LOCAL VOICES: A different take on ‘bobblehead’ governance in Compton
Appears a ‘3-vote majority’ in the City Council has forsaken ‘bobblehead’ governance for real leadership By RICHARD EARL There are new sheriffs in town called Emma Shariff, Tana McCoy, and Janna Zurita who all share two commonalities
Appears a ‘3-vote majority’ in the City Council has forsaken ‘bobblehead’ governance for real leadership
By RICHARD EARL
There are new sheriffs in town called Emma Shariff, Tana McCoy, and Janna Zurita who all share two commonalities — they really are from Compton and love this city. The councilpersons represent council districts 4, 3, and 1, respectively. The “bobbleheads,” as I once referred to them, finally woke up and stopped bobbing their heads to Mayor Aja Brown’s every wish.
I for one almost jumped out my seat with glee. If you missed the council meeting on Tuesday, July 26, you missed the best show in prime time.
The meeting was a fierce battle all night that ended in Mayor Brown’s defeat on several pet projects presented in a 34-item agenda. Sharif, McCoy, and Zurita ousted City Manager Roger Haley, who had become a rubber-stamp administrator for Mayor Brown, in a brilliant opening move that signaled “enough is enough” — that they too have a voice and say in the affairs of the City. Glory hallelujah, it brought tears to my eyes.
Zurita was spitting bullets; Sharif spoke with authority and assurance, and McCoy finally proved she was no push-over merely occupying a seat. The council hired former Carson City Manager Jerry Groomes, a decision I support. Groomes is a well-known and respected no-nonsense administrator experienced in working with fractious city councils like Compton’s. He is widely-known for being a key architect of the transformation of Carson, and has worked in East Palo Alto, a city once known as the “Compton of Northern California.”
Groomes knows his job and stays in his lane and will keep Mayor Brown in her lane. The situation was so bad at City Hall, council couldn’t even get an item placed on the agenda. Now, hopefully we can finally look forward to a collaborative council per the city charter instead of a dictator and her minion Haley, a disastrous combination from what I witnessed. Brown and Haley spent money like pouring rain and hired consultants up a storm, while all the time telling the people and the council that the sun was shining.
Mayor Brown has been running the city like a one-woman show with literally no one in the know about where she is headed — not the four councilpersons, the residents, taxpayers, like me who will have to foot the bill, or even those that voted blindly for Measure P. The mayor has no problem ordering citizens to reach into their pockets to the tune of $278 million, while condescendingly letting us know our opinions and the four councilpersons are not welcome.
Brown treats some of Compton’s finest citizens like we are unintelligent and beneath her. Just look at the list of hidden projects she now wants to throw into Measure P without ever mentioning them to voters prior to the election — a new City Hall, a new performing arts entertainment complex and theater, a new stadium, and new bridges on Wilmington Avenue.
Does the mayor think voters in Compton are stupid? Hold it, let me take that back because apparently better than 50 percent of the voters are stupid! And that’s all the mayor needed. Now she wants to climb on her “high horse” and call for open dialogue and discussion of her bloated “proposed list.”
Mayor Brown was supposed to reveal these projects before and during her campaign. Now what kind of government transparency is this? I’d like to know before she starts issuing admonishments?
And unless I forget, I’m not the only one who thinks the $5 million in “economic incentives” is for the mayor to buy-off churches, non-profits, and our community leaders. Dangling this money in front of some people came right handy last Tuesday. Brown packed the chambers with her cronies, who, one-by-one went to the microphone to plea for whatever the mayor wanted. They know who they are, what they are, and why they were there. These individuals should be embarrassed, but obviously that is not the case. We were forced to endure a parade of shameless characters with hidden motives stand before the microphone to pay the piper. Say, “Amen” somebody!
But I did love Bishop Guillory. He came right out and said he needs his “money, right now!” I was on the floor.
The mayor apologized to departing City Manager Haley for his mistreatment on the verge of tears. Huh? She is the direct cause of his ouster. She let a possibly good public servant fall on the sword to finance Measure P campaign literature. She used him as her personal servant to supersede the city charter. She spoke emotionally about him, but the real truth is she was incensed that the day of reckoning had come.
And when Mayor Brown did not get her way, she ranted and raged how she was just doing “us” a favor and that she didn’t have to be in Compton. To which I and others responded with a deafening silence. We still don’t know why Brown came here in the first place.
Well, let me take that back. With all the revelations coming to light, we have an idea. Did anyone catch the mayor say railways and shipping logistics want to come to Compton, more port and transportation type companies? Rihanna said it best: “Trucks, trucks, trucks, ports, ports.”
I’m in opposition to this, having lived in Compton for decades waiting for a different kind of progress for residents. And I demand a little old school R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
Richard Earl is a long-time homeowner in Compton.