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‘People, Not Police’

Thursday, March 16, 2017

By Veronica Mackey


A controversial decision to purchase an armored vehicle for the Inglewood Police Department and pressure to release information about a year-old police shooting, which ended in the deaths of a young couple, drew harsh reactions from residents at Tuesday’s council meeting.  


The public session ended with Mayor James Butts and council members walking out.


People packed the council chamber to express their discontent over the armored car purchase.


 “We’re not one of those cities that is overflowing in crime,” Aldene Sligh said.  “I haven’t seen anything that is happening in Inglewood that would require militarized vehicles. There’s so many other things that that money could have been used for.”


“What message does this send to the citizens?  Not of safety but a war zone,” another woman said.  “Have you gone to the public and asked if they want armored vehicles on the streets, pursuing our citizens?  Do you want the police to come across as an occupying army?  Shame on you!”


The armored car purchase led to cries for the City to release information about what happened to Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin on Feb. 21, 2016.  The couple were killed by police as they sat in a car.  They were reportedly unconscious at one point, and police say Michael had a gun in her lap.  


For the past 4 weeks, family and friends of the couple have made their presence known inside and outside Inglewood City Hall.  Black Lives Matter and Holy Faith Episcopal Church are among the organizations calling for details of the incident which involve 5 Inglewood police officers.


Investigations are currently being conducted by the Inglewood Police Department and L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.  Mayor Butts said the police investigation should be finished in about one or two weeks.  There is no timetable with regard to the District Attorney’s investigation.


Kisha Michael’s sister said her family is still waiting for answers. “I’m going to be here every Tuesday, to let you know,” she told the mayor.


“The last time I spoke, I asked for a use of force policy,” a member of Holy Faith Episcopal Church said, holding a copy in her hand.  “The policy looks like it was revised in September.  I will be reviewing both policies to see if there’s been a change.”


“This report needs to go to the public.  There are people in your community who are concerned about actions of the police.  There are people in this community who want to know.  You are required to make this information public because you were hired to serve them,” another woman said.


At times during the meeting, members of the audience shouted out while others directed their anger toward the council.  One man was heckled and called an “Uncle Tom” when he said police are the ones people call when they are in trouble.  


A member of Black Lives Matter- LA said.  “Crime has steadily gone down for the last 40 years.  It’s not because of more law enforcement; it’s been because of birth control.  There are fewer people to commit crimes.”  She called for the City to invest more money in residents and less in law enforcement.   “We need elder care and we need to do something with our children,” she said.  


The woman began chanting, “People, not police,” which the audience echoed.  Emotions ran high and the tone of the meeting turned into a rally.  At this point, Mayor Butts and council members left the council chambers without a word.  The Seargeant at Arms told everyone the meeting was adjourned.


Earlier, council members took action to approve a contract for Rosa Lowinger and Associates in the amount of $229,600, to be used for the Monumental Art Restoration of Skedans by Tony DeLap. 


Approval was also given to amend the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget, authorizing the use of General Fund Reserves in the amount of $50,000 for improvement of medians along Manchester Boulevard.


A $115,050 payment from the Residential Sound Insulation Department for Karabuild Development, Inc. will be reversed and charged to the General Fund as a non-departmental expense.


A public hearing was set for April 18, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. to receive input on the availability of nonprofit transportation service providers to provide paratransit services for eligible residents.  



It’s no secret that black men are skilled athletes.  While some may call it a stereotype, it is no less true.  Significant achievements of black men in sports conform to the notion that they are naturally bigger, tougher and stronger.  


But the same thing that may give black men respect on the football field is met with fear on the street.  Unfortunately, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the world views black men as physically taller, heavier and stronger (and therefore more threatening) than white men even when the facts prove otherwise.


These exaggerated perceptions lead to the conclusion that black men are generally more menacing and, therefore, more potentially harmful than other men.


Lead author John Paul Wilson, a social psychologist at Montclair State University in New Jersey, gave examples from the study, which compared black men to white men.  


In one experiment, based on headshots of college football players, participants rated black players as taller and heavier than the white ones, even though the opposite was true.  In another study where a black man and white man were of equal height and weight, respondents predicted the black man would be more harmful if they got into a fight.


By far, the most damaging data came from an experiment where participants were asked to judge whether use of force by police would be more appropriate against a black man if he acted aggressively, but was unarmed.  As suspected, force was deemed more appropriate against the black man.


This finding feeds into the mindset which justifies police shootings of unarmed black men, Wilson said.  And it provides more insight into how racist views are formed.  Racial bias against black people as physically superhuman and animalistic sets up the narrative that white people are physically inferior, therefore victims who must be protected.  


The race-based size and threat bias is deeply rooted in the psyche of most White Americans—even those who do not consider themselves to have racist views, Wilson said.


Wilson wants to bring his research to the public and form partnerships to educate and train police, which is an idea I fully support. Until a person is aware of false perceptions toward others, negative attitudes and behaviors cannot be changed.



Thursday, March 09, 2017

On Wednesday, I was invited to tour the new and improved Centinela Hospital.  A lot of positive changes have occurred since the hospital changed ownership, and this expansion is just one of them.  


Today, Centinela Hospital has a reputation for being one of the highest-rated health facilities in the area.  Residents can be proud to claim the hospital as belonging to our city.


In the 90s, residents had three nearby hospitals to go to: Centinela and Daniel Freeman in Inglewood, and Robert F. Kennedy in Hawthorne. The latter two were closed years ago, much to everyone’s disappointment.  And while another hospital would certainly make healthcare more easily accessible in Inglewood, it is important that we appreciate what we have…which leads me to my point.


There is a lot to be said about longevity and perseverance.  We all need to be reminded of their importance when it seems like life is at a standstill. 


If you have worked in Inglewood for several years, as I have, you start to appreciate your fellow business owners and colleagues a little more.  You are thankful that they are still around. Regardless of recessions or other setbacks, they managed to stay in the game and keep going. With just hope, a dream and a prayer, they hung in there and made something out of their lives.  


As you travel through Inglewood, and especially if you’re feeling a little stuck, take a look around.  Look closer at Centinela Hospital, The Fabulous Forum, Inglewood Cemetery, Wise Tires and other businesses that have stood the test of time.  There was a time when none of these establishments existed.  There was a time when the founders thought about giving up, but they didn’t. The point is, no matter what you may be going through, you are still here.  


In 3 weeks, the first quarter of 2017 will come to a close.  If you feel you got off track with your goals, now’s a great time to review where you want to go and how you intend to get there.  This Saturday or Sunday, we’ll turn our clocks ahead one hour.  Let this motivate you to literally move forward.  


The fact that you are still here means there is something left for you to do.  So let’s celebrate and get busy.



Part of $100 Million Renovation Effort


Hospital executives, elected officials and other community stakeholders attended a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday at Centinela Hospital, 555 E. Hardy Street. The event was held to showcase its newly expanded Emergency Room (ER), as part of a larger effort underway.


Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. City discussed the hospital against the backdrop of Inglewood’s current revitalization efforts.


Centinela Hospital Chief Executive Officer Linda Bradley discussed the hospital’s mission, performance and dedication to the community by providing quality healthcare.


Prime Healthcare General Counsel, Troy Schell, Esq. underscored the healthcare company’s mission to provide compassionate care and clinical excellence to all patients in Inglewood and the greater Los Angeles area.   


The public was invited to attend the community open house portion of the program which followed the ribbon-cutting.


Even in an uncertain healthcare environment, Centinela Hospital’s dedication to the community it serves is evident by the $100 million expansion and renovation plans currently in progress. 


In May 2016, the Hospital completed a $55 million seismic retrofit project that included the unveiling of a new hospital front entrance, lobby, admitting department, laboratory, gift shop, and administration areas. Additional remodeling and expansion projects under construction include: emergency department, maternal services and labor & delivery, radiology, hybrid cath lab, and pharmacy. 


Centinela Hospital is currently the largest employer in the city of Inglewood.  Serving more than 69,000 patients in 2016 alone, Centinela Hospital’s Emergency Department is one of the top 10 busiest privately run ER’s in Los Angeles County. 


To accommodate this patient flow and future growth, Centinela Hospital began a six-phase remodel and expansion project on its ER in early 2014. This project plan includes more than 10,000 square feet of additional space and increases the number of ER beds to 52 to allow the hospital’s doctors, nurses and staff to treat ER patients more efficiently in a soothing environment conducive to healing.


About Centinela Hospital Medical Center


Centinela Hospital Medical Center was founded in 1924 as Milton Hospital and since then has been serving the communities of Inglewood and Los Angeles. An award-winning facility, ranking in the top 5% nationally for quality and patient safety, Centinela Hospital Medical Center is a 369-bed acute-care hospital offering comprehensive, quality healthcare in a convenient, compassionate and cost-effective manner. The hospital offers a level III emergency department, orthopedic care, advanced cardiac services, peripheral artery disease treatment, cranial and neuro-spine surgery, and OB/GYN services in a caring and conducive environment. It is actively involved in improving the health of the community with programs designed to meet the needs of those that it serves. For more information, visit


While GOP leaders are pushing to roll out the new alternative to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare by Easter, Democrats and some Republicans are saying “not so fast.” 


Critics say the Republican-sponsored healthcare bill, known as the American Health Care Act, would leave millions of lower income individuals without coverage.  


Currently, 20 million people have health coverage under Obamacare. About 1.2 million are enrolled in California.  Subsidies from the federal government are used to buy health plans through California’s marketplace, known as Covered California. 


Republicans are still tweaking the proposal, but here are key differences and similarities to Obamacare: 


The good news is premiums will not go up for those with pre-existing illnesses and adult children can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.  That is where the similarities end.


Obamacare requires everyone to have coverage or pay a penalty.  AHCA would do away with the mandate, but would impose a 30% penalty if insurance lapses.


AHCA would use tax credits to subsidize insurance coverage, and those credits would be based on a person’s age instead of income.  Individuals 30 and younger would receive a $2,000 tax credit.  People between 31-59 would get $3,000 in tax credits and those 60 and older would receive $4,000.  


A low income man interviewed by “NBC Nightly News” said he wouldn’t be able to afford coverage under the GOP plan. He makes about $30,000 a year and pays $1,000 in income tax.  The government would give him a $1,000 tax credit and issue a check for the balance. He currently received a $4,200 subsidy under Obamacare, so he would lose $1,200.


“I don’t see the credits as enough to offset the cost of buying insurance on the private market,” he said.


The AHCA would freeze expansion of Medicaid, known in California as Medi-Cal, in 2020.  In California, Medi-Cal provides coverage to more than a third of California residents. 


Under Obamacare, states received money for their Medicaid programs, which are jointly funded by state and federal governments. California currently receives $15.3 billion in federal funding for the Medicaid expansion, according to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.


Under Obamacare, the federal government reimburses states for their programs’ expenses regardless of the amount.  AHCA would put a cap on the amount of money.


While supporters of the new bill say capping Medicaid would force states to handle funds more efficiently, health care economists say the only way funds could be curtailed would be to drop people from the program. 


“Such a change would effectively reverse a 50-year trend of expanding Medicaid in order to protect the most vulnerable Americans,” according to a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund.


AHCA would also ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other health facilities that provide abortion services. In addition to abortions, Planned Parenthood provides a host of other women’s health services, including breast and vaginal exams, and birth control. If the bill were to pass as is, low income women would see these vital services disappear.


“The losers are lower income people who really need financial assistance,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor at George Washington University.


It is not clear how much the GOP plan would cost.




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