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Thursday, November 20, 2014

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. "

On Tuesday November 25, at 3:00 p.m., the Los Angeles Lakers and The Salvation Army Inglewood Citadel Corps will team up to distribute frozen turkeys, pies and all of the classic holiday trimmings to 300 deserving families – just in time for Thanksgiving.  Lakers’ star guard Jeremy Lin and six Laker Girls will be on hand to help pass out the food to those in need and share warm holiday cheer. 


The event will be held at The Salvation Army Inglewood Citadel Corps, 324 E. Queen Street, Inglewood, CA  90301, 

This marks the 7th year that The Salvation Army Inglewood Citadel Corps, along with  various community partners have hosted the “Miracle on Manchester,” food distribution event. Since the event first began, it has given more than 8,000 in need families the gift of a Thanksgiving meal. The Salvation Army Inglewood Citadel Corps will partner with the Los Angeles Lakers, Food Finder, and the Rotary Club of Inglewood whose lead gift of needed food staples for each food box helped make the event a reality. 

During the 2013 holiday season, The Salvation Army in Southern California provided more than 290,000 meals to individuals in need. Delivering food to the hungry is just one of the social services made possible this Christmas season, when money is donated to The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles stationed at storefronts throughout the city. For more information on The Salvation Army in Southern California, visit To help a hungry family in need in your community, contribute to red kettles or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. 

Reggie Theus, men’s head basketball coach at Cal State Northridge and an Inglewood High School alumni, paid a special visit to the school last Wednesday to see his No. 24 green-and-white jersey retired.


The ceremony took place on Nov. 12th, “Reggie Theus Day,” in the gym, and was attended by students, teachers, parents, former teammates and coaches and members of the Inglewood City Council.  A standout player in the 70s, Theus went on to play for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as several NBA teams.


Theus was an MPV for the Sentinels before launching his successful pro career.  A 1975 Inglewood High grad, he averaged 28.5 points and 15.5 rebounds a game while leading the Sentinels to the semifinals of the 4A CIF state tournament. He led the Sentinels to Bay League championships in 1974 and 1975.


“This day is not only about me, it’s about you, because I sat in the same seats that you’re sitting in now. It’s not who you are and where you’re from, it’s where you’re going,” Theus said.


Theus said he was humbled by the response received at Inglewood, and hung around to answer questions by students. 


Before becoming a college coach, Theus played for several NBA teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Kansas City Kings, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic.



Aviation experts are still trying to make sense of the wreckage caused by a plane crash at Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport, Bahamas, even as followers of famed minister, best-selling author, motivational speaker and business leader Dr. Myles Munroe come to grips with his shocking death on Nov. 9. 


“Words cannot express our profound sense of loss for all of the team members on this tragic flight. Dr. Munroe was our visionary, our founder, our mentor, advisor, father figure and friend. He was a global leader and icon and was respected worldwide. His wife Ruth was a faithful companion and constant support for Dr. Munroe and was equally beloved,” reads a statement on the Bahamas Faith Ministries International website. 


Munroe, 60, was headed for a leadership conference when his private Lear jet struck a construction crane as it attempted to land.  The aircraft was flying low due to bad weather.  The plane reportedly exploded, killing all nine passengers, including his wife, a pilot and members of his ministry team.


There were reports that Munroe’s daughter Charisa was also aboard the plane.  However, she is very much alive.  In fact, she has posted two heartfelt messages on social media.  On Facebook, she wrote:


“With indescribable sorrow, I have cried for the last few hours, in the floor of my closet both crying and with hands lifted at the same time in worship.  My papa is the greatest servant leader I have ever met…For every call, post and messages you’ve sent me this evening it has remarkably blessed and nourished my grieving heart.” (


She also penned this on Instagram:


“My mom, Ruth Ann Munroe, was the epitome of grace. She was truly my queen. She was the essence of everything that God defined as a wife and mother. She stood alongside my dad, as the love of his life, sharing faithfully in ministry with him, raising their children and graciously serving him as her king.” (@mylesmunroe)


The Munroes also have a grown son, Chario (Myles Munroe, Jr).



As the founder of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, “Dr. Myles” was a sought after speaker in both the Christian and business worlds.  He was known for his powerful teachings on God-given purpose, which inspired people to live life to the fullest.  I am one of them.


Dr. Myles was my mentor from afar.  We never met, but I bought and read his books and watched him on television every chance I got.  He was so wise, so brilliant, the kind of person who made you think every time he spoke.


Last year, as I was about to publish, 30 Days in September:  How to Master Life’s Tests, (, I heard Dr. Myles say something so profound to my book’s theme that I had to grab it.  “Whatever you proclaim must be tested.”  I quoted him on the back cover.  


Those unfamiliar with Munroe’s work cannot fully appreciate his prominence as a Christian leader without reading his work or hearing him speak. Here is a sample of some of his most powerful quotes, and why so many love him so much:


  1. “If you don’t attempt things, you don’t attract God. ”

  2. “You must decide if you are going to rob the world or bless it with the rich, valuable, potent, untapped resources locked away within you.”

  3. “One of the greatest tragedies in life is to watch potential die untapped.”

  4. “Success is not a comparison of what we have done with what others have done.”

  5.  “When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.”

  6.  “Being open to correction means making ourselves vulnerable, and many people are not willing to do that. ”

  7. Success is making it to the end of your purpose.  If you die before you fulfill your purpose, you were killed. 


Dr. Myles encouraged people to “die empty,” give all you have of yourself.  Then you are ready to pass on.  Dr. Myles lived what he preached.  He fulfilled his purpose. 










Mayor James Butts has responded to an eye-opening investigation that revealed some Inglewood schools are operating under unsafe and unsanitary conditions.  In a statement dated Nov. 11, 2014, the mayor said:


“When I read the November 6, 2014  KPCC article, I contacted the newly re-elected State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson that same day and forwarded to him by email a copy of the article. . .I explained my concerns regarding the multitude of operational, fiscal and sanitation issues that must be addressed immediately.”


The scathing article interviewed staff and volunteers at Inglewood High School, Monroe Middle School and Highland Elementary School.  The investigation revealed the presence of:


  •  Mice and rats
  • Water damage

  • Holes in the ceiling

  • An unstable basketball backboard

  • Nonworking toilets

  • Unclean bathrooms

  • Damaged floors

  • Nonworking fire alarms

  • Incidents and threats of violence with no campus security


In 2012, the Inglewood school district was taken over by the state due to financial problems.  Former State Sen. Rod Wright authored legislation at the IUSD School Board's request to have the State of California loan the District up to $55 million, to be drawn down as needed.  So far, approximately $29 million has been used.


The move stripped the school board of power and put the decision making authority into the hands of a State appointed trustee.  Inglewood has had three trustees within two years.  Current trustee, Don Brann, has been with the district since July 2013, and his authority is subject to review only by the Office of the State Superintendent of Schools


 “Unfortunately, 2 years later, and 15 months into the tenure of Dr. Brann, although some progress has been made, a report issued in August by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Team (FCMAT) documents a number of fiscal, operational, and managerial shortcomings, the majority of which are incompatible with a healthy learning environment and are unacceptable for our children,” Mayor Butts said. 


He continued:  “Equally unacceptable, neither I nor the Council were briefed contemporaneously by the State Trustee regarding the breadth of the issues chronicled in the FCMAT report.” 


According to KPCC, notes were written by independent consultants Brian Hawkins and Dean Bubar for a report issued in August by the FCMAT. 


Brann laid off close to 150 employees earlier this year to help cut the deficit.  Those let go included mostly cleaning staff and all 23 campus security guards. Most Inglewood schools have been without security since this school year began.


Last week, Brann announced to Inglewood Unified faculty and staff in a memo that the district "has selected 17 individuals to fill safety positions at our school sites as soon as possible," according to KPCC.  In addition to campus security, the new guards will provide other services, including CPR, truancy and drug prevention, and conflict resolution.  Brann said the district expects to hire more school police in the near future.


Major improvements to Inglewood schools are planned to begin in 2015, including construction of a brand new Inglewood High School.  The project is estimated to cost $148 million.   


Butts said he told Torlakson, “the safety, health and sanitation issues must receive priority.  He (Torlakson) committed to having maintenance crews at Inglewood High this past weekend and on into the week to remediate this situation immediately.”


Brann has been criticized for his $300,000 personal security detail contract. In an interview last month with KPCC, Brann said “I don’t want to get hurt here. I don’t know enough about present-day Inglewood to know how good the chances are for that so I’m just erring on the side of safety.”  He later apologized to Butts and the Inglewood City Council for his “insensitive” remarks. Brann admitted he has not received any threats since coming to Inglewood. 


"That's a lot of money, that's at least, probably six or seven ... security people," says Chris Graeber, a union official representing non-teaching staff, about Brann’s security cost.    "We say this line, 'the students come first.' Well no, in this case it's the state trustee comes first."


Butts, who was re-elected last week, said, “During this term as your Mayor, I will more closely monitor the progress of the State in improving the IUSD and will vociferously advocate for our childrens', parents' and Inglewood taxpayers' interests.  I will periodically advise you as to the status of the State's effort to stabilize and improve the IUSD. 




















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