Compton Politricks: Autocratic political drama like a ‘Banana Republic’
Roger Haley’s ouster as city manager, latest example of whirlwind political drama in Compton governance While the world witnesses Donald Trump’s unremarkable, unashamed “slog” to the White House — a circus under the “Big Top” without
Roger Haley’s ouster as city manager, latest example of whirlwind political drama in Compton governance
While the world witnesses Donald Trump’s unremarkable, unashamed “slog” to the White House — a circus under the “Big Top” without precedent in U.S. political history, another similar “circus” of significantly smaller scale, though no less shocking is playing out in Compton.
Roger Haley’s ouster as the seventh city manager in 10 years is the latest example of “whirlwind” governance in the City. Haley was either a willing sacrificial lamb for an autocratic mayor hell bent on getting her way to the point that he would supersede the City Charter for her, or he was an extreme idiot given the city’s inane turnover rate of city managers, especially those resistant to the will of the council.
As to Mayor Aja Brown’s role in the municipal drama, the Compton Herald gave her the benefit of doubt three years ago following her astonishing victory over two powerful incumbents in 2013. The Herald did not sneer and snipe at the youngest mayor in Compton’s 106-year history, as so many did. We were hoping she could pull off a miracle by stabilizing the city while quelling what we initially interpreted to as rebellious voices.
And the voices were rebellious because a political upstart had defeated two admired and experienced incumbents in Compton to grab the seat of power. People were mad about it. We believed time would eventually soften the rhetoric as Mayor Brown made strides. But as time wore on, the truth about Brown began to ooze through the cracks in the façade.
Brown began to reveal herself as authoritarian dispensing governance in an autocratic manner, much like the rule of an iron-fisted dictator in a “Banana Republic.”
Let’s examine the leadership at the helm, the source of the derision impacting every aspect of Compton, today.
Our sources have claimed for the longest that money for street repair, parks, general infrastructure, has always been available to take care of the myriad needs of the city. But the jobs have been forestalled — just look around — leading us to believe that money earmarked for specific purposes extending as far back as 2013, has been diverted or spent. Mayor Brown strongly refutes this as “speculation.”
Well, if the city did not divert or spend the erstwhile “approved funding,” then show us the money. If the money was there all along, why wasn’t it put to use? To say the city needed more money, hence “Measure P” amounts to manipulation. That means something is pathological about the way the mayor deals with her constituents. She’s aggressively driving agendas without transparency with the council or the public. That’s the way we see it.
This deceitfulness of power runs deep — flimflammery of the highest order. There’s no other description more appropriate to describe the deliberate ambiguity with which Brown interacts with the Compton community, leading constituents down a darkened, cratered road of deception.
All of the crafty cunning to ultimately heap praise upon herself is pure and simply manipulation from someone lacking a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. And the self-pride of the “high and mighty” mayor is over the top. Brown has hustled the local citizenry and violated the public trust. For that, she does not deserve the privilege to serve this great city.
The recent termination of Haley is a good example. Mayor Brown didn’t vote to fire him, but the way she used him at her beck and call, in spite of the city council, left them no alternative but to chop his ties to the city to prevent the mayor from persuading him to supersede the city charter, which he did when he authorized between $25 and $50,000 to print an extravagant amount of pro-Measure P literature against the authority of the council.
It is apparent Brown is operating at the behest of powerful outside influences that have no regard for the wishes of the people of Compton. These special interests led by the county of Los Angeles apparently desire to industrialize the city, transform it into a conduit between the Port of Los Angeles and points north — Metro Los Angeles and beyond. Mayor Brown apparently is in full compliance with this.
If she had roots in Compton, this might not be the case. But having no roots here and void of understanding of the city’s small-town persona, there is no guilt or conscience in opening the door for outsiders to come in and tread on Compton.
Mayor Brown is in the grip of a well-financed machine which she must now disavow, or face the consequences. No power is mightier than the concerted will of a grassroots political movement by the “People” to whom all elected officials answer — not the other way around.