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Fund to Help Renters is in the Works

Thursday, August 24, 2017

By Veronica Mackey

 

Tuesday’s council meeting began with a hearing to consider the Permits and Licenses Committee’s denial of a permit request submitted by Ellesa Maxie to house a third dog at 2703 W. 78th Street, Inglewood, CA, 90305. 

 

Maxie said she has been keeping her sister’s dog until another residence can be found. The animal is an emotional support dog, Maxie said, and lived with her sister until a new landlord  threatened eviction if the dog stayed. Despite medical verification, the landlord wouldn’t budge. The sister lives in Palmdale. Maxie asked for another extension until the end of the year, when her sister’s situation should be resolved.

 

Councilman Ralph Franklin wanted to clarify why the woman needed more time:

 

“This has been going on since March of this year and you applied in October of last year.  There is a question of what is temporary.”  He asked Maxie if she was willing to give up one of her other dogs to comply with the ordinance of having no more than 2 dogs per residence.

 

“What accommodation are you willing to make? What sacrifices are you willing to make?” he asked.

 

“I think I am sacrificing now.  I am not willing to make my dogs homeless.  I am asking the City of Inglewood for a couple more months,” she said.

 

Maxie told the council she submitted all the proper paper work, including medical verification that her sister needed a support dog.  Further investigation corroborated her story, and it was discovered that the woman voluntarily notified the City that she would be housing more than 2 dogs.   

 

Mayor James Butts made a motion to allow the woman to keep her sister’s dog until January 31, 2018.   

 

“If you brought it, that’s much better,” Franklin said.

 

A man from the Second District wants council members to step in and enforce traffic on his street.  “There is speeding on Fairview.  Drivers tore up my neighbor’s car and my son’s car,” he said.  He also talked about burglaries in the area and “infected” magnolia trees.  

 

“We have an arborist coming out and looking at our trees,” Mayor Butts said.  “We have a lot of magnolia trees in the city and (problems) when the trees start to die.  The good thing is we are at this point in our history where we can worry about sap in our magnolia trees.”

 

A woman whose rent just went up $350 wants support from the City.  “I am seeking help, anything you can do, so it doesn’t happen to others,” she said.  Rising rents is an issue which council members have heard regularly for the past few months.  Not much had been said about the problem until now.

 

“We are putting together a developer’s tax to develop a fund to provide money for affordable housing.  One way is to provide a stipend to help with capital improvements that they will make, and to freeze rent prices for X number of years.  We don’t know how big that fund will grow.  I have seen the proposal that our executive assistants are putting forth and it will come before the council shortly,” Butts said.

 

During closing comments, Councilman George Dotson praised the Parks, Recreation and Library Services Department for their first class magazine.  Councilman Alex Padilla thanked the Kaboom! company and local volunteers for their help last Saturday.  The playground building company and crew went to work at Parent Elementary School, and were done the same day by 2pm.

 

Franklin thanked City Manager Artie Fields for his department’s assistance in providing the Inglewood Library with special glasses to view the eclipse, and for making certificates available for the library’s summer reading program.  

 

Mayor Butts circled back to address rising rents and home values.  “The housing and trust fund will help people with affordability.  (However) property values been increasing since 2012—even before people knew we were going to have a stadium.”

 

Regarding the extension given to Maxie earlier in the meeting, he said:  

 

“It’s clear today that our commission system works.   I will never understand the three extensions to save my life.  It would have been unconscionable to tell this woman she couldn’t keep the dog when her sister has been denied her rights under law.  It shows me that the system works.”

 

Council members approved:

 

An amendment of the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget, transferring funds in the amount of $50,000 from the General Fund Reserves to support program activities for the Inglewood Teen Center

 

A three-year agreement with HDL Coren & Cone for property tax audit and consulting services and tax revenue recovery  

 

A three-year blanket purchase order (with the option to extend it for another year) for the annual purchase of various maintenance, repair, and operating supplies from Home Depot

 

Modification to the terms and conditions of employment for employees represented by the Inglewood Police Officers Association 

 

The purchase of additional automation software licenses from Accela, Inc.  

 

An agreement with Helen Lessick for public art consulting 

 

A grant agreement offer with the Federal Aviation Administration in the amount of $20 million for residential sound insulation

 

The Amended Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Salary Ordinance was introduced.  The revised ordinance includes Inglewood Police Officers Association  negotiated salary increases

 

The Public Works Department requested a public hearing to consider an ordinance amending the Inglewood Municipal Code to establish Permit Parking District No. 17.  The district includes: 99th Street (between La Brea Avenue and Myrtle Avenue), 98th Street (between La Brea Avenue and Myrtle Avenue), and 97th Street (between La Brea Avenue and Myrtle Avenue). The hearing was set for September 12, 2017.

 

 The City Manager’s Office got the green light to amend the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule for 2017-2018 (ROPS17-18), for submittal to the Oversight Board for approval consideration.

 

The Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Financial Statements and Audits for the City of Inglewood and the Inglewood Housing Authority were presented to the council. 

The meeting closed in memory of former Inglewood Police Chief Ray Johnson, who has passed away.  Chief Johnson served as police chief between 1986 and 1991.  

 

 

 

 

 

Hate is Being Fought in a New Way

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Last week, I talked about how video is causing violent racists to be arrested and fired from their jobs after being identified.  Now big business has joined the cause to fight domestic terrorism.

 

In response to growing efforts to turn back the clock of American history to the 1950s and before, conscientious companies are fighting the war on racism Millennial-style.  Reports surfaced this week of various websites and apps which are banning hate groups from using their service.  

 

Technology being what it is, users no longer have the luxury of simply re-registering under pseudo names because companies can pinpoint a user’s location.  Yep, they’ve got your name, address and number.

 

Companies who have joined the bandwagon against the Alt Right, KKK, Neo Nazis, white supremacists and other home grown terrorist groups include Paypal, Airbnb, Google, and GoDaddy.  The latter two dropped domain registration against a hate group.  

  

The Aug. 11 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which began supposedly as a protest against efforts to remove a Confederate monument, turned deadly when a white supremacist supporter plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors with his car, injuring several people and killing one. Two law enforcement officers also died during the incident.  Discord blocked the chat server of DailyStormer, a Neo-Nazi site that posted a negative article on the victim, 32 year-old Heather Heyes. 

 

GoFundMe took down campaigns to raise money for legal fees to defend James Fields, the alleged murderer.

With the recent re-surgence of hate groups, encouraged some say by President Trump, businesses are taking matters into their own hands.  Large companies have been flooded with complaints against hate speech online and have decided to cut off the divisive language at the source.

 

Even dating sites like OK Cupid are rejecting members of hate groups.  The dating service recently tweeted:  “We were alerted that white supremacist Chris Cantwell was on OkCupid. Within 10 minutes we banned him for life,”and followed up with “There is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love.”

 

Offline, the push to block hate mongers from enjoying member privileges is just as strong.  Airbnb, the company that books travel accommodations, stood by this statement issued in 2016: 

“When through our background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform.” 

 

James Allsup, a white supremacist, was kicked out of his Uber ride after allegedly making racist remarks toward his driver.  The ride sharing company shut down his account and has blocked him from obtaining service in the future.

 

The Alt Right, much like Donald Trump, is fighting a losing battle—based on the outdated and forever untrue philosophy that white people are superior, and fueled by fear of becoming extinct.  But like it or not, the color of America is changing and it won’t be long before people of color will be dominant.   A sensible person would try and get along.

 

Efforts by tech companies to shut down hate provides another ray of hope to the majority of Americans who want to live peaceful and productive lives, and want others to do the same.  While having a physical presence is still important in getting our message heard, we have to appreciate technology’s role in putting hate mongers in their place.  Just a few keystrokes sometimes is all that is required.

 

 

Taking a Metro bus or train around L.A. can be a really rough ride.  Passengers can be obnoxiously rude, selfish and inconsiderate. It’s an adventure to be sure, because you never know when you will encounter someone who is high on drugs or mentally ill or one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

 

Most tread very carefully, and ignore bad behavior out of concern for their personal safety.  

 

But bad behavior on public transit is increasing and could hurt revenues.  So, Metro is stepping up efforts to reinforce rider rules, hoping to attract and retain customers.  The company is hoping riders won’t use other options like driving their own car, taking Lyft or Uber. 

 

That’s why MTA and smaller regional transit agencies are launching etiquette campaigns.

 

These good manner reminders will appear on YouTube as well as in busses and trains.

 

According to MTA, those who commit these behaviors will be fined $75 per offense and be escorted off the vehicle: 

 

• Disturbing others

 

• Disorderly, lewd conduct

 

• Placing chewing gum on seats

 

• Occupying more than one seat; blocking a door

 

• Riding a bicycle or skateboard in a station

 

• Loitering

 

• Fare evasion

 

Offenders are subject to being kicked off for 30 to 90 days for these violations:

 

• Playing loud music

 

• Eating, drinking, smoking, vaping

 

 

• Drinking alcohol

 

 

Taking up more than one seat is a common violation by both sexes.  Women put purses in empty seats to prevent riders from sitting next to them.  Men will take up more than one seat by spreading their knees wide apart, spilling over into the next seat and intimidating a woman looking for a seat.  It’s called manspreading.  Neither behavior is okay.  

 

Profanity is another nuisance that most passengers put up with, but rarely address.  Still it is another issue that makes riding on public transit unpleasant.

 

Rider satisfaction boils down to doing what we were taught—or should have been taught—as children.  Be kind, courteous and considerate of others.  Be willing to share.  Understand public transit does not exist for our own personal comfort.  It is a means to an end.  We must all be mindful of other people’s rights to a peaceful, respectful and safe ride.

 

 

There’s never been a more exciting time to be in Inglewood. Construction is well underway on the $2.6 billion home of the Rams and Chargers. The Forum is bringing the music industry’s greatest talent to our city. Now, the L.A. Clippers are looking to build a new privately funded arena, practice center and related facilities in the City of Champions.

 

To start the process, we signed an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) identifying 80 acres for study – more than four times what the Clippers needed. Opponents claimed that the City was interested in taking people’s homes. Nothing could be farther from the truth. City officials simply identified an area for study to begin the process. As a result, we worked closely with the L.A. Clippers to bring about and approve a revised ENA that included a significantly smaller project site – one that excludes any private homes and churches.

 

With all this in mind, I need to call a time out. I am concerned about the harsh rhetoric and misinformation campaign being waged. I believe there are non-residents who, because of their own self-interests, are trying to stop or side-track the arena project before it gets started. Sadly, I suspect that some of these outsiders are the same individuals who advocated strongly to move the Lakers and Kings out of Inglewood in the first place.

 

The L.A. Clippers have told us they are committed to a public and transparent process for all discussions about the arena complex. We expect the team to host community meetings to hear directly from you. Rest assured, the people of Inglewood will have ample opportunities to voice their feelings on this project. What’s important to keep in mind is that the ENA is a starting place – the equivalent of a tip-off at the start of a basketball game.

 

Together, as the environmental review process transpires, the City Council, Inglewood residents and businesses will play an important role in influencing a project that will benefit our community.

 

We are in a time of transition with sports facility construction impacting some of us; however, in a few years the fruits of our labor will deliver much-needed increases in general fund revenue that will result in more robust city services. The L.A. Clippers’ new facility, while not yet approved by the City Council, would continue the tremendous economic boom to Inglewood. But, since the possibility of such a move was first announced in June, some residents and others have expressed concerns about what this arena project might mean for them.

 

As I indicated last month, the City Council’s first responsibility is to ensure the continued progress of our great city. This desire to control our own destiny means creating good-paying job opportunities for our residents. The Clippers will not just be building an arena in our city; they will be moving their permanent offices and facilities here, which means bringing year-round business operations to Inglewood. The arena project will also mean construction jobs, employment in security and concessions,too. Equally important, the arena will generate increased foot traffic for Inglewood’s restaurants, and retail stores. In sum, by building the LA. Clippers arena, our entire community benefits.

 

Inglewood has long been denied amenities and public benefits enjoyed by neighboring communities. We lack rail connectivity. We have been denied major retailers and corporate headquarters. Decades ago, the two professional sports team that brought pride and prestige to Inglewood were taken from us. We began turning this situation around with the Rams relocation plans. The L.A. Clippers’ proposed arena project is another positive development. Today is a new era in Inglewood. My colleagues on the City Council and I are focused on controlling our own destiny. We will create jobs.We will engineer economic opportunities. We will continue to build community pride.

 

I look forward to the coming months when the L.A. Clippers will begin hosting community meetings to share more information about their arena and related facilities. Later this year, I look forward to seeing what a state-of-the-art basketball-only arena will look like. Most of all, I look forward to exploring the many ways that building and operating a new team facility will benefit the hard-working men, women and children of Inglewood. 

By Veronica Mackey

 

Tuesday’s public council meeting focused primarily on the proposed L.A. Clippers Arena, and what it will mean for the future of residents.  The council approved an amended Exclusive Negotiations Agreement with the Clippers, which will reduce the size of the area being considered for development.   Inglewood Today’s cover story provides in depth coverage of that discussion.

 

Additionally, Mayor James Butts and members of the Inglewood City Council approved the following:

 

•A resolution to amend the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget to accept funds in the amount of $3,843,000 from Los Angeles World Airport

 

•Authorization of the mayor on behalf of the City, to enter into an Agreement with Becker Boards Small, LLC, to allow Super Graphic wall sign advertising on 4 exterior building walls at 2930 West Imperial Highway

 

•Authorization of the Mayor to sign permits for use of Inglewood Unified School District properties for the provision of the City’s After School Recreation Program 

 

•A Hold Harmless Agreement with Green Dot Public Schools to allow the Police Department to use their facility located at 3425 West Manchester Boulevard to conduct personnel training at no-cost

 

•A three-year agreement with Community Veterinarian Hospital to provide medical examinations and treatment for police canines  

 

•A resolution offering a reward up to $25,000 to any individual who provides information leading to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of the person responsible for the death of Christopher Palmer. 

 

•Award of a contract for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Sidewalk Replacement Project 

 

An agreement with Kane Ballmer & Berkman was approved for broad ranging legal advice, guidance, and representation to the City of Inglewood, Inglewood Successor, and the Inglewood Parking Authority.

Another agreement was approved with Men at Work LA Concrete, Inc. to provide various services in support of the modernization and security improvements at the Locust Street Parking Structure, located at 115 N. Locust Street. 

 

The Buxton Group, a consulting firm hired by the City. presented an economic development report on Inglewood retailers.  According to Buxton, about $169 million in revenue is leaving the area.  The highest leakage was found in furniture, specialty food and sporting goods. On average, 

consumers are willing to drive around 10 minutes to make purchases. The new stadium will enlarge Inglewood’s shopping area.  

 

To reduce the amount of money leaving Inglewood, a representative said, retailers need to know who consumers are, where they are coming from, and identify the best way to reach them (direct mail, email, social media, etc).  Butts said the report is “an effort by the City (for) retention of small local businesses.”  

 

The City of Inglewood granted Councilman Alex Padilla’s request to sponsor the 4th Annual District 2 Picnic and Chili Cook-off Event, to be held on Saturday, September 9, 2017, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at North Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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