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Halloween With Love

Thursday, October 30, 2014

On the grounds of one of Inglewood’s most renowned educational institutions, Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School held its annual Harvest Festival in celebration of Halloween.


Chief Executive Officer of Wilder’s Prep, Mrs. Ramona Wilder said, “Today’s event represents a very rich history of our harvest festival. It is a day that we get together, the parents, the students, the teachers, the faculty, and we celebrate Halloween.  We come in costumes, we have plenty of games, we have plenty of food, and it is a fundraiser. We raise funds for each class, for the activities those classes participate in through the academic year.”



Director of Student and Site Operations, and newest member of the administrative team, Ms. Jackson added, “It’s a great time because not only do families get to come out, but the teachers and parent volunteers, as well as members of the community get to come out to have fun. We’re a K-8 school, so it’s a safe place for young kids as well as older kids to have fun, and it’s also an opportunity for our students to volunteer. We had our 7th and 8th graders construct the haunted house. So, it’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to give back, not only to our school, but also to share this with their community members.”


Senior staff member and economics teacher Mr. Parker shared, “I’ve been here 15 years and every year it’s gotten better. The best thing is that it’s something here for everyone, parents, grandparents, children of all ages, but there’s something here that you may not see other places, and that’s definitely love.”


Mayor James Butts made an appearance and noted that this was one of the best events he’s been to all year and added, “The City of Inglewood has a rich history of championship-type institutions.  Sometimes things come and go.  The Lakers and Kings left, but one thing that’s been steadfast in our city is Wilder’s Academy. It is actually an educational treasure, it’s one of the most renowned institutions in this area, and we’re so grateful that they continue to thrive here in the City of Inglewood.”






With crime down 39 percent, property values up 40 percent and the Forum re-opened, Inglewood voters are poised to re-elect their mayor James Butts to a second term in office come Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Citing his unparalleled record of public service and commitment to moving Inglewood forward, throughout this election season voters have shown strong support for Butts’ re-election.


“The Mayor has reduced the city’s deficit tremendously and renewed Inglewood’s reputation,” explained Maxine Toler, Chair of the city’s Human Affairs Commission.  “Mayor Butts’ greatest accomplishments in my opinion are The Forum, Hollywood Park Tomorrow, sewer repair, and crime reduction.”


Hollywood Park Tomorrow is a new project for the city that is expected to include open space, mixed use, commercial and recreation, residential, and civic space.  There are plans for a hotel and about 146 residential units.  It’s a project that residents identify with the mayor’s results-driven leadership.


Residents also point to improvements being made to Centinela Hospital, the only hospital in the immediate area for Inglewood residents.  Earlier this year the mayor announced that Thrifty Gas Station was building a new community center with public access at no cost to the city.  More recently, the mayor announced five finalists have been shortlisted for the City of Inglewood’s Market Street development competition. The finalists will compete for the opportunity to develop five of the most desirable transit-oriented real estate parcels in Southern California. The five firms are City Ventures with LAB Holding, Itex Group, NAEROK Property Development with Highridge Costa Development Company, Neighborhood Housing Services with Sticks Holdings and Faithful Central Bible Church, and Thomas Safran and Associates. 


Downtown Inglewood’s Market Street Development project includes a 2.5-acre city-owned site at the intersection of Florence and La Brea Avenues and several smaller parcels at the gateway of Inglewood’s historic Market Street shopping district. According to the mayor, Market Street is one of the best transit-oriented development sites in all of Los Angeles County.


Willie Agee, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission for the City of Inglewood said, “Mayor Butts is an honest man of integrity and he can’t be bought.” Agee continued by saying that, “He works for the residents of Inglewood and not himself.”


Longtime Inglewood resident Mari Morales said that she knew only one word to describe his work, “Great!”


When Mayor Butts was elected in 2011, the City of Inglewood was spending $50,000 more than it was earning.  Butts came in and made some tough decisions, and today the budget is balanced and Inglewood has nearly eliminated its structural deficit.  By working with regional officials, Inglewood has restored over $50 million in lost funding for the Residential Sound Insulation program and the City has insulated over 1,000 homes in the past year.


Perhaps Butts’ greatest accomplishment is in the fact that after years and years of having a council who could not agree on anything, Inglewood has a united city council that is moving the city forward.  For the first time in a longtime, all of the City’s councilmembers are united behind the re-election of their mayor.


Even though driving through Inglewood and seeing the hundreds of lawn signs in support of Butts’ re-election would give the impression that he is running unopposed, Butts faces three other candidates on Tuesday.  Former Councilmember Mike Stevens, actress Sandie Crisp and businessman Gilbert Mathieu are all on the ballot running for mayor.


Voters will have the final say on Tue. Nov. 4 and if the comments and support that have been thrown behind James Butts is any indication as to the outcome of the election, Inglewood is positioned to re-elect  their mayor to another 4-year term—a referendum that speaks volumes about the work that he’s accomplished in moving the “City of Champions” forward.






After heartfelt testimony from residents and environmental advocates calling for the revitalization of an 8-mile stretch of blighted, abandoned railway in South Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has voted to allocate $2.8 million for pre-construction activities, including architectural design work and environmental studies.


By acting on  a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has championed the project for more than two years, Metro  catapulted Rail to River, a plan to convert the stretch of unused railway  into a greenbelt with a recreational walking and bike path, from a cherished  and long-held idea into an actual project.


“Today we set the foundation for what I know will become a wonderful asset to the community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “It is simply unacceptable that we have allowed blight to not only remain, but flourish along this property, and I am gratified that my colleagues on the Metro Board were supportive of this game-changing project.”


As envisioned, Rail to River will revitalize the abandoned rail road track connecting the Los Angeles River to the Fair View Heights Station of the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail; the right of way runs through Huntington Park, South Los Angeles and the City of Inglewood.  


The proposed Inglewood segment includes a stretch that runs from 67th St. and West Blvd. to Florence Ave. and West Blvd.


Over the past two years, community members have come together to envision a walking path and bike trail that will connect this section of Los Angeles—which includes some of the densest and impoverished communities—to the transit system and the L.A. River.


Before the vote Thursday, advocates called on the Board to approve the project, noting that the responsibility for addressing the blight rests with Metro, which owns the property, and positing that investment by the agency would inspire other funders to follow suit.


The California Black Women’s Health Project (CBWHP) also noted that the site of the project is located in an area of Los Angeles with a meagre amount of green space.


“South L.A. residents face high rates of obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic health concerns,  and Rail to River will create a vital recreation facility in the most park-poor area of the city, where there are only 1.7 acres of open space for every 1,000 residents,” wrote CEO Gloria Morrow.


Pacoima Beautiful, an environmental education and advocacy group, T.R.U.S.T. South LA and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust also threw their support behind the project.


“There is much work to be done to provide the amount of green space South LA needs and deserves,” wrote Alma Bokde, executive director of the Trust. “…a truly transformative, game changing  project like the Rail to River Active Transportation Corridor project is needed to [catalyze the creation of] a green backbone for South Los Angeles.


Across the country, abandoned rail right-of-ways have been turned into pedestrian access and bicycle routes -- perhaps most notably on the “High Line” in New York City, which has catalyzed over $2 Billion in private investment around the park.


The Whittier Greenway Trails, and other Metro-funded projects such as the Metro Orange Line, the Bellflower Bike Trail, and the Chandler Bikeway in Burbank are local examples.


For more information, view the video at Rail to River: A Vision (,






Citing concerns from airport police officers, flight attendants, nurses and many others, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Inglewood) met with LAX officials on Tuesday to discuss and review what is being done to keep passengers safe from the Ebola virus. 


Waters requested a meeting in a letter to Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey last week.


“There is growing concern in the community about the threat that Ebola poses to public health.  Organizations representing diverse constituencies such as airport police officers, flight attendants and nurses have contacted my office to express their concerns. Given the potential for the spread of Ebola through air travel, it is critical that officials in the community surrounding LAX understand the procedures that are being followed at LAX to protect passengers, employees, and the community,” Waters wrote. 


After the meeting, Waters expressed her appreciation and satisfaction with the screening protocols currently in place:


“Today’s meeting was the start of an important dialogue that must continue in the weeks and months to come.  I appreciate the participation of numerous local and federal officials, whose knowledge and expertise made today’s discussion an informative and productive one.  I believe that the protocols in place at LAX are substantive and comprehensive, and the airport appears to be properly prepared for an incident involving an individual with Ebola,” Waters said in a statement.


Representatives from LAWA, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Los Angeles Fire Department; City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, and a number of local mayors, elected officials and key stakeholders attended the meeting on Tuesday.


So far, 5 major U.S. airports are screening passengers for Ebola, arriving from West Africa.  LAX is not among them. 


Waters noted that, “Although I am pleased with the progress thus far, there are a number of follow up measures that must take place. First, greater communication with the public is absolutely necessary to ensure our citizens remain informed of the plan in place. Moreover, I believe we must begin a dialogue with the airlines themselves, to better understand protocols, and to determine if they have the equipment and resources necessary to respond to an ill passenger.”


More information is available at


What if . . .

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I’m back from my sister’s wedding in New Orleans.  While there, I took in as much of the city as possible during last-minute wedding preparations and the open house for out-of-town guests.  As I noticed various things, I thought, “What if we brought some of these things to Inglewood”?


The first thing I noticed in the French Quarter, the Marigny, and in several strictly residential neighborhoods, is that there is very little trash blowing around the streets and in yards.  There is resident pride in how neighborhoods look and in the look of New Orleans in general.  This is not something I see around Inglewood. 


How about we start a “DON’T TRASH INGLEWOOD” campaign?  Let’s not wait for city government to embrace it, let’s start it ourselves.  Look at your yard or at the front of your business and remove trash in the yard, on the sidewalk, and in the gutter on a regular basis.  Tell your neighbors and fellow merchants so they can do the same.  When you see trash on a sidewalk, pick it up and put it in the nearest trash can.


Next summer, we will be a “Host Town” for Special Olympics.  As a Host Town, I would expect some of the anticipated 500,000 spectators for the games will want to choose Inglewood for their lodgings.  We don’t have near enough hotel rooms to accommodate a great number of visitors, so perhaps we could think of renting out our houses or a room or two for those who prefer to be in a home instead of a hotel.  This would give visitors the opportunity to get to know Inglewood and our wonderful people in a way other visitors will not.  It will also allow us to keep revenues here.


How about a restaurant guide for ourselves and visitors?  We have some terrific food in town and we need to check it out.  This seems like a good project for the Chamber of Commerce – a good deed for the community.  Increase the Chamber's profile, and they may just get more members out of it.



Market Street, once revitalized, would be perfect for pedi-cabs for getting around.  Heck, this concept makes sense right now for getting to and from a Forum event while parking for a reasonable rate in our downtown structures.  Anyone looking to start a business?



Market Street is Inglewood’s historic business core going back to 1880s.  As such, there are several historic buildings on the street that should be preserved in the development that is about to take place.  There should be makers either on the buildings or in the sidewalk that note Inglewood’s history.  Cities that care about their heritage do this.



New Orleans has a large number of artists and so does Inglewood.  Our merchants should embrace our art colony and seek out their work.  Restaurants and jazz clubs all over the French Quarter and the Marigny hang the work of local artists and Inglewood merchants should do the same. 



I’m just thinking out loud here, but I’m not the only resident with ideas to help make Inglewood great.   Inglewood is moving and is on its way to becoming the town we know it should be.  If you have an idea or two, please share them with me or your Councilperson.






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