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Big Trouble in Little Compton: City will not enforce its own laws  

Reticence to engage a disregard for city laws; uphold citizen rights to oppose mayoral opinion in council; where is City Atty. Craig Cornwell? Charge City Atty. Craig Cornwell with the lackadaisical code enforcement. He is the

Reticence to engage a disregard for city laws; uphold citizen rights to oppose mayoral opinion in council; where is City Atty. Craig Cornwell?

Charge City Atty. Craig Cornwell with the lackadaisical code enforcement. He is the city’s chief law enforcement officer; it’s his job to see to it that the city’s laws are enforced. If he can’t get the job done, why does he hold the office?

City Atty. Craig Cornwell. Courtesy City of Compton

City Atty. Craig Cornwell. Courtesy City of Compton

The situation in Compton is a morass of incompetence. A standing ordinance enacted by the City in 2008 established that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal. A few dispensaries were closed only to see 21 more spring up like crabgrass in 2016.

Mayor Aja Brown. Courtesy City of Compton

Mayor Aja Brown. Courtesy City of Compton

Underscore standing ordinance, and banned weed dispensaries. Then why did Mayor Aja Brown and the City Council hold a marijuana workshop recently during a Tuesday night council meeting? Evidently, to champion the inclusion of marijuana enterprises in the city, since only proponents of marijuana were allowed to speak.

At this point, Cornwell was remiss in his role as city attorney. According to Western City, the official magazine of The League of California Cities, in an article titled, “Understanding the City Attorney’s Role,”

underscored a couple of points for which our city attorney receives failing grades: (1) he or she “must have the fortitude to step in when the mayor is trying to prevent a member of the public from speaking on a subject that the mayor disagrees with or when the city council wants to proceed on a popular action without a properly noticed public hearing.”

Cornwell was clearly negligent, here at the Sept. 13, 2016 council meeting.

But, where Cornwell continues to earn failures, (2) is Section 702.(f) of the Compton City Charter. The city attorney has a duty to augment enforcement of the laws of the city and “Prosecute on the behalf of the people such criminal cases for violations of this Charter, of City ordinance or of misdemeanor offenses arising upon violation of the laws of the State as in his opinion or that of the Chief of Police warrant his attention.”

Medical weed dispensaries that open, and reopen time and again, and the negligent lessor of the property or leasee, fall under this description and should feel the weight of justice. But this doesn’t occur often enough in Compton. 

Are city officials under a ‘spell’ of some kind?

The city can’t close dope dispensaries or won’t close dope dispensaries! The mayor is clearly a proponent of weed in Compton; the city attorney is acting “sheepish” in the face of tyranny. The city council remains mum on the issue — an overwhelming lack of leadership. The city is behaving more akin to a “principality” than a municipality and this is despicable!

Who or what is orchestrating the confusion in Compton? What kind of picture is being painted of Compton and presented to the world? A circus under the Big Top? The laughingstock of municipalities, the city is more representative of a Third World “Banana Republic,” than a soundly governed, contemporary city.

Compton voters must become righteously indignant and register their frustration at the polls in 2017 and wipe the slate, clean.  We need new moral-driven and ethically-inclined leadership to replace the currently compromised leadership.

The following are comments made on social media by local residents regarding Compton’s lack of leadership in the enforcement of its own ordinance to suppress illegal weed dispensaries, notably those in brazenly close proximity to schools:

Satra Zurita: “There continues to be no regard for the future of our children in Compton. The safe environment we create in schools is being countered by the lack of enforcement on these illegal [marijuana dispensaries]! Children, three to four generations later, are still suffering from the effects of the 80s ‘crack’ cocaine epidemic [through] violence, broken homes, parentless, addic[tion] … I will not shut up!”

Andre Wright: “Code enforcement was all over [medical marijuana dispensaries]  until they were stopped by city officials (not going to mention who) and gave the task to the sheriff. And look what we have in Compton, now. When city code enforcement was dealing with them, they closed 10 [curtailing] them to three and they stayed closed. Now, since your friendly neighborhood sheriff is in charge, we now have 24 and counting.”

Ann Henry: “Can we close them by all schools and child care?”

Bob Adams: “I’m not understanding how this is happening.”

Ed Coglan: “The schools are trying to make something happen.”

Edgar Preciado: “Think about all the liquor stores around too! You don’t see higher-income neighborhoods full of liquor stores and weed dispensaries.”

Jo Morales: “Maybe I am confused. Aren’t the dispensaries still illegal on a Federal level? Has anybody tried asking for help from the DEA and/or ATF? What would the cost be to the taxpayers if the [Compton Unified] School District sue[d] the city?”

https://comptonherald.org/compton-legal-fracas-brewing…/.

 

 

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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