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My Message to Graduates

Thursday, May 25, 2017

As this school year comes to a close, graduates will, no doubt, think about the things they can finally leave behind like books, getting up early and going to classes they don’t like.  They’ll be glad to ditch the studying—even if only for a summer. 


If you are a graduate, there will be a lot of emphasis on what you’re graduating from, but there may not be much thought on what you will be graduating to. You may or may not know what’s next.  High school, college, graduate school,  a job or a year off to figure it out.  


There are many options.  But knowing what you are graduating to can provide you with the stability needed to sustain your vision.


The world that you are inheriting is very different from what your parents and grandparents experienced. Many of the things that gave us comfort are being steadily eroded— public health care systems like Medicaid and Medicare; retirement income from Social Security. There was a time when this country had systems in place to take care of the most vulnerable among us. 


While you are still young, and hopefully on track to earn substantially more money than family members in prior generations, it is important to take a hard look at where you are in relation to the collective whole.


Take health care for instance.  Today, the Congressional Budget Office released estimates on the cost of Donald Trump’s health care bill.  According to the numbers, some 23 million people would lose coverage by 2026.  As Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said, “Unless you are a healthy millionaire, Trump Care is a nightmare.”


Hopefully, your good health will last a long while, but try not to take it for granted.  You could very well be among those 23 million if the Republican healthcare bill were to pass the Senate as-is.


This is not to dampen your spirit, but to point out that any education that does not prepare you for the flipside of life is inadequate, regardless of the institution.


Whether you are graduating from middle school, high school or college, it’s a good idea to map out a solid Plan B or a “what if” scenario in case life doesn’t go as planned.


This is not to suggest that your Plan A won’t come true, but to give yourself some options and a way to keep hope alive.  Life is not a straight line—although it may feel that way when we hear all those wonderful commencement speeches.  Life is full of twists and turns and the more able you are at managing the ups and downs, the better.


Make your Plan B the best you can, but focus on your dream.   Then go out and have some serious fun. Inglewood Today salutes graduates of all ages and stages. Congratulations on a job well done.





Introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford


Sacramento – The California Senate approved SB 620 (Bradford) on a vote of 22-14 to allow a court, in the interest of justice, to use judicial discretion when applying a sentence enhancement for using or discharging a firearm, consistent with other enhancements.


Senator Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) spoke about a case where a 17-year old was given a 30-year to life sentence when it was not clear if he or another person had fired a gun. While the young man denied firing the gun, he was still convicted. He had no criminal history and his teachers, clergy and family testified to his character as a hard-working student who no history of causing trouble. The judge who sentenced him stated on the record that his hands were tied in imposing the sentence.


Bradford also pointed to data showing that African-Americans are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person, which disproportionately increases racial disparities in the prison population.


California’s lengthy prison sentences stem from tragedies: the murders of Kimber Reynolds in 1992 and Polly Klass in 1994. Their fathers advocated for “Three Strikes and You’re Out” and “Use a Gun and You’re Done” laws. SB 620 affects the “Use a Gun and You’re Done Law” by allowing a court to apply the longer sentences on a case-by-case basis. The enhancements would remain in place.


Studies of these enhancements show that increasing an already long sentence does not deter crime.  According to Bradford SB 620 does not get into that debate because it does not eliminate the enhancements. Nor does it suggest a judge should disregard enhancements. Judges should consider the circumstances of the crime and the history of the perpetrator and deal with the individual appropriately. This moves the decision about sentencing from one that is rigid and without meaningful consideration to one that is specific to the circumstances of the case.


“Lives and Families are destroyed when criminals commit crimes.  Our justice system needs to focus on getting them off the streets.  We must allow our courts to assess the specifics of each case individually.”  Senator Bradford said.


Local police departments have prepared for extra security, particularly around areas and events which draw large crowds.  On Tuesday night at the Forum in Inglewood—one day after 22 concertgoers were killed in a suicide attack in Manchester, UK—security was heightened at the Chris Brown concert.


Inglewood, like Los Angeles and many other cities across the nation, is beefing up security with increased police presence, and also asking the public to be vigilant about suspicious looking people, behavior or items. 


Those who died in Manchester, including an 8-year old girl, were victims of a bomb which exploded as they were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.


Salman Abedi, 22, has been identified by police as the suspected suicide attacker, according to CNN.  ISIS has claimed responsibility.


Inglewood police encouraged the public to come to Tuesday's concert in a statement and planned to uphold public safety at the event.


Some concertgoers who attended the Chris Brown concert told KTLA that they were disheartened and saddened by the attack in Manchester.  Others said the unfortunate incident in Manchester has made them more aware of their surroundings.


Madison Square Garden, owner of the Forum, said the company “is continuing to work closely with local law enforcement to ensure we remain informed of any potential concerns." 


Inglewood police on Monday night acknowledged the tragic blast in Manchester, posting a Twitter message that read, "Praying for you Manchester."  Grande was not hurt. She later posted a message on Twitter that read, "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words."


Los Angeles police said Monday the department was monitoring the situation in England and assured residents that adequate resources are deployed in an effort to keep people and public spaces safe.


Security has also been heightened in and around LAX.  So far, no threats have been reported.  



A Friend, A Home, A Mortgage

Thursday, May 25, 2017

By Glenda Brass, MBA


There comes a time over the course of any renter's time in a particular piece of real estate where it seems that the payments are providing a great stream of income for a landlord but little for you. Indeed, as incomes begin to creep up and the ability to handle at least a portion of a mortgage becomes a possibility, more and more renters are beginning to feel that way and enlist a friend to make their home ownership dreams happen.


There is a time in life where particular income levels can outgrow renting but perhaps be too small to take on a full mortgage. As a way to either bridge that gap or land a home above a single person's income level, teaming up in with a friend or family member to operate as co-owners on a home is a really good strategy. Many cultures successfully employ this tactic. As with any real estate transaction, these deals require a bit of care and, more importantly, asking some tough questions of yourself and your prospective co-owner.


Why Do You Think Co-Ownership Is For You?


Everyone that ponders co-ownership needs to be sure about why it seems like a good idea. Problems can arise when you and your friend are not on the same page about the benefits you hope to see through co-ownership and that discord can harm the search for an actual home. Are you looking for tax benefits on the new property? Are you looking to upgrade your surroundings by sharing the mortgage burden? Are you hoping to build equity and sell the home in five years? These types of motivations are common and the only way to be sure that you and your prospective co-owner are on the same page is to go ahead and ask them. It may seem silly, but this step has to come before ever going to a showing or looking at an open house as your target will change based on what you are trying to accomplish.


What Happens If You Get That Dream Job Offer?


Any plan needs contingencies and getting involved with a co-owner is no different. What happens if you get the job offer of a lifetime in a different state? Discussion needs to take place about the possible options that face both of you if one of you decides to leave town. There are a number of options available should that occur.


How Much Do I Trust You?


While it may seem crass to ask this in regards to how you feel about your prospective housemate, the fact of the matter remains that a significant portion of your financial future is tied up with this person. If you have doubts about whether your friend has the ability to make regular payments, that should send up a red flag and end the discussion there.


Co-ownership can be a great way to solve the problem of wasting money on rent and wanting to build equity without the income level to do so. However, before ever traveling down that path, you need to evaluate your prospective housemate to make sure that you aren't getting in over your head. Stay careful and you will ultimately find the right living situation for you.


Glenda Brass is a successful real estate consultant who has been in the real estate industry for almost 20 years. She is CEO/Managing Partner of Brass & Brass Enterprises, LLC, located at 2639 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. For a free consultation on anything real estate… selling, buying, renovating, leasing, or to learn about our consumer education offerings through Operation Purchase a Home, contact Glenda at 310-345-9707 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


By Veronica Mackey


Tuesday’s council meeting began with two public hearings.  The first hearing outlined new penalties and administrative fines for fireworks violations in the City of Inglewood. The Inglewood Municipal Code has been amended to provide stricter guidelines (including the criminal penalty and fines) for dealing with unlawful use or possession of illegal fireworks.  


Basically, the City only allows the use of Safe and Sane Fireworks, which are the only fireworks sold legally in the city.  Illegal fireworks include those that fly in the air, move or explode.  Violators can expect a fine of up to $500 for using illegal fireworks; for allowing children under the age of 18 to handle any fireworks unsupervised by adults; and for use of fireworks on public property without city approval. Fireworks enforcement is in effect from 5pm until 8am.  New guidelines have been published in English and Spanish, and will be distributed to schools, block captains, and the Inglewood libraries.


Resident Ray Davis noted the huge problem with litter after using fireworks.  “People leave trash in the middle of the street. It’s something that needs to be addressed,” he said.


The second hearing dealt with the regulation and control of backflow and cross connection in the City’s water system.  Public Works Director Louis Atwell introduced an ordinance to get more businesses in compliance with backflow prevention.  According to Atwell, only 10 percent are in compliance.  Restaurants and medical facilities are the main businesses that will be affected by the ordinance.


Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer David Esparza began the presentation on the City’s Mid Year Finance Report for Fiscal Year 2016-17.  Details in the report were given by a staff member.


Here is how the City of Inglewood is looking fiscally in its first 6 months from October 2016 through March 2017:


•Building permit fees are down 24 percent

• Utility user tax are down 6 percent 

•Sales tax are up by $1.2 million or 19 percent

•Property tax are up by 7 percent

•Other local taxes (including license fees and franchise tax) are up $2.3 million.  The reopening of Hollywood Park Casino in 2016 is partly responsible for the increase.

•General Fund expenditures so far this fiscal year are $122 million.  About 47 percent of the budget has been spent.


“The City is on track for revenue at this point,” the staffer said. 


Councilman Eloy Morales noted that Inglewood was able to restore prior levels of park and library services which had been cut. “A couple years ago, we didn’t have any budget.  We talked about bringing library and parks back to where it was before, in terms of hours.  In public works, we added services. 


“The important thing is that we have increased service levels, but still we are below the (budget) mid-point for this year,” Mayor James Butts said.


City Treasurer Wanda Brown shared a story about the ever-rising value of homes in Inglewood.  A developer bought a home for $350,000. The plan is to remodel it into a 5-bedroom residence.  “It was quite dilapidated,” Brown said.  “But when done, it will probably sell for something like $800,000.”


Councilman George Dotson shared his excitement at attending the recent Junior ROTC graduation, and the unveiling of the new state-of-the-art baseball and softball field at Darby Park. “They put on (baseball) clinics for the kids. I hope your kids were able to come out and participate,” Dotson said.  He also announced the upcoming Family Day in the Park, on July 15, at Edward Vincent Park—a community family picnic which will include a health fair as well. 


Councilman Alex Padilla announced that new plants were added to North Park last weekend, thanks to volunteers from a local sorority.  The District 2 Councilman also reminded everyone about the annual Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans this Monday, May 29 at 11am on the North Lawn of City Hall. 


Council members approved payment to Kane Ballmer & Berkman for legal advice, guidance and representation, and with Buchalter, also for legal services.  The council agreed to a two-year blanket purchase order (with the option to extend for one additional year) with P&R Paper Supply Company for the purchase of various janitorial supplies for all City facilities; payment for tree maintenance, printing, and additional appraisal services.


An agreement will be amended between the City of Inglewood, Inglewood Housing Authority, and PATH Inglewood Pacific Associates for an affordable senior housing development project, located at 502 through 508 S. Eucalyptus Avenue, Inglewood, California 90301. The amendment will provide for certain financial assistance for up to $5,500,000.


Mr. Jim Vaughan and Charles Braggs were honored for their outstanding service with the Inglewood Junior ROTC. 







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