Pay Raises a Moot Point for Council

Thursday, September 21, 2017 Written by 
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By Veronica Mackey


Should Mayor James Butts and members of the Inglewood City Council get pay raises all around?  Inglewood realtor Larry Springs thinks so, and made his opinion known for the second consecutive week at Tuesday’s meeting. 


“We don’t want to lose our star players,” he said.


Long time resident Willie Agee agreed:  “We want to keep them happy,” he said, and added:  “There are 275 people in Washington, D.C. (Members of Congress) who are millionaires.”


“Let’s hold off for one year,” said community advocate Stuart Bailey.  “We don’t think you guys don’t deserve a raise. It’s just that this city needs more fine tuning.”


There was some back and forth about whether the mayor and council were deserving of raises, until Butts said it was a moot point:


“…We can’t give ourselves a raise.  It’s something you have to vote on,” Butts said.  “There are no raises on the table.”  After some discussion with council members, he later said, “My bad.  It may be in the city charter.”


A woman from the Fourth District got answers to her questions:  A new senior housing project is underway, and groundbreaking was set for Sept. 20.  Street reconstruction along Imperial Highway begins in January 2018.


Aldene Sligh reported that materials used to soundproof a resident’s home was of inferior quality. The resident complained and the company came back, changed all the windows and did the work again with better materials.  


“It’s just something to think about for the record. You should check and see,” Sligh said. 


Inglewood Treasurer Wanda Brown reported the City of Inglewood ended the third fiscal quarter (June 30, 2017) with a balance of $84, 214,708.  She also announced that a new internship program will be starting in her department in mid October, and will run for 6 weeks.  


The annual Hispanic Heritage Festival, held last weekend at Crozier Middle School, was another hit for the City of Inglewood. The event featured the popular classic car show.


“If you did not attend the Hispanic Heritage Festival, you missed it. The auto show was excellent!” Councilman George Dotson said. 


Kudos also went out to the South Bay Work Force Investment Board, which recently celebrated the 4th anniversary of the teen center.  The ABC Block Club got a shout-out for civic engagement and a wonderful time had at the block party.


Councilman Alex Padilla thanked the L.A. Chargers and Inglewood Police Department for volunteering their time to spend with children.  The event inspired some young residents to want to become officers themselves. 


With regard to the Hispanic festival, Padilla said:  “There was overwhelming response from the community and business owners. We had food vendors, and we had over 65 classic cars. Folks were dancing from beginning to the end.”  


Councilman Ralph Franklin added his positive remarks about the festival and reminded the public to remember hurricane victims:  


“I want to embrace those fighting to recover from hurricanes.  Let’s keep them in our prayers,” he said.


Councilman Eloy Morales gave kudos to the Parks, Recreation and Library Services staff and Hispanic festival committees for putting together such a successful event.


Mayor Butts called out Diane Sombrano whose earlier remarks about SB 789, he said, were not accurate.  The bill would shorten the time allowed for a state environmental agency to file any lawsuits relative to building the L.A. Clippers arena in Inglewood.


“We had a comment about CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act)—as if CEQA had something to do with earthquakes.  CEQA has to do with traffic, and air and water quality.” Getting SB 789 through is important because “big projects have to have some certainty as to when they will be able to be constructed.”   


Butts added, “Fortunately, we don’t get that much misinformation now.  Beware of people trying to convince you that building a basketball arena on land that stood fallow for 25years…that’s a bad thing.” 


The council agreed to accept grant funds to hire police officers and for traffic safety.  Agreements were approved to purchase architectural consulting services and on-call planning and environmental professional services.


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