By: Emilie St. John
Inglewood’s District 1 voters are demanding change by way of their vote as they took to the poll’s March 7 in the city’s first runoff election since 2011.
West Basin water board member Gloria Gray jumped out with an early lead by taking 65% of the votes cast. Incumbent Councilman George Dotson received 35%.
“There is a new day in Inglewood,” said Marvin McCoy, a longtime Inglewood resident and regular attendee of the weekly city council meetings. “Gloria Gray has a mandate that the people want a voice on the city council.”
The County Registrar’s office began releasing the votes after the polls closed at 8 p.m. which included vote-by-mail ballots and early votes cast between Feb. 25 and March 6.
The County provided a second update at 9:34 p.m. which included all votes cast at the polling location on election day.
According to County records, District 1 has 17,526 eligible voters and only 2,293 cast votes by March 7.
An unknown number of ballots remain outstanding and the County will provide another update on Friday, March 10.
Dotson has been under scrutiny since taking office in 2013 after Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. pledged tens of thousands of towards his election to oust then-incumbent Mike Stevens. The loans provided to Dotson from Butts’ campaign account remain outstanding.
Residents across the City have grown increasingly unsatisfied with the manner in which the city is being run under the heavy hand of Butts that results in minimal input from the resident’s, something that Gray pledged to address while campaigning.
“I want to make sure we have an open government, making sure City Hall is available to the residents and transparency is very important and to do that you have to be able to participate with the decision-making process,” said Gray. “
Most cities around the South Bay provide budget workshops to gain community input on how the revenue is spent but not Inglewood. Residents have also been shut out of the Police Oversight Commission which hasn’t met in over 7 years.
The biggest thorn in the resident’s side is the parking and traffic congestion issues generated by the city’s sports and entertainment district.
The city implemented a citywide permit parking program that charges residents, particularly those living in District 1, upwards of $100 to park their cars in front of their homes
Residents have taken to signing petitions and formally requesting the City’s Parking and Traffic Commission to be removed from the program.
Every city commission is stacked with commissioners that have to be approved by Mayor Butts before they can be appointed.
District 1 includes many high-profile assets including the Kia Forum, Inglewood Park Cemetery, and borders SoFi Stadium and the Hollywood Park Casino.
The winner will be faced with the daunting task of addressing public dissent about the upcoming Inglewood Transit Connector project which will wipe out dozens of small businesses and cut through Downtown Inglewood to connect the Metro K Line to the sports and entertainment district.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist for 2UrbanGirls.com and contributing writer for the Los Angeles Wave newspaper.