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Ask and Receive

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It’s a new school year and teachers are welcoming students with eager young minds, excited to learn.  Whether you are in school now or your school days were over eons ago, one thing has not changed.  The student who raises his or her hand, is the one who finds the answer. 


Those who do not ask are often relieved when someone else has the boldness to ask the question they want answered.  In life we often miss out on opportunities simply because we don’t know and therefore do not ask.  Other times, we might think we know but won’t find out for sure.  Then, there are times when fear, pride or shyness get in the way.


At the last council meeting, one woman spoke up about a benefit offered through the City of Inglewood that she did not know she was entitled to.  She was pleasantly surprised and wanted others to know.  Did you know that you are entitled to an annual reimbursement of water fees?  The reimbursement will go a long way, she said, to help her ailing mother whose water had been cut off due to nonpayment.


People complain a lot about government inefficiency, but there is no one better to offer help in a time of emergency.  There are no private companies that can match government in helping you survive with basic living needs. 


You might be surprised to know just how much service is available to you if you will only ask.  Government, churches and nonprofits offer a variety of programs to help families—everything from job training to food, transportation, clothing, substance abuse counseling, access to medical care, low-cost auto insurance, youth programs, food subsidies, housing subsidies, child care and more.


While the economy has come a long way since the Great Recession 6 years ago, there are still a lot of people who are recovering.  So if you are one of them, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Raise your hand!


Just asking in itself is a relief.  It gives others an opportunity to help.  And if you have a need, the fact that you are even thinking about it may be a clue that the help you need is available.  Again you need to ask.


Sometimes people will struggle to keep up with their neighbors, when they could have obtained what they needed right at home.   There are many sayings and clichés about asking which we should follow:  “Ask and receive,” and “The only silly question is the one you don’t ask.”  One of my favorites is, “You never get the right answers in life until you ask the right questions.”


I would encourage anyone facing a difficult time to reach out to your neighbors and your district representatives.  You will never know how you might have been helped unless you make your needs known.   Ask and you will receive.

What Can Inglewood Learn From Apple?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Apple has announced in traditional Apple fashion, what new gizmos and gadgets will be on the market in the future. The world responded Tuesday as a new raft of products, including a mobile wallet, were unveiled.  Apple will team up with retailers like target and restaurants like


McDonald’s, as well as the three major credit card companies. That means that consumers will soon be able to buy a Big Mac or laundry detergent with the tap of a new Apple iPhone or a new smartwatch.


The product, Apple Pay, will almost certainly give Apple a leg up on mobile payments, which Forrester Research expects to reach $100 billion in the United States over the next five years. But it remains to be seen whether people are ready to turn their paying over to a digital device, and whether Apple will be able to keep the edge for long.


Aside from the digital payment device, Apple also announced that the digi payment system will be built into the newly designed iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches diagonally and 6.9 mm wide. The iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches diagonally and a bit thicker at 7.1 mm. The iPhone 6 has enough pixels to make it better than a 720p HD display, and the iPhone 6 Plus has a full 1080p HD display — that’s more than some next-generation gaming consoles. Both feature a new design with rounded edges for a seamless touch.


Reinvention is the nature of successful business. As our city reinvents itself, and turns the jets on its northbound ascension, there a few things that Inglewood can learn from Apple:


1. Learn from other industries. Ideas taken from outside the computer industry are a well-known component to Apple’s success. Most famously, Cuisinart inspired the footprint of the first Mac. But more importantly, Apple took its cues from the hospitality industry. When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs and retail savant Ron Johnson were ramping up to open the first Apple stores, they asked around Apple headquarters in Cupertino, “What‘s the best customer experience you’ve ever had?” Invariably, the answer came back that it was at a Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton or other 5-star hotel or resort. So Apple enrolled all its soon-to-be store managers in the hospitality training and leadership program of the Ritz-Carlton.


2. Stay one step ahead of what folks want. Anticipatory service at the Apple Store can begin for customers even before they arrive in person. If a customer uses the Apple Store app, a revolutionary tool that allows customers to schedule reservations and have employees available for them personally, Apple is able to expect the customer’s arrival at the Apple Store.


3. Tell an amazingly compelling story. Steve Jobs’ partner and Chief Creative Officer at Pixar Animation said no amount of technology can fix a bad story. Jobs’ Stanford University commencement speech drove home the concept of the Hero’s Journey, and from being fired to saving a dying company, one could attest, he’s the archetypal hero.


In a cheesy Apple spirited conclusion. What will Inglewood’s verse be?

Will Islamic militants commemorate September 11th with a re-enactment of the U.S. terrorist attacks? 


Reports have surfaced that at least 11 commercial jetliners are missing from the main airport in Libya's capital of Tripoli.  There are fears that militants will mark the 13th anniversary of 9/11 by using the jets in attacks in Europe, North Africa and elsewhere.  The U.S. is not expected to be a target.


The date also marks the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.


The Huffington Post and conservative news website, the Washington Free Beacon ( both cited anonymous intelligence sources who confirmed the reports.  Neither officials from the State Department nor the White House National Security Council could confirm anything about missing airliners.


The aircraft was allegedly stolen when Libyan militants overran the airport last month, damaging much of the airport and its aircraft.  Videos have been released online of militants posing next to the jetliners.  Islamist-allied militias have seized virtually all of the capital.


Strict air traffic monitoring and higher security measures, due to the 9/11 anniversary, make it unlikely terrorists would attempt to fly stolen planes into the U.S.  Airliners are required to file flight plans before entering U.S. airspace, and air-traffic monitors would be looking for aircraft matching the description of any stolen planes, according to Jeffrey Price an aviation security expert. An airliner could try to fly below radar to avoid detection, but the U.S. military has developed systems to detect and stop low flying threats, he said.


Price added, however, that most countries near Libya, including those in Europe, do not have the same air-defense capabilities and would be more at risk.


In the past four months, a renegade general has battled Islamic militants in the eastern city of Benghazi — cradle of the 2011 uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi — as powerful regional militias have fought for control of the Tripoli airport.


About 150,000 people have fled Libya during the fighting and another 100,000 have been internally displaced, according to a United Nations report.


NFL Response Questionable

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Did the NFL try to downplay Ray Rice’s violent attack against wife Janay to justify its wrist-slap penalty?  When did executives see the newly-released elevator footage which slows the football player knocking Janay out with a punch to the face? 


Conflicting reports about the attack, which cost Rice his job with the Baltimore Ravens and suspension from the NFL on Monday, has the NFL playing defense.  How much was known by the NFL about the elevator incident before the league imposed a 2-game suspension? 


Top NFL management claimed they just saw the video last week.  But a former worker at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where the incident occurred, who saw Janay laying out cold on the floor, said the NFL viewed the footage months ago.


The attack occurred back in February—plenty of time for the NFL to obtain a copy of the footage and take appropriate action.  The couple were not married then, but tied the knot a month later.


The video, about 3 minutes long, shows the couple arguing in the elevator. Ray hits first, Janay hits back, then Ray delivers the punch which knocks her off her feet.  She smashes her head on the elevator hand rail and is knocked out cold. Janay appears unable to move when the elevator door opens, and Ray drags her out.


Audio revealed hotel workers discussing how to handle the situation.  One was heard saying,“She’s drunk, right?”  And then, “No cops.”  Rice was arrested at the hotel. cites the Associated Press’ account of what happened:


A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league executives have insisted they didn’t see the violent images until this week.

The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”


According to Hotair, “A spokesman for the New Jersey AG’s office says it would have been illegal for the local DA to share a copy of the tape with an outside entity like the NFL while the grand jury was weighing charges, which may explain why the AP’s source is so keen on anonymity here.”  


On Tuesday, Ray told ESPN, "[Janay] is so strong. We are in good spirits."  He continued, "We have a lot of people praying for us and we’ll continue to support each other. I have to be there for [Janay] and my family right now and work through this.”

Janay said she loves and supports her husband and wants people to respect their privacy.



Council Chambers Get an Upgrade

Thursday, September 11, 2014

City Council Chambers welcomed the public back after a 2-week recess, with 3 new video screens and district maps adorning the wood grain walls.  The monitors will enhance the viewing of televised council meetings and make it easier for the public to see live presentations.


“I like the new system here,” said City Treasurer Wanda Brown.  “This is fantastic.” 


“When they (public) watch the meetings at home, they will see an amplified view,” Councilman Eloy Morales said


City Manager Artie Fields congratulated those who worked on the “Relay for Life” event to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.  “Our city was chosen because of its continuous growth in fundraising and networking.  Parks, Recreation and Library Services Director, Sabrina Barnes, will represent Inglewood at a leadership summit in Dallas on Sept 19 and 20.


Treasurer Brown has spent time shopping for new investments to increase Inglewood’s revenue.  She recently bought $1 million worth of certificates of deposit on the City’s behalf.  “The CDs all have a rate of 2 percent, which is better than the current bond rate,” she said.


A long time Inglewood resident came to thank Mayor Butts’ office of helping her mother get her water turned back on.  “I am here because they turned off my mom’s water.  She is on oxygen, her last wish is to stay in her home.  They turned off the water the same day they started giving out vouchers.  No one ever once told us that we have money coming in every year.  In 15 minutes our water was turned on.  The Mayor’s Office did everything.”   


“We need to take advantage that we can call the mayor and you may get him on the phone,” said long time resident Ray Davis.  “Try that in L.A.  You’ll go through half a dozen people and you won’t get anything.  This town is small enough to have a voice.”


An Inglewood woman wanted to know what is being done to bring about fresher food options.

“I shouldn’t have to drive to Mar Vista or some other city to get organic food.  I have to drive 5 miles to Trader Joe’s.”  She suggested that a market could be built on the vacant lot at Crenshaw and 85th Street.  She also wants the City to do something about the high grass and unkempt area around the old Warren Lane School site. 


“The city doesn’t own the school building. You would have to go to the school board meeting,” Mayor Butts said.


A man who does not live within the noise contour area—and was hoping he could get help to insulate his home through the City’s program-- got news from Mayor Butts that he did not want to hear. 


“Cities signed on that if they ever challenged the contours, they would not get the funding from the FAA.  The FAA is not  going to change the contours.  They (residents) will have to pay for it  themselves.  They (FAA) are shrinking (the number of home insulations) come 2015.  That’s why  we are really working hard.  There is not going to be any going back to LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports).  They don’t have the power.”


The agenda was light, but councilmembers were in a talking mood. Everybody wanted another minute.


Councilman George Dotson congratulated Ability First on its recent ribbon-cutting and grand re-opening in the First District.  The center that offers services to those with special needs has been a mainstay in Inglewood since 1976.  He also addressed the pothole problem on Century Blvd:


“There were not potholes there, there were pot ditches.  I made a call to public works, and that same day they went out and fixed those ditches.  Please don’t think we don’t understand your problem because we go through the same problem.  If you have a problem, call me.”


“We all drive down Century Blvd., and all of our cars juggle like that and it’s time to get it fixed,” Morales said.  


Councilman Alex Padilla thanked Centinela Hospital CEO Linda Bradley and her staff for continuing to be on the cutting edge of healthcare. “It’s one of the best hospitals around,” Padilla said.    He also reminded residents that they are welcome to attend any event in Inglewood, regardless of the district in which it is held.


City Clerk Yvonne Horton announced there will be a voter registration drive on September 28 at the District Two Picnic.  It will be held at North Park


Councilman Ralph Franklin congratulated Board of Equalization Member Jerome Horton on a successful small business seminar.  “I’m still getting feedback. I want to thank you for making that available here in Inglewood,” he told Horton, in the audience. 


Mayor Butts announced that the Inglewood Teen Center will have its one-year anniversary on September 25 from 3:30 to 5:00pm.  He also commented on the new monitors:


“This should be something we celebrate.  We have a monitor for everyone in this council chamber to be able to see. When we pull up something on the Internet we can see something live.”


The council unanimously approved a number of requests recommended by staff in various departments, including:


Denial of personal injury claims; purchase of office supplies; contracts with third parties for the provision of nonemergency medical treatment of prisoners; swimming pool and water fountain maintenance; emergency generator replacement and HVAC installation.  The council also approved the provision of free supper through the Child and Adult Care Food Program from September 15, 2014 through June 19, 2015.






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