By: Emilie St. John
Inglewood voters in District 1 will vote for their representative after Councilman George Dotson failed to secure over 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff during the Nov. 8 election.
Inglewood residents have always believed that Dotson was a pawn for Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and at first glance, if you look at Dotson’s finance forms, Butts single-handedly financed his previous campaigns and each vote he’s cast alongside the rest of the council was with Mayor Butts. However, Dotson‘s 2022 campaign has shown some promise, and a lot more independence; and City Hall insiders share that Dotson has challenged Butts and other Councilmembers in closed session on many issues concerning the community, parking permits, traffic, public safety, plans to hire more police officers etc.
This has been corroborated publicly by Councilman Alex Padilla who said during the October 4, 2022, regular city council meeting that they disagree behind closed doors but show a united front in public.
This is a good look for Dotson, but the public needs to see more of this.
On the other hand, his challenger Gloria Gray, made it into the runoff without saying a word to the entire Inglewood community (with the exception of telling a PLANNED meeting with a group of seniors from Osage Villas, “I’ll figure it out once I get in office” and that concerns me. She has another community meet and greet scheduled for this Sunday, Feb 5 at 2 p.m. at 2300 W. Manchester Blvd. and I encourage residents to attend.
What residents aren’t readily aware of is that Butts has also financed a crucial campaign for Gray when she ran against Darius Leevy for water board in 2014. She appears to have repaid the favor when she wrote a letter to the Department of Finance to keep the NFL stadium from being approved in Carson as opposed to Inglewood.
Gray somehow managed to get herself on the board that oversees the Carson Successor Agency despite being an Inglewood resident. In essence, we can thank her for all of the chaos that has transpired since the council approved the NFL petition in Feb. 2015.
It was covered in this article in the Los Angeles Times.
Gray’s letter argued that a vote by the Oversight Board in connection with the project should be negated and asked that the Department of Finance perform additional reviews of the transaction.Carson, Inglewood jockey for position in race to build NFL stadium
“As a member, I have constantly expressed my concerns … about the lack of transparency and full disclosure relative to this particular action of the Oversight Board …” Gray wrote.
Gray is currently a member of the West Basin water board and under her leadership the agency was forced to start recording and publicly posting videos from their meetings after elected officials joined ratepayers in demanding more transparency from the five member board.
Gray has managed to be Butts’ “ace in the hole” should he need a third vote in the event their are defectors on the council. And based on Padilla’s own statements, there is trouble in paradise.
Gray’s failures as a West Basin and Metropolitan water board member have been well documented in the Daily Breeze with the board being forced to make their meetings public because they weren’t being transparent in their dealings.
Related: West Basin water board moves to record and post video of meetings after rejecting the idea twice
“Your governance and communications,” said a member of the Culver City council who the agency serves, “Should be as clear and transparent as the water you are providing us with.”
Gray is also a former member of the failed Inglewood Unified School District board and lives blocks from Warren Lane Elementary school. When the residents fought against the closure, she had zero problems with the closure.
As residents speak out at all things that have transpired as a direct result of the stadium coming to town, Gloria sits quietly on the sidelines preparing to do further harm to the city. Her track record at the water agency speaks for itself, her colleagues voted 38 to 0 unanimously against her returning as their chairperson.
Gloria Gray failed to protect women in the workplace and failed to promote a diverse workforce. Those aren’t my opinions; these are facts based upon multiple articles printed in both the Daily Breeze and LA Times.
Related: Questions about lack of diversity and racial bias roil major California water supplier
As a member of a water agency that is consistently in the headlines for lacking transparency and failure to adhere to the basics like promoting a safe environment for women and a diverse workforce, she’s never had to address the myriad of challenges faced by a city as a whole. She even had the nerve to say, she was the diversity. Implying that no additional diversity was needed.
Related: State launches audit of sexual harassment policies at powerful Southern California water agency
2UrbanGirls has called for the resignation of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. because he too has violated the City’s sexual harassment. policy when he continued a sexual relationship with his subordinate Melanie McDade, after attending several city-mandated trainings on it not being tolerated in the workplace.
Gray went so far as write a letter to County Supervisor Janice Hahn saying she has “no tolerance for sexual harassment or discrimination in any form…” but sits silently on the sidelines while Butts engages in such behavior. The Daily Breeze wrote about her support of the West Basin general manager who also engaged in such activities which resulted in a settlement on the backs of ratepayers.
Related: South Bay water board takes no action in light of new general manager’s sexual harassment settlement
Gray called for an audit of the water agency, when complaints came to light, and the audit found “decades” of problematic hiring practices.
State auditor asks legislators to hold MWD accountable for hiring, ethics practices https://t.co/iVLJRDvN5z— Daily Breeze (@DailyBreezeNews) April 22, 2022
Gloria hasn’t shown herself to be a leader in her current elected seat, so I wouldn’t expect anything different from her as a Councilwoman. In fact, the same patterns will be exacerbated under her leadership.
Calling herself an “independent voice” of the community is a joke when the community neither sees nor hears from her until she decides to run for a seat outside of the water board which always ends in her defeat.
Make no mistake we still have lots of questions for Dotson however; Gray has not provided the voters with any confidence in her ability to effectively represent this city, especially given her performance in other organizations that are found to be doing the opposite of what she says she’ll do to fix the problems.
Outside of strategically placed lawn signs, Inglewood residents don’t know what Gray stands for, what her plans are, or how she will make our City better. I guess it’s like she said she’ll figure it out later.
That is of grave concern to me and should be to voters too.