Yesterday was quite hectic in Inglewood, CA. Tuesday, June 19th, there was a five car pile up in front of City Hall, City Clerk Yvonne Horton received notification back on signature verification for the rent control petition, and Mayor James Butts possibly violated the Brown Act by adjourning the regular city council meeting, during public comment, to avoid being served with a(nother) lawsuit.
Prior to the start of the regular City Council meeting, video circulated of a massive car accident at the intersection of Manchester and Grevillea and around the corner in the South East turning lane from La Brea onto Manchester. There were no reported casualties.
During the regular city council meeting 2UrbanGirls is noticing a new trend where departments are not giving presentations on items on the agenda needing action from the city council.
The public was due to hear a presentation on an audit of Air Quality Management District (AQMD) funds yet when Assistant Finance Director Sharon Koike and one of the auditors came forward, her only comments were to thank Finance Department staff for their help in correctiring “errors” that the public weren’t privy to know about. When Koike asked if the Mayor and/or council had any questions for the auditor at the podium, Mayor Butts responded “we already had the presentation”. Apparently Koike’s praise for her staff was sufficient.
Melanie McDade-Dickens appears to have been demoted. In February of this year McDade-Dickens was named “Parking Director” in a move to save the city money. After 2UrbanGirls and Daily Breeze reported on McDade-Dickens salary and benefits package swelling to over $312k annually, subsequent staff reports from the Parking and Enterprise Department declared her status as “Acting”. On yesterdays staff report, listing reduced enforcement of parking hours at one of the city’s library, there was no public discussion from any member of the Parking management team and McDade-Dickens is now listed as “Executive Assistant to the Mayor and City Manager”. Apparently the city is listening to the residents concerns that she was never qualified for the job in the first place, despite the Mayor’s stating such in his Facebook group Eye on Inglewood.
Agenda item CSA-3 was a request to the Oversight Board to direct the Successor Agency to Implement the Approved-Long Range Management Plan with respect to the Long-Term Use and Disposition of the LAX Noise Mitigated Properties Parcels 1-13. The published staff report fails to identify parcels 1-13 and again, no appearance from Successor Agency Manager Margarita Cruz or Royce Jones from Kane, Ballmer and Berkman.
An article appeared in USC run newspaper Neon Tommy that alludes to the city of Inglewood owing the State of California $100 million dollars for money the city spent on rehabing the Forum and Affordable Housing that was to be built on the Hollywood Park site.
Though some community members expressed concern that the city loaned $18 million to The Madison Square Garden Company for the purchase of The Forum, and another $21 million to the Hollywood Park Tomorrow Project, loans that will both eventually be forgiven, both Cruz and Inglewood Mayor James Butts have said that the city’s relationship with these entities is mutually beneficial.
Both developments are required to provide compensation to the city: $600,000 a year in revenue from The Forum, and $100 million in tax increments toward the Successor Agency from the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project, plus an additional $40 million in tax increments for affordable housing initiatives. The Forum was also held to a strict local hiring requirement, and is required to allow the city access to its property for things like community yard sales for a set number of days each year, said Cruz.
During the regular city council meeting held February 24, 2015, to authorize the NFL stadium at the former Hollywood Park site, developer Wilson Meaney was quick to publicly note that the CITY requested that no affordable housing be built on the land.
And finally, as the Uplift Inglewood (UI) coalition continues to advocate for affordable housing, on the proposed public land most likely identified in agenda item CSA-3, a representative from UI, Michael Wilson, presented at the podium to serve a lawsuit to the mayor and city council over their pledging public land to a private entity, not identified as an affordable housing developer, as outlined in AB 2135 commonly known as the Surplus Land Act which requires that when cities, counties, transit agencies and other local agencies sell or lease their land, they must prioritize it for affordable housing development.
Instead of allowing City Attorney Ken Campos or Deputy City Clerk Aisha Thompson to receive the lawsuit, which is legally allowed to be accepted during the council meeting as verified with the Inglewood City Clerk’s office, Mayor Butts most likely violated the Brown Act when he abruptly adjourned the council meeting in the middle of public comment, which didn’t allow assembled residents to speak on items not listed on the day’s agenda.
2UrbanGirls contacted the City Clerks office to verify whether the rent control petition signatures were verified and the response was:
Nearly 13,000 signatures were submitted for the Rent Control petition of which 7,387 were deemed ineligible, thus the petitioner has requested to contest the results which will take another 20 days.
In short, it appears the Uplift Inglewood coalition didn’t gather enough signatures, in the event there were errors, to enable the measure to be placed on the November ballot.
In comparison, the NFL petition turned in over 20,000 signatures where nearly 11,000 were ineligible which left the remaining amount sufficient to get the measure before the council or voters.
One would think that Uplift Inglewood member D’artagnan Scorza, who was the face of the NFL stadium and signature gathering efforts, should have been well aware of the need to bring in not only more than 13,000 signatures, but also wouldn’t have waited until a week before they were due to the city clerk’s office, in the event some of the signatures weren’t eligible, he would’ve had time to gather additional signatures, to ensure the required number of eligible signature threshold would’ve been met.
Some could assume that the timing of this new lawsuit is a last-ditch effort to help renters since the work already done could’ve been in vain.