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New Marijuana Rules Coming in 2018

Thursday, September 28, 2017

By Veronica Mackey


At Tuesday’s council meeting, a public hearing was held to consider a zoning code amendment to the Inglewood Municipal Code modifying marijuana/cannabis regulations. 


Beginning in 2018, a framework must be established for licensing and taxation of medical marijuana, in accordance with new state laws. Local authorities will maintain the right to prohibit commercial marijuana activity.  In Inglewood, marijuana is only allowed to be sold and dispensed at hospitals, hospices or other inpatient medical facilities.


Council members approved several agenda action items, including:

•A staff report outlining the City’s response to the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury Report titled, Impound Practices in Twelve Cities:  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


•A one-year agreement (with the option to extend for two additional years in one-year increments) with Chung & Associates for marketing, advertising & graphic design services 


•A staff report detailing the Fourth of July strategies employed by the City’s Code Enforcement Division

•An agreement with MGT of America Consulting LLC to review cost allocation of the Information Technology and Communications Department, and update citywide allocation 


•A contract for painting the interior and exterior of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center project 


•The purchase of carpet for the Main Library from Tandus Centiva, Inc. 


•A lease agreement with the Senate Rules Committee, California Legislature, to occupy Suite 600 in Inglewood City Hall


•A second amendment to Agreement No. 15-286 with LA Taxi Cooperative, Inc. (Yellow Cab), United Independent Taxi Drivers Incorporated (United Independent Taxi), and All Yellow Taxi Cabs to provide subsidized taxicab services for elderly and disabled persons through September 30, 2019  



•Amendment to an agreement with Susan Narduli Studio to extend the term until November 30, 2017, to allow time for completion of work related to Phase II Design Build Artist Services, including final design, technical drawings, and oversight of artwork fabrication and installation for the Inglewood Senior Center Project


•An agreement with the City of Glendale to provide forensic services through the Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory

•Payment of an invoice from Josephson for providing organizational and performance development


•Payment of an invoice from Bearcom Wireless Worldwide/Advanced Electronics to provide preventive maintenance and on-call emergency repair service for the Police Department’s radio equipment


•Approval of a three-year agreement (with an option to extend one additional year) with Country Hills Animal Clinic to provide veterinary services for the Police Department’s Canine Unit


•A professional services contract with DKS Associates to provide design and engineering services for the ITS Phase IV-B Improvements Project  


•A cooperative service agreement with ACCO Engineered Systems to replace the City’s existing natural gas boilers in accordance with the National Joint Power Alliance cooperative service agreement


•A resolution amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Annual Capital Improvements Program Budget for Centinela Avenue Improvements Project  


•An amendment to an agreement with Santa Monica Electric to provide electrical capital improvements for the modernization of the Parking Garage No. 2 located at 115 N. Locust Street


•An agreement with Medina Masonry to provide masonry services in support of the modernization of Parking Garage No. 2 located at 115 N. Locust Street  



Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Paul McRoberts, Rams cheerleaders and staff paid a visit to Warren Lane Elementary on Tuesday to help spruce up the school.  The Rams organization was joined by parents of Warren Lane Elementary students to help paint and landscape.  The Rams also engaged Sharefest, a local non-profit to help with the beautification effort. 


The project is part of the Rams’ monthly Day of Service initiative.  Each month, the Rams’ front office staff takes time out of the office to volunteer with local non-profits.  During the team’s first year home in Los Angeles, Rams employees provided more than 2,000 hours of community service and impacted 10 local non-profits and 19 schools.  Since January of 2017, the team has volunteered with six local non-profits and 25 schools through the Staff Day of Service program. 


Joining McRoberts, the Rams staff, cheerleaders and parent volunteers were: Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, new State Administrator for Inglewood Unified School District; Dr. Jacqueline Landrum Sanderlin, Executive Director of School and Community Relations for Inglewood Unified School District; and Steve Donahue, Principal for Warren Lane Elementary.



By Veronica Mackey


While alarms in Washington rang loudly when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ripped though Texas and Florida, hurricane stricken Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands received barely a whisper for nearly 6 days.


It has been over a week since Hurricane Maria flattened the landscape in the Caribbean Islands.   Three to four million Puerto Ricans are still without power; food and water are in short supply.  Flights off the island are infrequent, communications are spotty and roads are clogged with debris. 


 U.S. Territories of the Virgin Islands—St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island—were  still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Irma when the Category 5 fury of Maria struck. 


Yet, for 6 days, President Donald Trump seemed more preoccupied with criticizing black NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem than getting aid to the U.S.-owned territories.  In fact, by Friday—2 days after Maria made landfall—he’d tweeted more than two dozen times about the NFL.


His apparent lack of empathy has not gone unnoticed, and one Puerto Rican official warned that Maria could become Trump’s “Katrina.”  The monstrous Category 5 hurricane of 2005—from which Louisiana is still recovering—was a black eye on former President George W. Bush’s legacy.  His slowness to act stirred harsh criticism, particularly within the African American community.


Like Puerto Rico, the hardest hit victims of Katrina were poor people of color (in this case, mostly African Americans). Is Trump doing what Bush was accused of—ignoring the desperate cries of the poor?  


By Monday, Democrats and Republicans were emphasizing that Puerto Ricans are Americans, too. “We have a fundamental obligation to Puerto Rico to respond to a hurricane the way we would anywhere in the country. #HurricaneMaria,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted Tuesday.


When Trump finally woke up, he announced he’d visit the islands this week, and said “Everyone says we’re doing a great job,” despite contrasting reports. 


Adding insult to injury, in a trio of tweets on Monday night, Trump suggested that Puerto Rico was suffering in part because it had incurred “billions of dollars” in debt to “Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”


Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month.



Pay Raises a Moot Point for Council

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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.


If you were one of those people like me who thought the GOP’s failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare was dead in the water, think again.


It wasn't that long ago that we thought the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died once and for all in the Senate, but it’s not so.


Like a bad penny, the fight to dismantle the legacy of former President Barack Obama just won’t go away.  It continues to rise from the ashes with new names and subtle word changes, and hang around like a cold sore.


We thought Republicans like Senators Rand Paul, John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski—who voted against the bill—had succeeded in keeping their colleagues from passing bad legislation that would leave 20 million Americans without affordable health insurance options.  


We breathed a sigh of relief and began to focus on other things like the Trump-Russia investigation, the devastating hurricanes that wreaked havoc in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean Islands. and the earthquake that rocked Mexico this week.  While we were looking at the wreckage, Republican Senators met quietly to hash out a new scheme to sway more votes their way.  


The new plan is called Graham-Cassidy (named after Republican Senators Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy), and it is now being dangled—with a few perks for Alaska—in front of Murkowski.  Paul is still a solid no, and so are McCain and Collins.


Graham-Cassidy was introduced just last week, and has picked up stream in the Senate within just a few days.  It essentially deconstructs all of the major programs created by the Affordable Care Act, gathers up the money and hands it over to states to run their own health care programs.


It gets rid of both the subsidies that help people buy individual health insurance policies and the reimbursements to insurance companies for offering price breaks on copayments and deductibles to the lowest-income customers.  Republicans have until September 30 to get it passed.


Republicans won’t stop until health care goes back to the days when insurance companies could do whatever they wanted to consumers and the only option available to low-income people was trips to hospital emergency rooms.


Let’s keep our eyes on this one, and keep the pressure on Republicans.  We can’t afford to wake up one day in the near future and find we no longer have the coverage we need.  


This terrible health care bill that Republicans want to use to line the pockets of millionaires in the form of tax cuts has been resurrected…just in time for Halloween.  Time to get to work and slay this two-headed monster.


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