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By Veronica Mackey

 

A public hearing was held on Tuesday to receive input on the availability of non-profit agencies to provide paratransit service to elderly and disabled residents within certain areas of Inglewood. 

 

A grant by the City’s Federal Transit Administration gives priority consideration first to nonprofits, then to government agencies.  But, according to Sabrina Barnes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services, there were no takers.

 

“A hearing was held to see if there are any nonprofits to provide the service.  The city did mailings and made phone calls, and was not able to find anyone.  We also reached out to nonprofits we worked with before and invited them to this meeting,” Barnes said. 

 

The City will now move forward and apply for the grant directly.  Inglewood estimates $843,000 is needed to replace paratransit busses. The City will match the funds by $84,300 or 10 percent.  “The City has about 8 vehicles they want to replace.  They are at least 10 years old with an average of 97,000 miles,” Barnes said.

 

Council members approved:

 

•A resolution declaring the result of the General Municipal Election held on April 4, 2017 

 

•Adoption of a resolution approving Final Tract Map No. 65357 to allow the subdivision of 12 condominium units on an approximately 18,979 square-foot property at 417 N.

Market Street 

 

•Approval to pay a $12,000 invoice submitted by the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation for fencing related improvements to the baseball field at Darby Park. The Dodgers originally donated $300,000 to Inglewood to build the field 

 

•An agreement for the Darby Park Surface Improvement Project

 

•Approval to pay an invoice to Century 1st Auto Body & Paint, Inc., for auto body repair services provided to City vehicles 

 

City Clerk Yvonne Horton thanked her staff for their hard work and dedication during the April 4 election.  Treasurer Wanda Brown announced the U.S. debt is $19.6 trillion, compared to China that has $1.2 trillion.

 

Supporters of Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin, the couple shot and killed over a year ago by Inglewood police, showed up again, demanding release of the police investigation report and all video footage, firing of police officers and a retribution fund to compensate their 7 children

 

“The information out there doesn’t make any sense, it just doesn’t add up,” a man said.  Another man thanked everyone for “continuing to be civically engaged.” He added that Michael and Sandlin’s children have waited long enough for justice.   “That’s seven birthdays, two Easters and a Christmas.” 

 

There were praises all around for last weekend’s Earth Day celebration.  “It was a job well done,” one man said.   He also thanked the city council and told members to “Keep up the good work.” 

 

Newly re-elected Councilman George Dotson thanked West Basin Municipal Water District Director Gloria Gray for adding an ocean-friendly garden to the Civic Plaza’s landscape.  The garden is planted right behind City Hall.  He also thanked Clerk Horton and staff for their excellent work during the election.

 

Councilman Alex Padilla added his praise and thanks for the new garden and also noted rising property values in the city.  “Councilman (Ralph) Franklin and I attended a meeting with Inglewood renters and homeowners.  Property values have gone up by 85 percent. It’s good to know that Inglewood is moving in the right direction.”  Kudos went to Angela Williams, Environmental Services Manager, who organized Earth Day, with help from staff and volunteers.

 

Mayor James Butts used his closing comments to congratulate Councilmen Padilla and Dotson on their “overwhelming victories, which is evidence of the overwhelming public support.”  He also added to his comments made last week about the Michael-Sandlin case:  “When the police investigation is over, all you will hear from us is the employment status of the officers.  The officers’ personal records, by California law, are confidential.”

 

On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed critics and offered condolences to the family of Robert Godwin Sr. during his F8 conference, a meeting of software developers. The young billionaire came under fire for allowing the horrific video of a live murder to remain on his website for more than 2 hours.

 

On Easter Sunday, Steve Stephens recorded his random shooting of 74 year-old Godwin in Cleveland on Facebook Live.  He blamed it on his gambling debts and a breakup with his girlfriend.

 

The killer claimed to have killed up to 15 people in another video.  However, police have not been able to confirm any of the alleged murders. 

 

Since the Godwin shooting was uploaded, a debate has begun over the responsibility of social media.  A downside to social networking, critics argue, is that it provides an instant audience for murderers, terrorists and other hardened criminals.  Through it, mentally unstable individuals get the attention they seek.

 

In a video, Zuckerberg openly admitted that Robert Godwin Sr.’s death reminded them that the company “has a lot of work to do” especially in video uploading and reporting. 

 

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr…and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” Zuckerberg said.

 

Justin Osofsky, vice president of Facebook’s Global Operations department, said in a statement released on Monday, “It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for.” He said the company is exploring ways to improve reporting flows and speed up review time.

 

This is not the first time a serious crime has been posted on Facebook. In January, four black people in Chicago were accused of attacking an 18-year-old disabled white man and broadcasting the assault on the service while making anti-white racial taunts.  A month later, the suspects pleaded not guilty.

 

 

 

 

LAPD Police Commissioners approved a new use of force guideline on Tuesday will change the way force is used by officers in Los Angeles.

 

The emphasis on de-escalation, a tactic meant to reduce incidents of police-involved shootings by first employing non-lethal maneuvers whenever possible. The new policy is summarized in just one sentence.  However it will have far reaching implications on police conduct and how officers engage with suspects.

 

The one sentence which will be added to the LAPDs manual of policies and procedures is: “Officers shall attempt to control an incident by using time, distance, communications and available resources in an effort to de-escalate the situation, whenever it is safe and reasonable to do so.” 

 

The change gives LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Chief Beck greater authority to discipline, or possibly fire officers if they fail to properly de-escalate before opening fire. 

 

The LAPD published a 2015 Use of Force executive summary that found an annual average of 44.6 officer involved shootings in the city from 2011 to 2015, slightly below the average in Chicago.

 

Last year, according to the Los Angeles Times, the commission found eight shootings by L.A. cops to be unjustified. 

 

In a statement on the LAPD website, Beck said as a result of enhanced de-escalation training and directives in 2016, “the Department did experience a significant decline of 17% in officer-involved shooting incidents, a 52% reduction in rounds fired per officer, while facing an 18% increase in suspects possessing firearms during officer involved shooting incidents.”

 

De-escalation tactics include expanded mental health intervention training, scenario-based training on decision-making and tactics for deadly force and non-deadly encounters, increased deployment of less-lethal options such as additional TASER's, 40 mm launchers, and bean bag shotguns.

 

Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police union, said the pressure of officers losing their job due to use of force has caused commissioners to give in to politics. “They might lose their house, their family, their kids because they make one bad move. If you make a mistake, you’re going to…go through hell for it,” he said

 

Black Lives Matter activists say the policy change doesn’t go far enough.  BLM organizer Melina Abdullah noted that during a mental health crisis, the first responder should be mental health workers, not police. 

 

Police Commission President Matt said the board has a “moral obligation to preserve life when we can.”

 

 

 

Twenty years ago, before I was aware of the overtly racist and totally biased Fox News, I remember my wife’s uncle ranting and raving about how much he hated Bill O’Reilly.  

 

Then, I began paying attention to O’Reilly’s racist rants and the station’s daily dose of conservative propaganda.  I couldn’t believe how Fox allowed their anchors to just say whatever they wanted, and present it as “news” without a shred of proof.

 

Today, I woke up to the glorious good news that O’Reilly has been fired, and all I can say is, it’s about time! He was fired on allegations of sexual harassment by multiple women.  And although lost revenue—more than his mistreatment of women—was likely behind the firing, what really matters is that he is gone.  Some 50 advertisers have pulled the plug since allegations became public, according to CBS News.

 

Trouble began with Fox's most popular news personality when an April 2 report in The New York Times revealed five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about O’Reilly’s sexual advances.  

 

O'Reilly's exit came nine months after his former boss, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, was also ousted following allegations of sexual harassment. 

 

Despite the fallout, O'Reilly's viewership increased.  It seems his audience can’t get enough of his populist, male dominated, politically conservative, one-sided views. So it hardly came as a surprise that he is not a big fan of women, gays or people of color. For twenty years, he thrived in a corporate culture where women felt unsafe to work, and where it was perfectly acceptable to offend black folks or anyone else who disagreed with him.

 

Fox News is a joke and an insult to every legitimate journalist out there, or anyone who values truth in reporting.  Over the years, O’Reilly has made some pretty outlandish remarks, such as: 

 

“Black men commit murder at 10 times the rates of whites and Hispanics combined.”  According to FBI statistics, 49.3 percent of murders were committed by whites vs. 48.7 by blacks in 2010. Also, whites are more likely to commit violent crimes. 

 

“Raised without much structure, young black men often reject the education process and gravitate towards street culture. It’s a personal decision.” O’Reilly should have been fired long ago for remarks like this that suggest young black men lack discipline and don’t want to succeed in life.  The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education said1.4 million black males are in college versus 824,320 who are in jail. Most college students are between the ages of 18-24. 

 

Despite his disregard for facts, “The O’Reilly Factor” generated $178 million in advertising revenue in 2015, according to Kantar Media. Let’s hope O’Reilly’s replacement is cut from a different cloth.  In this age of “fake news” anything that even comes close to honesty on Fox would be a breath of fresh air.

 

 

 

 

On Palm Sunday, the world experienced yet another attack by ISIS. The terror group which President Obama rightfully described as “pure evil,” struck again—this time killing 44 Christian worshippers and injuring more than 100 at 2 churches in Egypt. 

 

The first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.

 

A second explosion was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark's Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria, and left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured. 

 

The blasts came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt. This mass slaying of innocent people—particularly during a Christian holiday—is ISIS’s calling card.  The terror group boasted that “Christians are our favorite prey.”

 

While American Christians often joke about backsliding from church, and only attending on Christmas or Easter, we do so knowing that whenever we choose, we can enter our churches, mosques and temples expecting to feel safe and welcomed.  We, as a free society, don’t go fearing for our lives or thinking we’ll have to hide our religious beliefs.

 

The Constitution gives Americans the right to worship openly and freely. We are not bound by one particular religion.  Inherent in this right is the expectation that we allow religious freedom to others as well.

 

So, while these attacks impacted Christians, every religious group in America should take notice. ISIS loves no one. Jews, Buddhists, even Islamic people who respect Christians, are not safe.

 

Whether you will attend a House of Worship this weekend, or quietly celebrate Easter with family and friends, let’s remember those victims in Egypt.  They paid the price doing something that should be a personal right for every human being—demonstrating their faith in God, exercising their religious freedom.

 

Inglewood Today wishes you a very happy Easter. May you experience resurrection of your mind, body and spirit, and cherish your religious rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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