The West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss the agency’s Incompatibility of Office Doctrine during its April 24 meeting.
The agency will look at issues raised by multiple media outlets, including 2UrbanGirls, regarding Gloria Gray’s intention to remain serving as a West Basin board member while simultaneously holding a seat on the Inglewood City Council.
The issue was raised by 2UrbanGirls almost immediately after Gray was announced as the winner of the Council District 1 runoff election held March 7. When interviewed by the Daily Breeze weeks later, Gray said she had no intentions of stepping down from the water agency which provides water to Inglewood residents.
“My intention is to serve my constituents in both capacities,” she said. “I’m focused on the issues in the city of Inglewood and I’m focused on the issues as it relates to West Basin.”
In an interview conducted by Jason Henry with the Daily Breeze, which ran October 29, Gray said she would give up the [West Basin] seat if she was elected to the City Council and it is deemed a conflict.
When interviewed by the same journalist last week she claimed to “not recall” telling him that.
The April 24 item is scheduled on the information calendar with no reported action being taken on that date.
Gray’s water board colleague Don Dear told The Breeze he would seek a legal opinion on the matter considering she had not.
“If there’s no conflict of interest, it’s fine. If there is, then she’ll have to quit one of the jobs,” he said. “She’s doing a great job on the water board and I’d hate to lose her.”
Gray is a long-time elected official serving on various elected boards dating back to serving the Inglewood school board. She was a member of the city of Carson’s Oversight Committee during the time former Mayor Albert Robles was being sued by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for doing the same thing.
Former Carson Mayor Albert Robles was removed from the board of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California in 2018 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
The lawsuit alleged that holding the job of mayor and being director of the water agency at the same time was a conflict of interest and violated state law.
The positions are “incompatible under [the law] because the WRD and the City of Carson have overlapping territory, duties, and responsibilities, and a clash of duties is likely to arise in the exercise of both offices simultaneously,” according to the civil complaint.
In fact, the DA’s office has gone after three Latino elected officials for sitting on both the city council and the water agency that provides their water.
“This is a case of reverse racism,” said a Latino elected who did not want to be identified for this article. “Why would the DA’s office publicly state they wouldn’t request to sue Gray when they just obtained a ruling from Attorney General Rob Bonta in January for the same matter?”
In January of this year, the District Attorney’s office received approval from Attorney General Rob Bonta to sue La Puente Councilmember David Argudo for sitting on both the city council and the board of the La Puente Valley County Water District.
Argudo could “face a conflict between the interests of the Water District in ensuring adequate revenues and the interests of the City and its residents in minimizing water costs,” according to the opinion written by Deputy Attorney General Karim J. Kentfield. “A conflict could also arise if the City and the Water District negotiated a contract or acted in areas of overlapping authority.”
The District Attorney’s office said ‘urrently, PID [public integrity division] is focused on allocating resources to criminal actions.”
Latino elected officials reject that idea.
“To claim this about ‘allocation of resources’ is a farce and shows DA George Gascón is compromised,” said the same official.
Gray is expected to attend the meeting where the board is being asked to approve a $2,500 sponsorship of a pancake breakfast for Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles and establish water availability/stand-by charges for the new fiscal year which could impact Inglewood.
Gray has announced Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass will swear her in at a community event on April 29 on the south lawn of Inglewood City Hall.
The public is invited to participate in the April 24 meeting which will start at 1 p.m. and available over Zoom.
Emilie St. John is a contributing writer for 2UrbanGirls.com and the Los Angeles Wave newspaper
There are several things we need to ask ourselves about this issue
Is Gloria Gray is Not a person whose behavior aligns with her words ?
If Not why Not?
Sadly no one else or event can be blamed if Gloria Gray Indicated to a reporter that she would resign from the Water District seat,The comment was in response to a direct question and the response was a stand alone statement that she would step down if elected – without conditions. To not do so may be an indication the statement was to influence voters.
“I don’t recall” oh dear wasn’t one of the issues with her opponent a concern over mental sharpness? If she had not made that statement,, she would have called attention to newspaper article and would have attempted to correct the impression given or at least say she was misquoted, wouldn’t she?
As for the DA’s office…..
Sadly the concept of “INEQUITY” appears to be the motto the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Office which seems to choose who to prosecute from pre-determined friend and foe lists. Who does and who does not get prosecuted for the same crime does not seem to be based on the dull drab boring this is right that is wrong justice but on another sliding scale.
Here are just a few questions we can think about :
Will Gray be getting a free pass because she is not of Latin descent?
or because she is female rather than male?
or is it because she can be counted on to please a special interest no matter the impact on the residents?
What we should ALL expect is that those we elect beof honest and truthful character
Their decisions (weekly votes) should not be influenced by where the money their campaigns used to win our votes came from. No not even if it was another elected.
And The District Attorney’s Office should not have a double standard!
Unfortunately it currently seems the the. District Attorney’s Office has a sacred cow thought pattern when it comes to Inglewood connected, we then must be very aware of each and every vote we see and more importantly those behind closed doors,