City of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. had a great day on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. He and the members of the city council unanimously approved the environmental impact report (EIR) for the proposed Clippers arena. Members of the public, including this author, sat through an unusually long, two hour meeting, that began at 2pm. Inglewood residents viewing the meeting on the city’s Facebook page posted upwards of 500 comments to the meeting. Now a little over 25 hours later those comments have disappeared.
The city’s social media team, under direction of a deputy city manager, has removed the original live meeting from July 21, 2020, and uploaded a comment free version on July 22, 2020, hours before the publishing of this article. It is becoming commonplace for them to remove comments that are unflattering to Mayor Butts.
In August 2018 the social media team altered the regular city council meeting video where Mayor Butts told a long-time Inglewood resident to “choke herself”. Mayor Butts was caught in a lie, saying he never made the comment, until another resident played evidence during a subsequent meeting. Mayor Butts then called for the Sergeant at Arms to remove the speaker from the podium.
Members of the community, who left comments on the original version of the July 21, 2020 meeting, expressed their concerns about the mayor’s continued censorship of the public.
“The city refused to allow me to give public comment,” said activist Billiongodsun. “I called in multiple times and was left on hold despite telling the operator I wanted to speak.” He then forwarded copies of the call log to us.
Butts was also the subject of a federal lawsuit that alleged he ignored the constitutional rights of suspects in a murder investigation during his time leading the Santa Monica Police Department.
City Treasurer Wanda Brown has also become more vocal about Mayor Butts’ actions, and as a result he has removed her from speaking to the public. The council continues to state Brown was given the opportunity from past administrations, however, they didn’t remove her until she stopped heaping praise on the mayor that he didn’t deserve.
Mayor Butts enjoys the freedoms of not being investigated by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey as Inglewood residents have lodged numerous complaints with her office that have gone ignored and unanswered. Her office also conveniently lost a file related to a previous investigation of Mayor Butts involving the city’s trash contract.
The social media department is in violation of the City of Inglewood Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Specifically:
- Rule VI, Section 4, k). Improper or unathorized use of city property;
- Rule VI, Section 4, n) Any willful act of conduct undertaken in bad faith which during duty hours is such a nature that it causes a discredit to fall upon the City, the employee’s department or division
The continued altering of city records and public comments shouldn’t be tolerated and for a mayor, who continues to rest his laurels on his “integrity” he should also find these actions despicable, unless he directed them to do so.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s failure to investigate the numerous documented incidents of public records, under the leadership of Mayor Butts, gives the impression that she is turning a blind eye because he is a former cop and based on her track record, she never prosecutes a cop.
Councilmembers George Dotson, Ralph Franklin, Eloy Morales, and Alex Padilla sit at the council every week, and make no mention of the destruction of city records to avoid public scrutiny.
Perhaps Inglewood residents should make their displeasure LOUD AND CLEAR at the ballot box, this November, and remove Eloy Morales, Ralph Franklin and Jackie Lacey from elected seats that no longer belong to the public who voted them to represent US.