Now that the lawsuit between the City of Inglewood and Joe Teixeira is over, residents on both sides of the debate weighed in at Tuesday’s council meeting
U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald rejected the City of Inglewood’s attempt last week to assert federal copyright protection over council meetings partially posted on YouTube by Teixeira, a longtime critic of Mayor James Butts.
“Joe has taken us and used segments he wanted to use to make us and the mayor look bad,” Ethel Austin said.
She said to the mayor: “You were only doing that (suing) to protect the tax payer. I’m glad you got the attorney. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. But it was worth it to protect the people.”
“I support the council’s decision to protect us from using video to damage the city. In my opinion, he (Teixeira) is full of hate,” Willie Agee said.
Ray Davis told the council, “I wish this had not happened. I cannot agree with everything the mayor and city council does, but we cannot try to silence him.”
The conversation changed temporarily to lighter matters.
A grateful man told the council: “I wanted to tell you thank you. You did some of the things I asked for around the traffic at 83rd Street and Crenshaw Drive. But I saw a post office mail truck run the stop sign. I guess I need to call back and have you do a better job of patrolling. It’s like a freeway now.”
Dr. Bettye Walker, CEO of A-MAN, Inc., an academically-based Inglewood nonprofit, shared a success story about young students enrolled in her STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) program.
“Our students won medals for water polo and diving. You don’t hear about water polo and diving, and our kids doing it,” Walker said. She also announced an upcoming event that A-MAN, Inc. is hosting with the Aeronautical Space Society on Sept. 22. For more information, visit the website at www.aman.org.
Mayor Butts read a proclamation designating September 2015 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Inglewood. The American Cancer Fund for Children provides psycho-social services for children undergoing cancer treatments at local hospitals, including UCLA, City of Hope and Children’s Hospital.
Two public hearings were held. The first asked the council to consider amending sections of the Inglewood Municipal Code to increase the limit of emergency purchases from $20,000 to $50,000.
Diane Sombrano and Leroy Fisher were against the increase. Sombrano didn’t like the idea of the City giving “pay raises,” especially before the new fiscal budget is finalized.
Mayor Butts explained that the ordinance would allow the city to move quicker on approving expenses by having the monies in place. Some expenses would not have to go through the Inglewood City Council to be approved.
“No one is spending any more money.. If you have 4 police cars that need to be fixed, we can do it. No one’s getting a raise…For people in the city to claim to know about the City’s finances, to morph this into raises blows my mind,” Butts said.
“We’re in 2015, and things cost, and the time it takes to get an item agendized—If there are police vehicles in the city waiting for repairs, then there are complaints.”
A second hearing was held to consider establishing the 68th Street Permit Parking District. The area is near 68th Street and Gay. Davis supports the parking ordinance. “I live near the park and we have serious issues with the parking. . .We may have to do this citywide.”
“We need to really advance in this permit parking. It would help the City with revenue. Could you find some more streets you can do that to, like Beach?” Austin said.
Another man wants parking permits to be required on 11th Avenue.
The council approved a one-year agreement for federal legislative advocacy services, and a contract for funding to plan and implement projects that support the efficient management of water supply. Another contract was approved for the Water Vaults Ltd. Replacement Project. Funds for signage and carpet improvements were approved for A-MAN, Inc.
· A Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Inglewood and WOW Media for a billboard agreement. The deal would bring a one-time payment of up to $3.1 million for the city for allowing 10 billboard locations. Additionally, if all billboards were approved, revenue for the City would result in a minimum of $155,000 per month. The City would share at least 50 percent of revenues.
· Agreement with the California State Board of Equalization to implement the Local Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Collection Act. About 70% of all prepaid wireless services are sold by retailers. As a result, the City is bypassed and cannot collect UUT (utility user tax). This agreement will impose taxes on prepaid wireless services beginning January 1, 2016. UUT revenue is estimated to range between 15% to 20%.
· A resolution for a Green Street Policy.
An Inglewood home owner wanted to know why her home had been denied sound insulation since she lives within the flight path. “Flight activity has increased,” she said. “We cannot open doors and have no central air or heating.
“Anything constructed after ‘87 is not eligible. The person who built the property is responsible,” Butts said. “If we used money that was not allocated for certain homes, it would be illegal, and we would have to give that money back. It’s not about us not wanting to do it, it would be illegal. The City does not have the funds to insulate properties built after ‘87 that are double-paned. If we could get it authorized, we would.”
Councilmember Ralph Franklin thanked all who came to his District 4 Town Hall Meeting last weekend. He also announced that “Food Truck Friday has been cancelled for this Friday. We are hoping it will be back in September.”
Councilman George Dotson commented on how new leadership in Inglewood has improved service to the community. He described a chance encounter with a man who complimented how City staff handled his concerns. “My hat’s off to the city manager as well as the department heads and staff. Evidently something has changed when a man stops me and tells me that,” Dotson said.
The public was invited to two events in September. Councilman Alex Padilla announced the Hispanic Heritage Festival, Saturday, September 19, from 11am to 4pm at Crozier Middle School. His Second District’s annual picnic (potluck) will be held Saturday, September 26 from noon to 4pm at North Park.
Councilman Eloy Morales commented on the disparity between homes being sound-insulated. “We talked about how people (property owners) got away with not giving folks sound insulation. We would love nothing more than to insulate every single home in the city but we’re not allowed to do it.” He added that the city’s parking issues can be improved by neighbors having more consideration of others.
Mayor Butts closed the meeting by defending the City’s decision to file the lawsuit:
“This was never about free speech. It was about the unauthorized use of a product paid for by the tax payers. Mr. Teixeira says whatever he wants every week and you know that.
“We felt it was unfair for someone to cannibalize our videos, (and) it was lawful that we did it (sued). The L.A. Times did six stories on this lawsuit—six! But they don’t write about the good things in Inglewood. So you have to wonder what their motivations are. There’s no city in this country that has advanced as far as this city has in the last 3 years. You can’t beat the City of Inglewood.”