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Uncharted: Dear Mayor Brown, your ‘transparent windows’ now smeared

Just the facts (truth) Madam Mayor, that’s all the citizens of Compton ask Is it too much to ask of one elected mayor of the City of Compton, to serve with honesty, integrity, and forthrightness, with all

Just the facts (truth) Madam Mayor, that’s all the citizens of Compton ask

Is it too much to ask of one elected mayor of the City of Compton, to serve with honesty, integrity, and forthrightness, with all of the chips on the table? This question is for you, Madam Chief Executive.

ComptonHerald.com | Uncharted

“Uncharted” is commentary by Jarrette D. Fellows, Jr.

Since the Compton Herald cannot seem to secure an audience with you, Mayor Aja Brown — you, who the citizenry elected to serve the city and address the myriad concerns on the important issues of the day (it would seem expedient) through the Compton Herald that serves the city, we will present these issues to you, here, for the residents of Compton to read for themselves and take note. There should be no hidden agendas.

Madam Mayor, you ran for office on a campaign platform of transparency. And though a cacophony of voices charged you with skulduggery even before your first day at the helm, the Compton Herald was not among those angry voices, in fact we’ve been the fairest, most objective voice in town concerning you — that is, Madam Mayor, until your “transparent windows” were no longer translucent, but in fact “smeared.”

The smearing occurred with the revelation from the Los Angeles County District Attorney — the infamous letter to City Attorney Craig Cornwell, with copies to you Madam Mayor, and council members Janna Zurita, Isaac Galvan, Emma Sharif, and Yvette Arceneaux — warning of felonious salary-boosting in violation of the city charter. That single-handedly riveted the city’s attention, and quite understandably.

Surely you knew better. An intelligent, well-read individual like you knew and understood the city charter well before you took the oath of office. We just don’t believe you didn’t know — you’re a city planner for crying out loud!

That invited inquiry and scrutiny by the Herald. What did you expect an objective news organization to do — treat you with powder puff gloves? Hate to disappoint you, Mayor Brown — that’s not journalism. PR, but not journalism.

Herewith, given your new-found understanding of the Herald’s role, we’d like to know the following forthwith and will be happy to provide you with a personal forum to provide explanation and answers, if you choose to accept:

What is your timetable working with City Manager Johnny Ford and the Department Public Works to fully repair the city’s streets, thoroughfares, and roadways, given that the city was led to believe Public Works under Director Glen Kau, overseen by then-city manager G. Harold Duffey and current City Manager Johnny Ford — were well underway nearly a year ago?

If the repairs have not begun, Madam Mayor, are sufficient funds even available to proceed with the work?

There’s more. You remarked in your 2015 State of the City address that certain employees had been re-hired into the city’s employee roles; many believe this never occurred. If employees were indeed re-hired, or new ones to replace those laid off, who are they? Are you able to provide a departmental list that received these employees, if privacy concerns prohibit you from listing them?

Further, funds were raised at the SOTC benefit dinner earmarked for the non-profit Urban Vision Community Development Corporation, founded by you and your husband, Van Brown for, as you stated, youth in Compton. This goes to transparency; of the $57,665 you raised, as reported by a local daily newspaper, minus $5,000 donated to Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, the youth flight program, a wise choice — can Urban Vision itemize the $30,580 reportedly reimbursed to the city for “upfront costs?”

And, finally Madam Mayor, a couple final questions about the salary-boosting; did the illegal practice stop immediately upon receipt of the DA’s warning letter, and will restitution be made to the city, which can surely use it? Whether the DA orders it, or not, we believe a strong show of leadership from you would be to publicly (in council) volunteer to return the money with consensus from the council.

Further, having nothing to do with you, the District Attorney would demonstrate leadership and sensitivity to Compton’s taxpayers by ordering previous city administrations going back to 2008 — if not hindered by statute of limitations — to return the extra money they received, as well.

The cumulative misappropriated funds could repair at least one major thoroughfare in the city. And that, alone, would take Compton a long way in the right direction.

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.

  • Deanna November 18, 2016

    Great work. Great questions.

  • Robert Ray September 10, 2015

    I thank you for asking so many questions. And here is another question – the city manager has a $25K spending limit, how was he able to go over that limit for the mayor’s SOTC?

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