By Veronica Mackey
The City of Inglewood is getting ready for MTVs “Video Music Award” Show, at the Forum on August 24. But everyone is not on board about hiring additional police.
A request was made by Inglewood Police for an additional $25,000 to supplement law enforcement officers with members of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept., which led to some discussion.
Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta explained:
“This proposal is to augment assets we would need to appropriately provide a safe environment
Inglewood personnel resources would be the primary resources on the ground,” he said. Funds would come from savings of vacant police positions which are not expected to be filled by the end of this fiscal year.
“This is to bring in resources that we do not have at our disposal that the Sheriff’s Dept. does have. This is our choice to provide this additional layer of security,” said Mayor James Butts.
The council voted unanimously to approve:
- An agreement for professional services and assistance with accounting processes, procedures, and accounting analysis work with SMF Consulting.
- An amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget to transfer funds in the amount of $821,000 from the General Fund Reserve Account to the Worker’s Compensation Appropriation Account.
- An agreement with Leverage Information Systems to install and maintain additional surveillance cameras in the Downtown area (near the MTA Bus Facility), Siminski Park, and the area surrounding the Forum. It will be paid for by grant funds in the amount of $308,674.
- A contract to HKA Elevator Consulting Inc., to provide professional elevator design services to the Public Works Department in the amount of $35,000, plus a 20% contingency fee in the amount of $7,000.
- A three-year annual cooperative purchase agreement with HD Supply Waterworks, for the purchase of water system operation and maintenance supplies in the annual amount of $65,000.
- An agreement for the purchase of LaserficheRio document management software license and support services from American MicroImaging, Inc.for a new records management systemin the amount of $149,796.
- The council also approved an ordinance modifying regulations for live-work units.
Michael Benbow wants more programs to help homeless men. “Many funds come up for homeless women, but what about the men? The VA is ignoring them, the cities are ignoring them. They are not getting the jobs…We need to look for solutions to qualifying men for (homeless) programs,” he said.
A retired L.A. Unified School District employee wants to know how to get more wheelchair ramps constructed for sidewalks.
Another man is trying to get contract work with the city. “You need to have some of the people from Inglewood bidding on the jobs,” he said. “I need some employment.”
Park and Recreation Commissioner Willie Agee said people need to be better informed about what is going on in Inglewood. He recalled a conversation he had with a server at a Beverly Hills restaurant who knew more about the city’s progress than people who live in Inglewood. “Inglewood, start reading! Start supporting your people!” Agee said.
Throughout the meeting, public comments were hurled against the leadership about the city’s financial shape, and how the city is being run. One man has said Inglewood is as much as $1 billion in debt. Another claimed the city paid a secretary $100,000. A woman said the deal that the City made to bring the Forum to Inglewood is not benefitting residents.
Long time resident Stuart Bailey said some people are attached to elected leaders in the past and it clouds their vision. “We still think that (former Inglewood Mayor) Dorn is here. Let it go! Dorn was a good man, but we have to move forward. We have to respect the views of the future.”
The council fired back during closing remarks:
“This city is on the move whether you are with us or not. I clearly want to stress that the Forum would not have been purchased had we not approved our mayor to be our spokesperson. The Hollywood Park project would not happen. MTV would not even have considered Inglewood in the past,” said Councilman Ralph Franklin.
Councilman Alex Padilla was given extra time to address council critics:
If you wanna lead by example…be real about it. Don’t just come here and talk nonsense. Let’s set the record straight. Don’t say we’re in a crisis and we’re about to fall apart like you’re the authority. You’re not, you’re not.
“We hired a new company for parking enforcement, and you talk about they’re writing tickets. Well guess what? That’s what they do.”
Councilman George Dotson gave a shout-out to Public Works Director Louis Atwell and “all the guys I see on the street.” He praised their quick response time.
Councilman Eloy Morales discussed the new cameras and additional law enforcement for the MTV show:
“You’ve been asking for cameras for many years. We never had the resources to do it. We’re about to put (them) up in 3 locations. One of those areas is Siminsky Park, which has been a (challenge) to police. The VMA (Video Music Awards) being here is amazing. We want to put our best foot forward, we’re looking forward to having this type of event year after year.”
Mayor Butts addressed the myriad of complaints, answered questions and set the record straight about erroneous comments:
“The highest classification is executive secretary and that’s the top step of $61,000 and we have none currently funded in our budget. Curb cut projects will be going on for about 10 years. The VMA will be the largest bill anyone’s paid for a single event. We’re not going to take any chances (on security). We will make much more than $25,000 for this event, so we are investing in our city as you would want us to.
“People look at this meeting and they need to know we’re not $1 billion in debt. I feel foolish even addressing it. We heard for years we need cameras in the parks. Now we hear complaints when we are doing what people asked for.”
The meeting was closed in honor of community advocate Brenda Marsh-Mitchell who died of a heart attack over the weekend. She was a close associate of Los Angeles Sentinel Publisher Danny Bakewell and credited with organizing the annual “Taste of Soul” event.