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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Good with Stadium Delay

Thursday, May 25, 2017

NFL team owners and officials, and developers of the NFL stadium in Inglewood are looking up, despite an announcement last week that the planned $2.6 billion stadium would be delayed by one year.  

 

In a statement, the Rams said, “This new target gives us flexibility to accommodate any additional delays that may arise while still delivering an unparalleled experience upon opening.”

 

According to the developer, LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park,  “Southern California experienced record-setting rain this winter. Despite bringing drought relief to the region, the rain fell during the mass excavation period of construction when no other work could proceed in wet conditions. As a result, we experienced significant delays and lost the better part of two months from early January into the beginning of March.” 

 

Workers described the site as looking like a lake, with water standing 12 to 15 feet deep. After the downpours, the excavated area had to be drained before work could resume. To date, the stadium bowl is 90-feet deep and fully excavated, with six million cubic yards of dirt removed across the site.  

 

The stadium needed to be built deep into the earth to avoid radar issues with airplanes flying into nearby Los Angeles International Airport.  Developers originally planned for 30 days of rain delays.  But weather had already delayed the project by 60 days within the first few months of construction.

 

NFL owners unanimously voted last week to push back the opening of the stadium until 2020 and the Los Angeles Super Bowl until February 2022.  The stadium will house both the Rams and the Chargers.  Owners also ratified the Raiders’ lease with Las Vegas, allowing that franchise to move ahead with its stadium financing plan.

 

The Las Vegas stadium is projected to cost $1.9 billion, and will consist of a 65,000-seat domed stadium with a natural grass field. The stadium in Las Vegas, like the one in Inglewood, is scheduled to open in 2020.

 

“We wanted to make sure we do everything right, 100%,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said. “It’s a big deal for L.A. We have a Super Bowl, and that’s the important part.”

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised Kroenke’s leadership.  “Bottom line is, Stan was incredibly cooperative on this.  He wants to do what’s right for the NFL. His No. 1 objective is creating a quality stadium for the long term for the fans in Los Angeles. His commitment has not wavered on that.”

 

“Our focus is always on the fan experience," said Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos. "Our future home will be the best stadium in the NFL and deliver a transformational experience for Chargers fans. If getting it right means pushing back the completion date, then I think the extra year is well worth it."

 

In a statement on the 2022 Super Bowl, Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff said: 

 

“In the past week, we have worked with the NFL on the resolution that was presented today and are supportive of the NFL Owners’ decision to play Super Bowl LV in Tampa and to have Los Angeles host Super Bowl LVI in 2022.  Over the next 90 days, we will continue to work with our partners across the Los Angeles region, including the Chargers, to deliver the elements promised in the bid that was approved last year.”

 

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