The Inglewood City Council met this week in record time. On the agenda were two important items DR-1 and DR-2 which both were from the Finance Department. Unfortunately, those who were unable to attend the meeting in person, and instead wait for the video to be posted on the city’s YouTube page, are in for a disappointment as the beginning of the meeting has no audio for nearly ten minutes.
Council approved asset forfeiture funds to be spent on paying a past due invoice for Taste of Inglewood (TOI). TOI is the brainchild of event organizer Inglewood Planning Commissioner David Rice. Rice is the owner of the popular Spa 313 salon and owns extensive real estate in the city. Rice also owns a billboard, atop his salon, that regularly features Mayor Butts during election season.
Mayor James Butts called for someone from the Finance Department to explain DR-1, related to the GANN amendment, but no one appeared. Instead we had to hear Mayor Butts’ interpretation of the item.
The DR-1 staff report states that an audit recommendation indicates erroneous calculations were used for the change in population from prior years and that the auditors requested the city use FY 2018-2019 to recalculate the correct appropriations for this year.
According to the staff report, the GANN limit set for the city of Inglewood FY 2019-2020 is $119 million dollars. The FY 2019-2020 budget, listed as item DR-2, shows expenditures are $125,511,425. Due to the audio being removed from the meeting, we are unable to ascertain how the council voted. 2UrbanGirls confirmed with the City Clerk’s office that both items passed 4-0. Councilman Alex Padilla was missing and once again City Manager Artie Field’s signature was peculiar. Yulanda Parson has assumed the duties of initialing staff reports instead of Deputy to the City Manager Yakema Decatur.
The Inglewood City Council intentionally changed the council meeting times from evening to day, so that city staff who would have to present on agenda items, wouldn’t be at the council meetings for hours after the work day ended.
The day meetings almost never have city staff come up and give presentations and/or clarity of important items, unless they revolve around certain topics. Items DR-1 appears to be very complex, and important enough, for either CFO David Esparza or his Budget assistant Keauonna Buchannon to not only be present in council chambers, but to ensure the public has adequate knowledge of the council’s activities as it relates to our tax dollars.
The lack of clarity defeats both the intent and purpose of day time meetings unless the whole point was to keep the public away.