The Inglewood council wrapped up 2014 by approving a number of agenda items and recapping important achievements of the year.
A public hearing was held to consider approval of a draft of the Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report (CAPER) for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. Grants Coordinator Damian Pipkins reported on Inglewood’s outreach to low-income seniors, veterans, the homeless and those with disabilities, through federally-funded programs. From Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014, “Three summer camps were held, which helped just under100 people. We provided senior meals, again to just under 100 people,” Pipkins said.
In addition, services were provided to the elderly (mostly homebound), and 6 streets and 22 sidewalks were improved. The HOME program upgraded homes to make them more accessible to those with physical disabilities. Veterans received help with rent and other essentials, and emergency grants were used to help the homeless. “Case management assisted 17 people to go from homelessness to self-sufficiency,” Pipkins said.
Gil Mathieu had comments about the government’s Section 8 housing subsidy program. “Many property owners are opting out of Section 8, availability is decreasing. What I’m concerned about is a lot of these properties have been improved with HUD funds so there should be some stipulation about bailing out,” Mathieu said.
The council also took action to approve several year-end agenda items, including the purchase of new flooring for the Veterans Center and Rogers Park, new park lighting, new traffic signs and accessories, and liquid chlorine for water treatment. Agreements were approved for public art to be created, which includes multi-media, a bronze sculpture, and urban theatre. The City will consolidate four of its lots and a portion of two lots into one at 3656 111th St.
Two public hearings were set for January 13, 2015 at 7pm. The first will consider an appeal to allow the installation of a roof mounted telecommunications facility at 10318 Prairie Ave. The second will consider an ordinance amendment to the Inglewood Municipal Code to establish the Regent Circle Permit Parking District.
SCE representative Marvin Jackmon presented the City with a check for $13,000 as a reward for saving energy. Wayne Spencer of the South Bay Workforce Investment Board announced the cities of Torrance and Lomita have been added to the South Bay Cities Council of Governments and will become eligible to receive various employment-related programs and services. Also, SBWIB has received $1.1 million in funding from the U.S. Dept.
Labor to provide academic and occupational skills training for local youth.
City Manager Artie Fields announced that Inglewood recently received an award for its outstanding work in labor relations and labor negotiations, which has saved the City millions of dollars.
Commenting on the financial burden of lifetime retiree medical benefits which Inglewood faced before the renegotiation, Fields said, “This (type of deal) has placed a lot of cities on the brink of bankruptcy. The (savings) is a result of the hard work of our staff and bargaining groups.”
The City's labor negotiations team, comprised of Fields, David Esparza, Jose Cortes, Jack Hoffman, and Mike Falkow, renegotiated with the City's 6 labor groups, resulting in successful reduction of unfunded liability.
Falkow said in a statement, “By exchanging the massive, high-cost benefit with a more reasonable Retiree Health Savings Plan, the savings amounted to almost $165 million over 30 years!”
A comment that the council is too agreeable prompted responses by Councilmembers Ralph Franklin and Eloy Morales. “We agree because we meet days in advance and, we read our agendas,” Franklin said.
Morales’ comments were poetic:
“A lot has been said about our agreeing up here. Well, while we have been up here agreeing, the Forum was reopened and Hollywood Park is already starting on a $2 billion project. While we were up here agreeing, the deficit was cut almost in half, crime has been reduced. We’ve all seen what has happened when we’ve been disagreeing. Three thousand to 4,000 residents came out for the tree lighting. It was an amazing turnout. Positive things are happening while we’re up here agreeing.”
“I don’t know what else I could say after that,” Mayor Butts said. He closed out the session with a recap of recent positive events in Inglewood. “Snoop Dogg has adopted the city, and we gave away 800 turkeys to needy families. We’ve seen the biggest tree lighting celebration in the South Bay and including L.A. We didn’t have to pay a dime for that. We celebrated our children, and the adults were happy. That was the culmination of this year. It’s what we work for—a happy, safe community.”
Councilman George Dotson wished Inglewood a blessed, happy and wonderful holiday. Councilman Alex Padilla made similar remarks.
Inglewood City Hall will close on Dec. 19, 2014 and reopen Jan. 5, 2015.