Inglewood City Council unanimously approved Resolution 2201 October 5 in a perceived effort to keep the public from fully participating in the city’s business.
According to the staff report, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-08-21, on June 11, which set October 1 as a date for local agencies to resume in person city meetings in full compliance of the Brown Act. The city cites Assembly Bill 361, which allows them to “continue to meet remotely without complying with the teleconferencing requirements imposed by the Brown Act when local health officials have imposed or recommended measures to promote social distancing” during the proclaimed state of emergency.
This council, most likely at the urging of Mayor Butts, are seeking to squash public dissension related to the ongoing issues of parking, traffic congestion, and tax increases.
City commissions, specifically, planning and parking and traffic, have allowed the public to attend meetings, in person, since August. Once the council realized the residents were coming out in full force, to air their grievances, they implement Resolution 2201, the day before the regular planning commission meeting, which had residents up in arms over proposed zoning changes related to transit oriented development projects.
Despite the last minute meeting cancellation, a small group of residents met outside the Inglewood Main Library October 6 to discuss what is going on in the city.
“My Councilwoman Dionne Faulk hasn’t mentioned anything about this in her comments,” said Lori McCallum. “Mayor Butts is hiding from us and this isn’t transparency.”
McCallum had a letter in hand that was mailed to residents from the mayor, which he sent in order to “clarify misinformation” circulating in the community.
“I brought this letter and highlighted the areas of concern to me,” said McCallum. “Writing residents are ‘needlessly’ concerned about zoning issues is no different than when [former mayor] Dorn called residents ‘ignorant’ for voting against Walmart.” The mayor’s letter also points out the city isn’t doing their best when it comes to putting out information to the residents.
Residents are also in a state of confusion about proposed tax increases under Measures H and I which are being promoted on digital billboards throughout the city, and through mailers, without the proper campaign disclosures as to who’s paying for it.
On August 24, the city approved a $100,000 contract with Celtis Ventures, Inc. to promote the tax measures, to allegedly address revenue shortfalls related to the pandemic, despite seeing an overall increase in revenue for the current 2021-2022 fiscal year.
Residents have learned that should the proposed tax increases pass, a good portion of the money will be spent towards the automated people mover, that will connect the Crenshaw/LAX line to the Forum, SoFi Stadium, and Clippers Arena.
“The infrastructure is the city’s responsibility since it is on the public right of way,” said Butts.
Residents aren’t buying it.
“At this particular time we shouldn’t have higher taxes with all of it going into the general fund, because what they say you’re gonna get, we don’t,” said Lynette Lewis.
The ballot language discusses a wide range of city services the money will be applied to, but was very vague on how the city was going to “ease traffic”. Butts has yet to publicly acknowledge the tax increases are earmarked for the people mover.
“I’m against because it’s terrible how we keep being screwed over by this council,” said Leroy Fisher. “We shouldn’t be paying for a people mover. We’re already paying for police and being charged to park in front of our home.”
The city received $31 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to address lost revenue due to the pandemic, yet still declared a fiscal emergency. The mayor is adamant the city won’t spend a penny of it until they receive final guidance from the Treasury Department on how it can be spent.
The Treasury Department identifies “lost revenue” related to tourism as a manner in which the funds can be spent.
Will this people mover mysteriously be earmarked for “tourism”, and the Biden money becoming earmarked for that instead of awarding much needed funds to small business, youth programs, and city staff?
Simply put, Inglewood residents have lost trust in this council, and if the proposed tax measures fail November 2, they have no one to blame but themselves.
This is a new multi-part series “Eye on Mayor Butts” utilizing the lawsuit of Barbara Ohno, and documents from the Department of Finance, to corroborate claims by Treasurer Wanda Brown that the city is in dire financial straits. Butts gambled heavy on the NFL and with every day the stadium isn’t open to the public, the city’s financial solvency hangs by a piece of dental floss ready to snap at a moments notice.