Representatives of the Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) asked the council on Tuesday to support their efforts for a Farmer’s Market in Inglewood. Residents have expressed their desire for access to more fresh produce for several years. SJLI’s Health Equity Program is advocating healthier eating in Inglewood and currently delivers locally grown produce to residents.
The organization plans to sell fresh produce on Market Street on Sept 17. However, they are seeking City approval for a permanent location. According to a woman involved in the program, Inglewood has “over 130 fast food restaurants, 126 liquor stores and 8 grocery stores.” Although Santa Monica has a smaller population, the presence of fast food and liquor store are far less and there are more super markets.
A zoning code extension is required to allow SJLI to operate an outdoor market. However, there has been a hold up with the paper work. Angela Johnson Peters said, “We are here to request support. We need police staff available and an extension of the Farmers Market zoning code for 2013 to have a weekly Farmers Market.”
Mayor James Butts confirmed that the group did not pay the fees in time to secure police. A man from SJLI explained that City offices were closed on the Friday they tried to turn in the paper work. Butts asked City Manager Artie Fields to adopt a new policy that would extend filing time to Monday in cases where City Hall is closed on the prior Friday.
“I was aware of the issue with fee deposits,” Butts said. “I was not aware that the last day was on Friday. But if that’s the case we need to set a city policy that if it falls on the Friday, it should be extended to the next Monday. This is not a council item but I’m sure our city manager will take the right action.”
Actor Tiny Lister, known for his role as the neighborhood bully, “Deebo,” in the film “Friday” and its sequels, stopped by to express his appreciation of Mayor Butts and to let the public know, “We’re doing a new Friday.” The news prompted a round of applause.
Long time community activist and director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E. Najee Ali came to clear up a misunderstanding reported in the news between his organization and the City of Inglewood:
“I would like to apologize to the City of Inglewood in regard to the controversy to use Darby Park for city events,” Ali said.
He was referring to an article published in the Daily Breeze on August 28 that raised concern that a planned event at the park was cancelled because it was being organized by the Muslim community. The Breeze reported that Ali held a news conference at Inglewood City Hall and stated that the group had received a permit from the city to host a daytime picnic/community talent show.
“That has nothing to do with this being an Islamic event,” Butts said.
“We fully agree with what you said. No one from our community stated that on the record to the news reporter. We were questioning it but we should have done it quietly as opposed to publicly.”
“I was shocked when I saw it because I know you to be an honorable man,” Butts said.
Back to the Farmer’s Market. . .The public weighed in on who should be allowed to run a Farmer’s Market in Inglewood on a permanent basis.
“I think the council should open it up to an RFP (Request for Proposal),” said Ethel Austin. “I think we should send out bids and see who has the best to offer.”
Curtis Mitchell supports moving forward with SJLI: “I think anyone who has made the effort to do it should do it. I don’t think we should have to wait for someone else. I think we should move forward with what we have.”
“There are not that many people that are interested (in running a Farmer’s Market),” Butts said, “but we’re still going to go to RFP.”
In other matters, a public hearing was held to consider amending the land use map of the Inglewood Comprehensive General Plan from low-medium density residential to industrial for an approximately 6.79 acre M-1 (Light Manufacturing) zoned property at 234 W. Hyde Park Blvd. The property was once the site of an oil and gas production facility. The wells were capped and above ground storage tanks were removed in 1996. The council supported the amendment, which will allow the site to be used as a manufacturing and warehouse facility.
The council approved an amendment in the amount of $50,000 for payment of legal services to Buchalter Nemer, a joint purchase agreement with Pacific Western Crane & Equipment for a 14-ton boom truck, and a contract to NSA Construction Group, Inc. for residential sound insulation.
An amendment was approved for an agreement with Gwynne Pugh Urban Studios to provide architectural, engineering and construction management services for the new senior center. The City agreed to accept credit card processing with American Express. A request to change the job title of certain employees within the residential sound insulation department was approved. The title change will better reflect the specialized nature of programmatic tasks.
Two ordinances were approved that will amend Inglewood Municipal codes. The first will allow purchasing staff to expedite requests for contracts and agreements that require council approval. The second establishes the 68th Street Permit Parking District.
Public hearings were set for September 22, 2015 at 7pm. Both are related to amendment of the City of Inglewood Master Schedule. The first will add the accumulated Consumer Price Indices from June 2012 through June 2015. The second will include fees for lot line adjustment, solar rooftop, and site plan review and remove permit valuation construction unit cost.
During closing comments, Councilman George Dotson announced that his District 1 Document Shredding Day is set for Sept. 26 from 9am-1pm at the I-COP Center, 2601 W. Manchester Blvd.
Councilman Alex Padilla invited the public to the City’s annual Hispanic Heritage Festival and Classic Car Show on Sept. 19 at Crozier Middle School. His Annual District 2 Picnic will be held on Sept. 26 at North Park.
Councilman Eloy Morales thanked Ali for clearing up the misunderstanding over Darby Park: “We all received emails, which was really confusing. And normally we don’t respond, but we take things like this seriously.” Dotson added that “It is a measure of a man to admit his mistakes.”
Butts ended the meeting on a positive note: The City has received an additional $8 million for residential sound insulation. This is a sharp contrast to what happened a few years ago, when Inglewood lost FAA funding due, in part, to missed application deadlines.
Under his leadership, Butts said, “We went from losing $36.8 to receiving $75 million. This funding is for everyone in the South Corridor and also those on the end of the block. I give a lot of credit to the council I work with. When we make requests, agencies see that we follow through and deliver. Congresswoman (Maxine) Waters has been a champion for us. I just want to really acknowledge her. Every time we do our lobbying, she’s right there to help us.”
There is no council meeting next week due to the Labor Day holiday. The council will return on Sept. 15. Congratulations to Councilman Ralph Franklin, who recently celebrated his 42nd wedding anniversary.