections with the state.
Compton City Clerk Alita Godwin announced her retirement, shortly after the election, after serving the residents for over four decades.
“After more than 40 years of employment with the city of Compton, I have decided to retire effective Dec. 31, 2022,” said Godwin. With residents voting to consolidate elections, there will not be an election in March 2023 so the council will decide whether to appoint or hold a special election to fill the vacancy.
Finally, the City ended the year on a positive note with the renaming of the post office on Willowbrook being renamed for Pfc. James Anderson who is the first Black member of the U.S. Marines to receive the Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War.
The recognition was a joint project between Congresswoman Nanette Barragán and Mayor Sharif.
“This process began when I was a member of the city council and my friend who is a Vietnam vet shared with me all of the people who lost their lives during the war, many of which are buried at Lincoln Park cemetery so I got in contact with the Congresswoman and here we are today,” said Sharif.
We asked the mayor what she is looking forward to in the New Year.
“I’m looking forward to great things happening in Compton and we’re trying to make things happen,” said Sharif.
Cheers to the new year!