Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts continues his vendetta against members of the public who challenge his decisions with how he is spending taxpayer money. During the regular city council meeting held August 11 he angered residents by publicly identifying them during public comment despite them not giving out their names.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inglewood city council continues to meet in council chambers located on the 9th floor of City Hall. Members of the public are not allowed in the chambers and are relegated to assembling in Community Room A on the 1st floor.
Treasurer Wanda Brown, who has been highly critical of Mayor Butts since January of this year, has also been banished from council chambers and has to resort to making comments from the community room as a member of the public and not as a member of the council.
Butts unveiled details of his COVID-19 relief initiative for the city’s residents, who compromise nearly 60% of the total population, stating he is “fronting” $1.3 million from the city’s reserves to hand out $500 gift cards, to be spent however the recipient wishes. This drew the ire of a homeowner who called in during public comment.
“You have already taken out nearly $4 million from the reserves to purchase ten homes for first-time homebuyers,” said the confused residents. “You are not looking out for homeowners.”
Mayor Butts continued to call the woman by her name, despite her persistence that she didn’t provide it.
“The Brown Act does not mandate that we identify ourself to give public comment,” said the caller.
Butts made it his mission to identify all callers by their name before they started speaking. It caused those viewing the meeting on the city’s Facebook page to ponder whether he is suppressing public comment when they give their name to the operator moderating the phone calls.
The city expects to receive the funding back from the state although no discussion was given as to when that would take place.
Other residents were refused entry into the community room by Inglewood police officers. Why does Mayor Butts banish everyone from public participation when their comments don’t suit him?
City Clerk Yvonne Horton was forced to publicly declare on August 11, the nomination period as closing on Wednesday, August 12, despite her deputy telling 2UrbanGirls filing period closed on Monday, August 10. This gave potential candidates less than 24 hours notice they could still file.
According to the LA County Registrar’s office, when the incumbent doesn’t file to run for their seat, additional time is afforded to the public to pull nomination papers. This announcement should have been stated on Tuesday, August 4, however, the city cancelled the council meeting. This gives off the appearance that Horton intentionally withheld that she wasn’t running in order to give preference to her deputy, Aisha Thompson, who has a long standing relationship with Horton and her husband Jerome.
Horton pays for a weekly “feel good ad” promoting herself, in a local Inglewood newspaper, but never advertises official city business directly related to voting and/or election filing periods.
Residents have filed complaints with the LA County District Attorney’s office due to “optics” that Horton intentionally deceived residents to prevent them from running by giving them less than 24 hours to pull papers and collect the necessary signatures.
If this is the leadership Thompson plans on continuing, residents have no choice but to select her opponent, if they qualify for the ballot. City Hall employees have shared with 2UrbanGirls that they are not looking forward to working with Thompson should voters elect her.