Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. is caught in a catch twenty-two, which could provide relief to a voter once they have their ballot in hand. What are we getting out of this tax increase is the question voters should be asking themselves when casting their weight behind Measures H and I? However, this week’s council agenda could provide a clue on what we should be asking for in exchange for a “yes” vote.
Early last year, Treasurer Wanda Brown began publicly sounding the alarm about the City’s financial condition. In return, the council removed her from the dais, locked her out of her computer/office, reduced her salary, and called her “unqualified”.
Brown’s lawsuit against the City is the sole closed session item on the October 5 agenda, where she has filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging wrongful termination, retaliation, and a host of other things.
Residents want accountability and transparency from this council, because it is well-documented about the City’s tactics to keeping residents in the dark. A former Inglewood city council and school board member is alleging she too is having trouble getting access to public documents related to these tax measures. Don’t get residents started on the parking permit program, and/or traffic.
What if we asked for:
- Full restoral of Wanda Brown’s extra duties dating back to Salary Ordinance 18-01, Section 13;
- Wanda Brown back on the council dais and allowed to give her full weekly reports;
- Wanda Brown assigned to the oversight committee attached to this tax measure;
- Wanda Brown having the sole discretion of at minimum three appointees to the oversight committee not requiring mayor’s approval;
- Wanda Brown having the sole discretion of designating her successor not requiring mayor’s approval.
“No public dollars will be used on these projects,” said Chris Meaney, developer of the Clippers Arena and SoFi Stadium.
Has the mayor come out straight forward and said the funds would go towards the people mover? Not in so many words because more questions would pop up he doesn’t want to answer.
And that is what hangs in the balance: cost overruns, will this people mover will actually extend to the new arena, increasing the cost. According to the City’s grant application, they pledged $100 million towards the project. The grant application detailed the City’s plans to increase taxes as a way to pay for infrastructure related to the people mover.
“The City is responsible for paying for our infrastructure,” said Butts. “We made Inglewood what it is and now we are handling our business,”
Why is it “our” responsibility? Taxpayers didn’t fund the monorail in Las Vegas, private investors did, and now hotel taxes from our visits will be used to pay for its maintenance and operations.
That’s how it works.
Because the council systematically removed all checks and balances from the City’s finances, they went against the will of the voters who have elected our treasurer in NINE elections.
Has the City publicly discussed how much the city projects to collect in fares and advertising revenue?
Residents don’t want the bulk of these taxes going towards the people mover, and not being spent in the manner being promoted by the council’s campaign website.
The people want accountability, and the best way to heal this divided City is to make Wanda Brown whole and return our voice to the city council.