Butts Re-Explains Redevelopment Funding Process

Thursday, May 07, 2015 Written by 
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At Tuesday’s meeting, the Inglewood City Council upheld the denial of an appeal by an Inglewood spiritual reader to get her business license restored.  The City’s Permits and Licenses Committee denied a license to Diane Marks, proprietor of Spiritual Reader by Shasha at 421 W. Manchester Blvd., because she failed to disclose a prior arrest and criminal conviction on the license application.

 

Spiritual readers fall within a category of business that is subject to background checks in the City of Inglewood.  according to a City staffer, “We conducted a check of this applicant and it was determined that she omitted information about prior arrests or convictions.  She was convicted of identity theft and conspiracy in January 2015.  She was also convicted of perjury, which is consistent with her not disclosing this information in her application.” 

 

Marks told the council her legal troubles were brought on by her son and that she was a victim of his misdeeds.  She has been conducting business in Inglewood for the last 17 years.  “The crime was not something I’ve done.  They found me as a co-defender.  At this time, I am under house arrest but I still need to do business,” she said.  Marks, who provides customers with spiritual cleansing, tarot card readings and other forms of consultation, said “The only thing I am allowed to ask them is their first name.  There are no complaints in the city about my business or about me.  I did not check the boxes because I thought they were talking about my business, not my personal life.”

 

The woman added that customers only pay in cash and that she does not handle any financial documents.  However, the staffer noted it was possible for Marks to accept credit cards or process checks, which would give her access to her customer’s personal financial information.

 

Council members weighed in:

“I want to uphold the denial.  The committee did its due diligence to get through their process, and no new information has been given to us to change this direction,” Councilman Eloy Morales said. 

 

Councilman Ralph Franklin noted that “The application asked, ‘Have you ever been convicted.’ She said no.  It doesn’t say whether it was business or personal.”

 

Six personal injury and property damage claims filed against the City were denied for incidents that occurred between September 11, 2014 and March 4, 2015.  Funds were approved to purchase safety shoes with Industrial Shoe Company.  An agreement was approved with the National Recreation and Parks Assn., which will allow Inglewood to receive a $10,000 after-school program grant from March 31, 2015 through March 1, 2016.   ECM Group got the green light to provide construction management and inspection services on Florence Avenue.

 

Funding for 3 part time positions in the Economic and Community Development Dept. was approved.  Time Warner Cable business class was approved for a five-year agreement with the City of Inglewood.

 

Renee Talbott was appointed to serve as the Mayor’s Liaison to the Inglewood Unified Advisory Board of education.  Noting that “communications between the City and school board has dwindled significantly within the past years, I need a liaison who will attend school board meetings and keep us abreast,” Mayor James Butts said.

 

A man says Inglewood contractors are not being included in construction projects.  He asked District One Councilman George Dotson to look into the matter. A persistent claim by long time Inglewood resident Gil Mathieu that the City is $900,000 in debt again found its way to the podium.  And again, Mayor Butts refuted Mathieu’s remarks.

 

Legislation was enacted in 2012 by the State, which abolished more than 400 redevelopment agencies.  Up to that time, cities were given funding for projects through the agency to increase economic development.  Inglewood’s share was $20 million.  

 

“We used some of the funding and bought land and discounted it to developers so they could come and build here and we would get tax revenue,” Butts said.

 

“When the state took over, they also assumed all the debt to the agency.  We had two projects we had to settle on and that settlement has been made.  To keep talking about the agency’s debt is so irrelevant to what we’re doing in Inglewood.  If we were close to a billion in debt, we would not have gotten that bond rating upgrade from Moody’s.  They just don’t do that.  If we were close to a billion in debt, the Los Angeles Business Journal would not do the article they did on the city.  But, you can be as wrong as you want to be.  This is America.” 

 

Dotson encouraged the public to get involved with the upcoming Relay for Life event, June 6-7 at Crozier Middle School.  The annual American Cancer Society fundraiser and run/walk supports cancer research.  Teams in Inglewood have been formed by each council district.  “This disease kills a lot of people; let’s think about someone else today,” Dotson said. Information is available on the City of Inglewood website (www.cityofinglewood.org).

 

Councilman Alex Padilla reminded the public that he is holding a town hall meeting on May 7th at 6:30 in City Hall, Community Room A.   “This city is doing a lot of positive things.  It’s only going to get better, so enjoy the ride,” he said.

 

Franklin reminded everyone that U.S. Mail carriers will be participating in a food drive this weekend.  Residents can drop off non-perishable items at the Imperial Highway Annex on Imperial Highway near the 105 Freeway.  Volunteers are needed.  “They will be loading up around 5 pm,” Franklin said.  “Please come to work, not just for photo ops.” 

 

 

 

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