It’s been 3 weeks since the last Inglewood Council Meeting and the first public session since Mayor James Butts’ re-election. The packed agenda included everything from proposed public works projects to financial reports and initiatives for holiday events.
Tuesday’s meeting began with a proclamation, recognizing November as National Caregiver’s Month. Three public hearings were held—the first to consider ordinances for several building codes. There was a lot of interest in California Historical Building Code 2013. The code will identify certain structures within the City of Inglewood as historic sites.
“The California Historic Building Code is important. Adding the historic building code is a major step forward. It will help developers repurpose instead of demolish,” said Anne Cheek La Rose.
“One building we must preserve is that movie theatre on Market Street (Fox Theatre),” Gil Mathieu said.
A second public hearing was held to consider an ordinance to express the City’s intent to comply with California Senate Bill No. 7 (SB7) relating to the Prevailing Wage Law. According to Public Works Director Louis Atwell, “(SB7) prohibits cities from using funding unless they comply with prevailing wage laws. It also allows cities like Inglewood to ensure continued eligibility for state funding.”
Mathieu and Leroy Fisher wanted to know what is being done to make sure prevailing wages are paid. “I don’t see a lot of people getting these contracts who look like me,” Fisher said, alluding to the hiring of minorities.
Atwell also asked the City to consider drilling and constructing a water well at 101 W. Arbor Vitae. “The well would pump between 1,500-2000 gallons a minute. Every time we drill, it saves the City money because we are no longer importing our water,” he said.
Ethel Austin supports the well project: “We used to have our own water instead of buying from other places. This is a plus.”
Some in the audience had questions: How is this going to affect the ground water? How deep will the drilling be? How much will it cost residents?
“They dig 700 feet to get this water and the cost—we go to Congress to get funding to…maintain the water replenishing plan as well as the new well,” Councilman Ralph Franklin answered.
Mayor James Butts added that the savings accrued from having a city-owned well will “only be a hedge against future increases in water rates.”
“They go up 5 to 8 percent each year because of the cost of bringing water down from Northern California,” Atwell said.
City Treasurer Wanda Brown reported that the Fabulous Forum has generated $237,500 in admission sales tax and $561,000 in parking tax for the City of Inglewood, “compared to zero” had the City not reached a deal. Revenue does not include taxes from concession sales. Inglewood is expected to receive more than $800,000 in tax revenue from the Forum this year alone.
“For those who thought it wasn’t a good deal, pay attention,” Butts said.
City Clerk Yvonne Horton got a green light to hold Inglewood’s next General Municipal Election on Tuesday April 7, 2015.
Mayor Butts is still riding high, having captured 84% of the votes over his 3 opponents on Nov. 4.
“This was a great statement of your leadership and we’re all proud of you,” Councilman Eloy Morales said.
Butts commented: “People didn’t just vote for me. People also voted for this council. People voted for results.”
Councilmember George Dotson used his closing remarks to congratulate Mayor Butts on his re-election and recap last weekend’s Covered California health fair. “I want to encourage anyone who does not have healthcare to sign up before February 15. If you need help, call (800) 300-1506,” Dotson said.
Franklin added that there were well over 500 guests at the Covered California event on Nov. 15 and 250 began the healthcare enrollment process. “Health care is critical. In many cases, it could be little to no cost to the family.”
Councilman Alex Padilla also congratulated the mayor for a “well run and successful campaign.”
Initiatives were approved for the City of Inglewood to sponsor holiday toy drives in Districts 2 and 4.
With the election behind him, Mayor Butts is making good on his promise to pay more attention to Inglewood schools. KPCC published a scathing article on Nov. 6 about unsafe and unsanitary conditions at several campuses.
“We will be meeting with the state superintendent’s office on Friday. There is work to be done and our voices need to bring about effective change. This city is nothing without a good school district,” Butts said.
“We have really rounded the corner. We are on the right path. I am proud to be your mayor. "