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Pothole scandal searing Compton

Corner of Caswell and Claude Avenues, near Burrell-McDonald Park, clearly marred by fractured streets. Mayor Aja Brown ran on a campaign promise in 2013 to repair Compton’s woefully broken and fractured thoroughfares, but six years

Corner of Caswell and Claude Avenues, near Burrell-McDonald Park, clearly marred by fractured streets. Mayor Aja Brown ran on a campaign promise in 2013 to repair Compton’s woefully broken and fractured thoroughfares, but six years later into her second term, the terrible disrepair has only worsened.

Local Voices: Pothole manifestation damaging automobile bumpers, wheel alignment, axles, tires; repair monies absent 

Editor’s Notes: Compton’s pothole problem has morphed into a real scandal as every dollar allocated to citywide street repair has apparently vanished. Mayor Aja Brown ran on a campaign promise in 2013 to repair Compton’s woefully broken and fractured thoroughfares, but six years later and a year into her second term the terrible disrepair has only worsened.

What was once a mild nuisance has become an implacable embarrassment to Compton and an angry talking point as more and more residents realize they have been “played” by City Hall.

Compton resident James Hays, a 2016 mayoral candidate, who has served as a City Commissioner, recently wrote:

James Hayes.

“Look at all the effort this homeowner (in photo above) put into having a nice home. This is the corner of Caswell and Claude, near Burrell-McDonald Park, but, look at all potholes and craters. Look carefully at recently repaired (first week in February) potholes on Claude. Why didn’t Public Works repair the very obvious damage at the corner? I personally know many people on Caswell. These are families that have owned their homes for generations. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the folks working to repair our streets, but they dropped the ball on this one. Go the extra yard! When [they return] to make these repairs, [I hope they] take a look at the whole block between Alondra and Claude. Let’s Make Compton Better!”

Others residents chimed in their opinions:

“William Kemp: “James Hays, was there enough money put in the budget for these repairs? I personally believe that’s where we need to start. When budget hearings come up in April, that’s when all residents have to let their voices be heard. Oh, I forgot; when two mayors have [nearly] 20 city managers [between them], it’s hard to have a consistent plan at the budget hearing.”

James Hays: “But Kemp, they put money in the budget that doesn’t really exist. It’s imaginary income.”

William Kemp: “That is why I said we have to be vigilant at that time. The people are able to see the promise of ‘this money is for the streets’ and then the disconnect of the action not being carried out. Then the people can see all those involved in the misappropriation process. I like City Manager [Cecil] Rambo but the people will find ultimately after the budget hearings, he is responsible.”

Craig Johnson: [The problem] is absolutely ridiculous. I was in Compton recently and could not believe how many potholes I had to dodge When I was growing up in Compton, street repairs were done regularly. Wow! what happened?”

James Hays: “Bad government happened, Craig. Plans were made, but not followed. Things started going bad around 15 years ago. Managers and elected officials have not been able to get things under control again.”

William Kemp: “Outsiders have come in with their own agenda and neglected the streets. [A] South Pasadena carpetbagger named Aja ‘Pothole’ Brown has done real damage. The city is $6 million in physical debit, meaning external. We are in real [trouble].”

Tommy Lee Harris Sr.: “I ask this: Why not try a more conservative approach? Go to President Donald Trump, ask him for federal emergency money to improve the city’s safety, economy, and reputation. This would help him with better race relations and the city would get the emergency money it so badly needs. Invite him to visit the city and show him what the liberal media chooses to say about Compton is very misleading and there are some very concerned American citizens here! Hate him or not, he may come or send the funds. Our previous president wouldn’t. I asked him in a letter [that] was never answered. Why not extend the olive branch first? Or just stand by and do nothing like the last 40 years in Compton. Everyone hates Trump but what does the Bible tell us about hate for any of Gods creations? How many times are we supposed to forgive our brothers? Well, like it or not Donald Trump is one of God’s creations, our brother and he must be forgiven also. Just my opinion brother; no hate here”

James Hays: “Tommy, I’ve actually talked to folks about it.”

Dennis Lord: “I’m not defending anyone here but this discussion is missing the determination of the condition of infrastructure below this street. Whatever dollars are found to do the work must be balanced by utility coordination and sign off prior to street repair. In addition, this street shown is clearly Grade F. Patching will not work with alligator skin conditions. It must be repaired, at minimum, by a grind and overlay if the base is still good. If the base has failed, it is even more expensive. You don’t spend funds on such and then have a utility come along months later and dig it up. Do the homework, then repair the street. It appears to be a nice neighborhood but home conditions are not criteria when it comes to being ready for a permanent repair.”

James Hays: “I’m sure all this is true. But, the areas they patched were the same grade of damage and I already know that all they are doing is patching things up and that at some point a utility company may come along and dig up the street. I just want it patched up even if it’s just until they finally do a real assessment of the street. Conditions like this should not be allowed to exist in residential areas, period! There is no real excuse. I support and defend Public Works, utility folks, cops, street sweepers, animal control, code enforcement, and all the other responsible parties, but enough is enough. In Compton, we need people to do what they are getting paid to do. We have the third highest property taxes in the state, and we get some of the poorest services in the state. Hardworking people who pay these taxes deserve better. Or at least enough of an effort to make us think we are getting good service. The street sweepers are always late (past the posted times) and they have no water. One of the street lights on my street keeps going out shortly after Edison changes the bulb. Why? I have a couple of ice cream trucks that come down my street daily, after dark.

“The water company damaged the street a few doors down while repairing a pipe. They told me they would be back to repair the damage. This was last summer and the damage is still there. By the way, it was not Compton Water. They did the same thing around the corner. It’s still a mess. Maybe it’s a good thing, but the last time I saw a cop come through was about three months ago. No crime on the block, but it’s good to see them pass through sometimes. If I drive around the city on any given Sunday, at any given time, I might see one. So, for me, what it comes down to is lack of service for the contributions we citizens make in property and sales taxes. It’s a very simple concept. I remember visiting relatives in Florida. They lived in a new development with beautiful homes, but, they did not have paved streets. It was all grass much smoother than Compton streets. Maybe we should ‘go Green.’ Join me in telling the city to just fix the damn streets.”

William Kemp: “James Hays, I agree with a lot of what you are saying [and] Dennis Lord, I appreciate your response and your experience. Maybe you could contact the city manager and public works director because your resolution is about a long-term [solution], which I believe is what the residents really want. James Hays, I know the streets are something you are passionate about why not confront the city manager and public works director with Dennis Lord’s [concerns]?”

James Hays: “Kemp, you know me; you know I have access [and have] been involved in discussions. As a former Planning Commissioner, and before that a council liaison, I’ve seen the plans and I’m familiar with all the reasons for not doing the job. No excuses. They should get it done, now. Unless, everyone is willing to come clean with the community, tell us why you are saying we don’t have the dollars. Tell us where the dollars for street improvements went a few years back. If you don’t want to do that, start patching up potholes all over town. Start cleaning up. Do everything it takes to make us feel like we get good service. I’m retired now. I have time to fill the potholes in my neighborhood. If they can’t do it, maybe I should do it and donate the service to the city. I actually have a team of five men all homeowners, who say just let them know when we are starting. This is all really simple.”

Jacqueline Venters: “[Feb. 5], I’m driving down Rosecrans at Santa Fe in front of Jack in the Box; a big pothole cracked the bumper on my car; not sure of other damage yet! I’m [going to] take my vehicle to the Mercedes Benz dealership. Beware of the potholes. I’m praying our city will overcome all of [its] dysfunctional behaviors.”

Raymond Jones: “Hey James, I have an aunt who lives at Whitemarsh and Greenleaf. Why is there no help for her street?”

James Hays: “I don’t know. I don’t get it.”






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