By Veronica Mackey
Tuesday’s council meeting welcomed several fresh faces. Millennials lined up to speak their mind about changes and improvements they want to see in Inglewood as the city moves forward.
Adding police cameras and increasing efforts to reduce homelessness were among the hottest topics, and both were approved unanimously by the Inglewood City Council. Inglewood police were given up to $545,305 for security camera equipment and installation, and to store and maintain footage. Although the public was in favor of body cameras being worn by police, the council’s action pertains to security cameras being installed near the City Hall parking structure, jails and building exteriors of the Inglewood Police Department.
The public spoke up about past problems with police shootings within communities of color. Alfonso Parker said having additional police cameras could have helped in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting last year. Ray Davis said cameras “are not the end all” of police work. “We have to talk. This is a systemic problem. It’s not just about racism on every corner.”
Councilman Ralph Franklin, who recently attended a police meeting, said, police have “mixed emotions” about body cameras. “Officers are seeing the whole picture like windshield wipers while the camera is only getting one segment.”
The City endorsed Measure H, the Los Angeles County ballot measure to prevent and combat homelessness that will be submitted to voters at the election held on March 7, 2017. Former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane encouraged the public to support the measure.
“All 88 communities within the County of Los Angeles have made it their mission to end homelessness,” he said.
Several young residents shared their lists of demands with council members. One man said city officials place a lot of emphasis on the new stadium and other City developments, and not enough attention is given to Inglewood schools.
Henry Brown, Chair of the Measure GG Oversight Committee, said $90 million has been allocated to make school improvements, such as painting and remodeling. “I’ve asked our engineers to post signs that these improvements are taking place,” he said.
“We’re very proud of our children,” said Councilman Eloy Morales. “The City provides after-school programs to children at a very low cost. Once you start looking into our city, you’ll see what we are doing. But, having folks come forward gives us a viewpoint that we need to hear.”
In addition to school improvements, others in the audience want to see rent stabilization, better access to healthy food choices, health care, police oversight, equal opportunity for minority contractors, college bound programs, and more home ownership assistance.
“I have heard the voter turnout in the City of Inglewood is between 8 and 10%. If you want all those Utopian changes, then take responsibility and vote,” Davis said.
Councilman Alex Padilla reminds everyone that Inglewood has a weekly Certified Farmers Market, which offers healthy and fresh food choices. It is held every first and third Thursday of the month from 3 to 7pm on Market Street between Manchester and Nutwood. Councilman Franklin added, “Not only do we have a Farmers Market, we had Michelle Obama here to promote healthy food choices. That’s when Northgate Market came in to Inglewood.”
A young woman is concerned about “gentrification” and the impact that new city development will have on renters. “My rent just went up. I don’t want to be pushed out because of the stadium,” she said.
“I don’t like to call it gentrification,” Mayor James Butts said. “As property values go up, rent goes up. The reality is property values have been increasing since 2012 in the City of Inglewood. That was long before the stadium was contemplated. This is always something cities go through when cities progress.”
Mayor Butts and council members said yes to various agreements, purchases and contract awards.
Approval of a stipulated interlocutory judgment was given to release any interest in property subject to eminent domain litigation for development of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project. Approval clears the way for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to dismiss the City from the current action.
Parks, Recreation and Library Services got the green light to execute an agreement with the South Bay Center for Counseling. The department will provide SBCC prevention and aftercare services for the grant amount of $55,000.
Additionally, Parks, Recreation and Library Services will expand its existing After School Recreation Program and establish a Before and After School Recreation Program at Kelso Elementary School.
E.M. Construction Corporation was awarded a contract in the amount of $1,398,585 for the Center Park Improvement Project.
The City of Inglewood denied all claims filed for personal injury and property damage.