The Compton City Council convened on Tuesday, June 2nd, to continue discussions on how to shore up a nearly $9.8 million revenue shortfall, regulate fireworks, explain the Emergency Standby Council and hear remarks from the areas state representative Asm. Mike Gipson.
City Manager Craig Cornwell was happy to report that after issuing a press release on Wednesday, May 27th, announcing plans to reduce the workforce, it appears those plans are on hold, for now.
“I am pleased to share that the City Controller’s office has found $4 million in cost savings which reduces the deficit to $5.8 million,” said Cornwell. “I am still working with the bargaining units to save jobs.”
The city voted in favor of an ordinance introduced by Councilman Isaac Galvan to address the use of fireworks. The new ordinance only allows them to be allowed on the 4th of July.
“Undercover operations have resulted in the removal of $30,000 of illegal fireworks,” explained Cpt. LaTonya Clark. “We will begin issuing administrative violations for those found not in compliance of the city’s ordinance.”
Councilwoman Emma Shariff asked City Attorney Damon Brown to explain the creation of the Emergency Standby Council stating she is receiving many calls about what it is and how it works.
Brown explained it is compliance with state law that allows for the emergency council creation in the event of either a natural disaster or declaration of war, where five members of the council are required to perform city business.
He reiterated they are neither paid nor serve on the council in the event of a current members absence. They only serve in the event of an extreme emergency.
Finally, Asm. Mike Gipson provided updates pertaining to the Compton Creek, MLK Hospital and the states revenue shortfall.
Gipson explained that for FY 2019-2020 the city of Compton was allocated $3 million to renovate portions of the Compton Creek. The creek runs through the districts of Michelle Chambers, Tana McCoy and Emma Shariff. The majority is located in Shariff’s district, however, the primary clean up activities are performed under McCoy.
Of the $3 million allocated only $300,000 was expended and thus the remaining $2.7 million went back to the state.
Woodlawn Cemetery, which remains in a complete state of disarray and potential health and safety hazard, is now abandoned with no clear understanding of who shall control activities at the cemetery.
The previous owner has abandoned all licenses to run the cemetery, which is the final resting place of many veterans who served in World War I.
Celestinia Bishop has brought the conditions of the cemetery back into the public spotlight as she has been performing cleanups, on her own time, to tend to her families final resting place.
Her mother, grandmother and three sisters are buried in Woodlawn.
“My memories of the cemetery date back to my childhood when my grandmother and I were let into the cemetery to sleep on top of the graves of my mother and sisters,” said Bishop.
Bishop’s family made front page news in the early 70s when they were found bludgeoned to death with a hammer and she was found by neighbors three days after.
“Our neighbors discovered us when my mother didn’t show up to church.” Bishop further explained.
The cemetery has no running water and prevents a monstrous health hazard to the neighboring homes that are on the opposite side of the cemetery.
She has enlisted friends to assist and Councilwoman Tana McCoy made it clear that the city would not be responsible for any damages suffered while performing cleanups at the site.
The city along with Gipson have formulated a plan to use endowment funds to find a conservator to oversee the cemetery and fix the broken water system but cautioned it would take time.
Finally, Asm. Gipson made a drastic announcement that the state’s budget $54 billion revenue shortfall will also affect the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital located in the heart of the 64th District.
“Budget cuts may force us to reduce services and without $30 million being allocated into the coming year’s budget MLK could close,” said Gipson.
Collectively, hospitals throughout the state of California lost a combined total of $3.2 billion.
Gipson told the city’s leadership he would not allow it to close on his watch.
The reopening of MLK was a monstrous feat undertaken by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas who made it a priority to reopen it.
Ridley-Thomas’ office was unresponsive to requests for comment on Gipson’s public declaration that it was in jeopardy of closing.
During budget hearings Sen. Holly Mitchell temporarily halted the budget cuts to state workers and hospitals in the hopes of the Trump Administration will send emergency funds to cover the states losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.