The Inglewood City Council convened Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to approve a litany of items and the first order of business was addressing a dubious payment on the city’s warrant register related to a racial injustice protest held at the Forum.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts made a motion to pull and void a $4900 payment to Guy Black, radio jock with KJLH. The event in question was a rally/protest about police brutality that was held in the parking lot of the Forum on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Butts explained that staff in the Public Works sanitation department, entered into negotiations with Guy Black. The staff, either Adrian Grimes or Environmental Services Manager Angela Williams, are normally charged with arranging trash receptacles, porta potties and event entertainment for city sponsored events.
Black’s payment was coming out of the city’s sanitation fund. Why?
Butts further explained that the city used a “community day”, negotiated with the owners of the Forum, to host the event. The event was held at a time when City Hall was closed to the public due to limited staff working because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The flyer for the event didn’t feature the city seal but did advertise that remarks would be made by Mayor Butts.
Typically, city sponsored events have to go before the full city council for a vote and especially to approve subsidizing police staffing. None of this took place, which opens more questions as to how the event organizers were able to apply for the required special event permit, attend the Permits and Licenses Committee meeting for approval and pay for police staffing, with City Hall closed.
The city has a photo album of the “George Floyd protests” that took place in the city, on its official Facebook page with photos taken by Thomas Bunn who is the city’s social media manager.
“You should be looking into whether the city violated Government Code 54964 and/or 8414 for using taxpayer funds for a political event,” said an elected official who requested anonymity. “This also jogs my memory in a case between Stanson v Mott.”
If this were a city event why didn’t it go before council for approval? Why are taxpayers subsidizing police, stage, sound and sanitation costs for a private event? How much have the event organizers paid to the city? Are they Inglewood residents?
The event was billed as “sponsored” by Inglewood Mayor James Butts and the Forum “donated” by Steve Ballmer which means it wasn’t the “community day” Butts said it was.
Shouldn’t the funding have come from Mayor Butts’ OWN pocket or his campaign funds? Instead he used CITY RESOURCES (police, sanitation and the city’s social media team) without approval and the council stood by today and didn’t say a word.
Is Ballmer being generous to get a favorable vote on his Clippers arena approval?
Mayor Butts isn’t allowed to use city funds, to sponsor private events, without council approval.
These are the financial irregularities Treasurer Wanda Brown continues to speak about during weekly council meetings that the mayor spends taxpayers money however and whenever he sees fit without regard for the law.