Compton Mayor Aja Brown and the city council continue to endanger the lives of Compton residents with their overall inability to run the city effectively. With elections approaching in April, endorsements are being pulled, campaign contributions are drying up and political consultants fear the city is ready to implode. The leadership is failing residents and they can’t pray their way out of it.
The city’s fiscal woes haven’t improved under Brown. She came into office as the media effectively campaigned to oust multiple council members under the Eric Perrodin administration and their efforts to restore the Compton Police Department. Brown never attributes the city’s fiscal decline on that, she goes back to the prior administration, despite him being out of office for 20 years.
The city’s infrastructure threatens the residents safety and we aren’t talking about potholes. The city’s fire fighters were putting out a massive fire at an industrial complex, and when interviewed on the morning news one complained about the lack of water pressure that hindered their ability to put out the blaze. Residents called into the city council meeting requesting the city adopt a formal policy to test the city’s fire hydrants.
According to Compton Fire Chief Ronerick Simpson low water pressure from the hydrants is common.
“Early on, our hydrant had low water pressure, which is common. There was always water coming out and once pressure increased we had ample pressure to fight and contain the fire,” said Simpson. “The fire is now under investigation by the Fire Department Arson Team.”
Homelessness threatens public safety and health issues when the city doesn’t have the means to house the residents. Councilwoman Emma Sharif all but begged City Manager Craig Cornwell to find grant opportunities to address the homeless issues. Mayor Brown’s former assistant, Melissa Freeny, assumed the role of Grants Manager then mysteriously left. The city’s recent mid-year budget presentation failed to include grant monies received.
Brown has singlehandlely embarked on a public relations campaign to diminish the once good relationship the city enjoyed with the sheriff’s department. When crime became a hot button topic, Brown stood side by side with former Sheriff’s Lee Baca and Jim McDonnell. Now she has hopped on the bandwagon with Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl to publicly admonish Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Compton appears to be the only contract city, served by the sheriff’s department, to take issue with the services being provided.
Brown was emphatic that deputies are “terrorizing” the city’s residents, and provided a personal anecdote of a traffic stop involving her and her family and went so far as to state she had video. A video she has never been able to produce. These actions cause further divide in the city and her council mates idly sit by and watch.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is the “elephant in the room” who seize the opportunity to cry about “over policing” while remaining silent on the surge in crime and homicides throughout LA County. BLM-LA founder Melina Abdullah is never questioned by the media about the increase of crime, yet, is always happy to be quoted saying “defund the police”.
The city is now hanging their hat on a whistleblower, from the Compton station, who is alleging “large scale fraud” related to the billing of services.
Aja Brown is masterful at not taking responsibility for any of the city’s issues, and using the media to advance a narrative that the issues are 20 years old and not her fault she can’t get it right.
The city is facing multiple lawsuits involving city employees. One was involved in the death of a Compton resident when they ran him over while he was in the crosswalk. The employee failed to tell her superiors she was involved in the accident until the city was served with a lawsuit. The city manager is being sued for allegedly performing illegal search and seizures and both remain on the city’s payroll.
The city has a $113 million debt while employing a city manger and two assistant city managers while laying off low level workers providing city services. Public records requests seeking financial information have been stalled for eight months and counting due to “staffing shortages” in the controller’s office.
The city of Compton is barely surviving and candidates seeking the top position need better responses to addressing the city’s issues that don’t include sitting around the campfire singing kumbaya.
Residents need to think long and hard about who will become the city’s next mayor, and the council needs to begin the immediate process of searching for a qualified City Manager, before their city ceases to exist.