Part 1 of 2: Compton Measure P Shocking Details and the Marijuana Initiative
By: Cynthia Macon
Daughters of Compton since the 1960’s
Dear Fellow Compton Family and Supporters:
Mayor Aja Brown and her City of Compton Measure P one percent sales tax increase details are out in this week’s city agenda and the beginning price tag is an astounding 278 million dollars! That’s to start. That’s $7 million a year, 40 years into the future. That’s the revenue from the tax increase, taken from ten administrations looking forward. It’s all too much to absorb at once. The one cent she sold Compton on has turned into millions and citizens are stupefied and in shock across the city.
If ever there was a time for citizens to sit up and pay attention to Compton City Hall, now is the time. Extreme attention is being focused upon several agenda items being voted upon Tuesday, July 26th commencing at 5:30 PM. Citizens need to show up, keep showing up, and speak out in the most respectful and forceful of manners–but clearly, enough is enough.
Measure P Agenda Item #17 is fueling the most fire and outrage. Besides streets (112 million)–the only project most citizens really wanted to have addressed–Mayor Aja Brown has included 35 million to rebuild two bridges on Wilmington Avenue. Read: Just in time for the trucks to roll and never highlighted during her campaign. Citizens will be paying $50 million for a Performing Arts Center, Movie Theater, a parking garage, and an event center (read bingo hall) which Mayor Aja Brown stated would be funded by business and private donations like from Dr. Dre. Read: Massive liar, broken promises, luxury items, and never mentioned in her campaign, some allege. Citizens will be purchasing a new City Hall for 35 million. Read: Only the best for Mayor Aja Brown and a luxury the citizens and city cannot afford at this time. You will pay 15 million for parks when needed improvements were budgeted at 3.5 million just last year in 2015. Read: Where is the extra money going or why so much all at once? You will be financing Jackie Robinson Stadium which needed only $45,000 in improvements according to the Brickyard Community Benefits Agreement, a budget that has now jumped to 3.5 million dollars. Read: What you know about that! You will pay 10 million dollars for the Sheriff Station and 5 million for Citywide Economic Development Incentives. Read: Incentives equal payouts, some decry. And this is just the beginning. Stay tuned.
Marijuana in Compton is also on the Agenda as Item #18. There is a statewide initiative on Marijuana scheduled for the November 2016 Presidential election. 241 cities of 482 in the state have already enacted legislation to ban marijuana, entirely. With Compton’s s history of drugs accompanied by violence and death, the City of Compton should be running to lead the pack to enact legislation to totally ban medical dispensaries, close existing shops, and ban grow mills through land-use regulation or ordinance prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana. Instead the City of Compton is proposing a “workshop” be held on September 13, 2016 at 5:45 PM. Citizens are rallying to ban marijuana immediately in Compton like the many other cities. It really is just that simple. Marijuana opponents are declaring each council person who does not vote to ban marijuana will face a recall as there is a belief the industry is poised to rush into Compton. Proponents with ulterior motives and little understanding of Compton’s bloody history, they assert, are behind trying try to halt the ban and capitalize upon getting marijuana approved to stay in Compton.
The fate of Measure P returns again before the Compton City Council as Agenda Items #33 and #34.Citizens are requesting the vote on both of these matters be disapproved or delayed until the details of Measure P Item #17 are clearly decided. The state of California certified the vote on July 15th which serves a different purpose from the City Council vote. The Council vote is to certify the election and is needed in order for the City Manager to write the state Board of Equalization to enter into a contract to commence collection of the sales tax revenue. Only 224 votes separated “yes” votes from “no” votes on Measure P and court cases contesting the results of the Compton election have been filed in Superior Court. The consequences are enormous as citizens on both sides have now come to realize. Opponents of Measure P and even some Yes on Measure P voters feel there is no rush at this time to vote on Items #33 and #34 except to fulfill the wishes of Mayor Aja Brown to expedite the collection of revenue before details with the Council and voters are even ironed out. They are urging the Council to vote negative for now on Items #33 and #34.
Other agenda items under the microscope and being questioned by citizens involve the city’s s growing dependence upon hiring outside consultants (Items #2, 5, 16, 19, 27, 28, 31, and 32). Examples include Long Beach City College versus Compton College to do training for the Brickyard, a city council consultant, a financial consultant, a transportation strategic consultant and grant writer firm, a PR Person, and a state lobbyist. Evans Brooks (#27 and 29) is a firm from the Mayor’s city of Pasadena specializing in transportation returning for yet another contract, three times the size of its 2015 contract. Some feel this firm is tied into the bridges and Wilmington Avenue and we are paying consultants that are working for the Mayor and sometimes against our interest. The lobbyist Strategic Counsel (Item #32) is being hired at almost twice the cost of the surrounding cities it indicates and citizens are wondering why such an exorbitant contract.
Some citizens are requesting the Mayor recluse herself from voting on Item #31 given the PR consultant Jasmyne Cannick was paid by the Mayor to work on Measure P. Citizens believe this to be a direct conflict of interest. Her contract also represents the second firm in just two weeks that either contributed (International Financial Solutions) or was paid (Ms Cannick) to work on Measure P that is now seeking approval of a contract with the city. Some citizens allege these two contracts reflect a continuing pattern of patronage and compensation they expect to continue under Mayor Aja Brown’s leadership. Planned improvements for Wilmington Avenue (Items 21 and 23) as well as Leuders Park (22), plus the purchase of water through two different Water Districts (25 and 26) are also under scrutiny.
Finally, some residents who voted affirmatively for Measure P are now expressing their regret. They now feel “hoodwinked, bamboozled, and led astray” given the new emerging details and facts about the budget. An accurate observation some say, but now all will pay—forever—for the mistaken illusion of a difference of just 224 deceived voters. Essentially, Compton gave an open purse to an urban planner signaling development without regard to cost in her mind, some fear. Yet other enraged citizens declare Measure P was brought to you courtesy of an egomaniac Mayor obsessed with her image and career path who is showing total disregard for today’s economy which is leaving families homeless; Compton homeowners under the burden of property taxes fueled by bonds; or the intellect of the citizens of Compton.
In Part 2 of “Don’t Ask, No Questions” and for those readers so inclined, we will continue in detail our discussion of the many controversial agenda items, 34 in total, scheduled before the Compton City Council on Tuesday, July 26th. The Council will then go dark for the month of August so the next scheduled council meeting will be Tuesday, September 06, 2016 @ 5:30 PM. This ends Part 1 of our discourse on the importance of City Hall participation. We hope this helps and we look forward to the public speaking up to protect and convey its own Vision of Compton.
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Wake up, everybody!