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No, Tuesday on Measure P

Long, tired tale of cratered streets wouldn't end with passage of Measure P sales tax increase; City leadership can't be trusted to dutifully manage finances We're saying "No" to Measure P on Tuesday. No to a

Long, tired tale of cratered streets wouldn’t end with passage of Measure P sales tax increase; City leadership can’t be trusted to dutifully manage finances

We’re saying “No” to Measure P on Tuesday. No to a 1 percent sales tax increase! We could end right here, but, we want to tell you why the Compton Herald has taken this position.

Let’s talk about the problem the City of Compton’s leadership has with splurging money, then looking like five deer caught in the headlights when there’s a lack of funds with which to do much of anything in Compton, much less fix the crumbling streets.

Compton Herald Publisher and Editor Jarrette Fellows, Jr. attended Franklin Roosevelt Junior High and Manuel Dominguez Senior High schools in Compton.

Compton Herald Publisher and Editor Jarrette Fellows, Jr. attended Franklin Roosevelt Junior High and Manuel Dominguez Senior High schools in Compton.

Mayor Aja Brown and the City Council have steered residents to a special election on Tuesday, June 7 — to approve or deny the Vital City Services and Neighborhood Protection ordinance, or Measure P.

We dissent with this approach. Property taxes and automobile insurance in Compton are among the highest of any city in California. Now, hard working, taxpayers, notably low-income seniors, are being asked to reach into their pockets to increase the city tax from 9 to 10 percent to repair streets, which was actually a campaign promise by Brown three years ago.

The 1 percent sales tax increase will impact residents and non-residents alike on all sales in Compton stores. It would not affect food and medical prescriptions.

We’re stumped! What happened to the money the City already had in the General Fund coffers for street repair — the money ex-city manager G. Harold Duffey alluded was in the budget back in September 2014?

Was it re-directed on the pretense that it was needed more urgently, elsewhere? That probably happens more often than the public knows. And it isn’t right!

That’s why this penny issue is so bothersome. This 1 percent tax increase is viewed as a kind of “Hail Mary,” an urgent and critical infrastructure remedy to ensure the allocation of millions to repave every Compton street, create jobs, youth job training, implement gang/drug prevention programs, and improve parks.

Mayor Brown said months ago, “This measure will provide funding to meet critical service needs — which our residents deserve — including adding a much-needed fire station on the city’s east side and providing additional sheriff’s personnel.”

That’s a lot of infrastructure. How much, then, would be left for street repair? Your guess is as good as ours.

Perhaps the mayor and council didn’t think this clearly through. The penny tax will only raise money incrementally — one year at a time. Years from now, the current city leadership may be history, leaving a whole new group holding the bag.

“The estimated annual revenue to the City of Compton if passed by voters,” said Brown, will generate over $7 million annually and would require citizen oversight.”

There wouldn’t be a rash of money to pave all of the streets in one clean sweep. It would require years with the 1 percent tax approach. Meanwhile, the city streets will continue to crumble.

And the promise of a Citizen Oversight Committee? The city should have established this committee long ago. We just don’t believe there currently exists an objective select group of overseers. A haphazardly selected oversight group smells of cronyism. That’s been the case in Compton governance for 15 years.

The voters of this city will send a message on June 7 — “No On Measure P!” There can be no additional taxes until Compton residents are assured that our city leadership can handle the fiscal governance in a conservative and frugal manner.

Trust is a very tenuous issue in Compton.  And the public trust has been blindsided far too many times.

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.

8 COMMENTS
  • Santiago Perez June 8, 2016

    Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant…I guess people in Compton that vote No must really love their city the way it is. Bums everywhere, pimps and dealers taking over plaza corners, and graffiti everywhere. People in Compton need to see how neighboring cities look and have tried to improve their cities. Carson for example I lived there for 15 years, it was a crime ridden city, today it also has a penny tax and a utility tax, and it has completely changed. Its starting to look like Torrance, and Carson is ran by a diverse government. I have lived in Compton 1 full year now, and I can say my neighbors are good people and this city has so much potential, but the culture of the city to just see all the blight around them seems normal now. We have become numb to the prostitutes, drug dealers, and the sheriff helicopter rocking us to sleep at night. The reality is we pay much more in repairs to our tires, painting over graffiti, and building gates around homes to keep people out as consequences for not having enough services. To many renters, renters don’t pay property taxes, and they need to pay there fair share of city services. My opinion. God Bless and God Help Us

    • Su June 9, 2016

      You haven’t lived here long enough to see the corruption that has existed and continues to exist with our city council…Like the article mentions, Compton has the highest property taxes in California, so where is that money going? Into the pockets of our city councils/mayors…all you have to do is read about the last three mayors, and council members, that have stolen from the city. Even after proven guilty, they have never reimbursed the city. Even this latest mayor and the rest of the council members have gotten paid for meetings they haven’t attended…yes, they got caught. They keep steeling money and misusing what they don’t steal. So why would I agree to give them more money so that they can pocket and misuse that too? If our money was put to good use and they would stop stealing money, maybe then people wouldn’t mind paying that extra tax. The city deteriorated in the last 5 years, just look at all of the businesses, or lack of businesses, on Compton Blvd alone. The city hasn’t gotten better, it’s getting worst, and that’s due to the thieves that “lead” our city. Also, please note that renters pay rent to the property owners, which in turn take that renters money to pay property taxes. So no, renters don’t pay taxes directly, but instead do it indirectly. Just my humble opinion…from someone who has lived in Compton her whole life…40+ years and has a Masters Degree in Finance. It’s really sad what the “leaders do thic city…and most of them don’t even live in the city, so that tells you something about the “leadership” as well.

      • Santiago Perez June 12, 2016

        Su, with all due respect, I am pretty tired of hearing that same line about living in Compton for many years. When I watch the City Council meetings, I hear the same thing, “I’ve lived in Compton for 30, 40,50 years.” You know what I have to say to that: How on earth did you live in this City so long, and let it get this bad. I think the residents are to blame for voting for bonds, for crooked elected officials, and for raising the property tax. Like the recent school measure that raised the property tax last year. I have lived in Compton yes 1 year, and I love Compton. I love my home and my neighbors, and that’s why I want to make it better. There is so much potential in this city and I want to be part of it. This new Mayor has challenged the status quo and for that she is getting attacked. I know that this city council has refused to get paid, and even the Mayor is not taking her stipend for work. Please read this article from LA times about why are property taxes are so high; http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/03/local/la-me-property-taxes-20100803
        It explains why more affluent cities pay a lesser %, and suggest they have city centers with booming shopping centers, which Compton lacks. Compton has to pay more property tax to pay the pensions and bonds it has gotten itself into. Regardless…we are all stuck in the same crumbling streets and business district. We both live here. We both aren’t going anywhere. And we still don’t have enough money in our city to fix the streets, and possibly make Compton realize its full potential. I hope the new movie theatre can help a bit. Thank you for this discourse. God Bless.

  • Roberto Rodriguez Saavedra June 4, 2016

    You can’t blame her for the decades of fiscal irresponsibility that those who tried to run this city had. She inherited millions of dollars of debt due to elected officials who stole millions and then we see someone like Charles Davis who sends a bs flyer noting “200 years of more debt for Compton”. How can I as a voter accept such fear mongering. The Republicans in Democrat clothing that have ran the city for decades were the creators of a mess and now that solutions are given with actual steps to transform our community the Republicans in Democrat clothes show their face again. This community needs to set itself up to grow not remain stagnant or in decline. I do not know who got to you Mr. Fellows but those who did I think are the ones whom you should be writing about. The Poverty Pimps and one hitter quitters that have destroyed Compton.

    • Aaron June 5, 2016

      Roberto THERE WAS NEVER A BUDGET DEFICIT LET SAY THAT AGAIN IT WAS NEVER A BUDGET DEFICIT !!! IT WAS A INTERNAL ONE THE CITY USED MONEY FROM ONE DEPT. TO ANOTHER AND CREATED AN INTERNAL DEFICIT WHICH THE MAYORS & COUNCIL TOLD THE MEDIA THE LIE. AS OF NOW THERE’S ABOUT $68 MILLION IN MEASURES THAT HAVE BEEN SITTING AROUND SINCE 2009 FOR ALL WHAT COMPTON’S GOVERNMENT SAYS MEASURE P WILL FIX. THE IRS JUST FINED COMPTON $1,000,000.00 FOR NOT USING THESE FUNDS #IMJUSTSAYIN

  • Joanna Morales June 4, 2016

    My car insurance went down when we moved to Compton. I must have been living in a REALLY $hitty hood before…

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