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Carson and Inglewood: a tale of two very different cities

Politicians in Carson and Inglewood highlight examples of the good and bad of L. A. County This is a tale of two cities; and no, I am not talking Charles Dickens, the famous author of the

Politicians in Carson and Inglewood highlight examples of the good and bad of L. A. County

This is a tale of two cities; and no, I am not talking Charles Dickens, the famous author of the masterpiece novel which compared life in London and Paris around the time of the French Revolution. It’s only me here and I’ve come to relate a tale of two Los Angeles County cities where life is virtually as different as night and day. I’m talking about Carson and Inglewood.

As previously reported, Jim Dear, Carson’s mayor for the last 11 years, gave up his office and chose to run for Carson’s city clerk. Dear won the election and took on his new office, but he severely angered Carson residents by what he did and what he failed to do in his new job as city clerk; so much so that they threatened to recall him.

That was not an idle threat. Angry Carson residents obtained twice the number of signatures required to launch a recall campaign against Dear and on June 29, they served Dear personally with the recall papers in the Carson Sheriff’s station, where he was holed up, and again served the recall notice on the same day to the city clerk’s office so it could be accepted and logged in by the city.

“We didn’t want him saying he never got the papers,” a leader of the recall group said. ”He’s got them and the city’s got them and we can move on about our business of getting rid of him,” the leader said. He noted that Dear has seven days to respond to the recall papers.How has City Clerk Dear riled Carson residents to such a degree? Two things. My contacts told me that the first thing Dear did upon becoming city clerk was to close the usual polling places in the northern section of the city that houses many of Carson’s African-American residents, thus making it difficult for them to get to the polls for the important June 2 election of new City Council members. Talk of recall began circulating in the city when he did that. The recall talk turned into angry shouts and anti-Dear organizing when Carson’s newly elected city clerk chose not to count the ballots cast during the June 2 election because he had to leave town for a reason known only to himself.

“How could he just up and leave town when he had crucial city business to attend to?” a recall leader asked. The people and the council became so angry over Dear’s blatant disregard of his main city clerk duty (that of running the city elections) that the council engaged Compton official Charles Davis to count the ballots and announce to the world—some 15 days after the election—that candidate Jawane Hilton had been elected to the council. By that time, Carson residents were standing in line to sign the document launching the formal recall of Dear. To add insult to injury, Dear filed a lawsuit against the council, alleging the body had illegally usurped his power while he was out of town by appointing an outside official to count the overdue ballots.

Now, as to the other city, Inglewood, where James T. Butts Jr. is mayor. On June 18, the office of Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang notified Mayor Butts that Inglewood is one of 30 cities in the county with the highest assessed property valuation for 2014 in comparison to the other 88 cities in Los Angeles County. In an email to Butts, the assessor wrote: “We may wish to highlight their achievement by including your city logo in our 2015 Annual Report. Therefore, we are requesting your permission to use your city logo in our 2015 Annual Report, and potentially future annual reports.”

He continued: “The Assessor’s Annual Report is designed to educate and inform stakeholders about the components, dynamics and value of the Los Angeles County Assessment Roll. We anticipate releasing this year’s report in late August. Once completed, we will make it available to you and the public.”Inglewood’s property values are reported to have risen 51 percent since 2012, based on actual average sale prices of properties sold from Jan. 1, 2012 to March 30, 2015.Butts, who was presented the Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s “Distinguished Democrat Award” on June 7, publicly thanked Rep. Maxine Waters for Inglewood’s highly successful participation in the nationwide Residential Sound Insulation Program (RSI) through which thousands of Inglewood homes impacted by aircraft noise were refitted to withstand the constant deafening din of jet planes flying into and out of the area’s international airport.

Betty Pleasant is a contributing writer and columnist for the Compton Herald. She was formerly a reporter at the Los Angeles Sentinel and a columnist at the Los Angeles Wave.

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