City of Inglewood lacks funds to donate to Haiti

Communities and organizations across South Los Angeles are raising funds and awareness about the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but calls for action by Inglewood officials have amounted to nothing.

City officials attribute the inaction to the city’s current budget woes, as well as the departure in recent months of both the mayor and the city administrator.

“The city itself is not doing anything,” said Toni Williams, executive secretary for the city. “The city just doesn’t have a budget for that type of thing.”

Twice since the disaster, members of the Inglewood City Council have called for a city effort to provide relief.

Former Mayor Roosevelt Dorn proposed an initiative to develop relief in his last city council meeting as mayor on January 26. More than three weeks later, on February 17, Councilman Daniel Tabor reintroduced the same initiative.

The proposal advises the council to “direct the City Administrator to develop a plan for the City of Inglewood and its employees, residents and businesses throughout the city to participate in the Inglewood Haiti Relief & Recovery Collaboration, in order to facilitate the transmittal of humanitarian assistance to the Haitian people.”

Before his abrupt resignation on March 17, City Administrator Timothy Wanamaker said he was working on what he called a “support resolution.” His plan was to provide Inglewood residents and businesses with a list of credible aid agencies and groups for donation. The list did not materialize before Wanamaker left.

In nearby Carson, the city council donated $5,000 to Haiti relief efforts.

As far as Inglewood making a donation, “No, not possible,” Wanamaker said. “Not with our financial condition.”

Tabor decided not to wait for official city action and formed the Inglewood Haitian Recovery Collaboration, which meets once a week and works with churches and schools in Inglewood to bring hygiene kits, shoes, and medical supplies to Haiti.

Meanwhile, the Inglewood Residents Committee teamed up with local churches for a food and clothing drive on January 31.

“We received a lot of clothing, all of which the churches sent directly to Haiti,” said Darius Leevy, Executive Director of the Inglewood Residents Committee.

The committee is forming groups to help with collecting goods, as well as working on long-term relief options.

“It’s about more than just clothes,” Leevy said.

Leevy is planning another fundraiser at the end of March. He is seeking city help with the distribution of information, which could include flyers and letters for residents.

Updated: This story about a Haiti relief fundraiser run by Darius Leevy originally stated that no Inglewood city council members were present at the event. The article should have included information on Inglewood’s First District Councilman Daniel Tabor, who helped facilitate the event and helped load supplies into trucks after the event.

Meet the candidates for Inglewood mayor

Nine Inglewood residents are vying to be the city’s next mayor.

The election was called after former Mayor Roosevelt Dorn pleaded guilty to a conflict of interest charge in January and was forced to resign.

It will be consolidated with the general statewide election to meet the guidelines dictated by the city charter.

The filing period for the mayoral election lasts from Feb. 16 to March 12, and seven people had filed as of Feb. 26.

In order to be placed on the ballot, a candidate must collect 40 signatures from Inglewood residents.

To win the election, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the votes, so the likelihood of multiple run-off elections is high, said Ed Maddox, Inglewood’s public information officer.

Until the election, city council members will serve as Mayor Pro Tempore in a monthly rotation.

Meet the candidates:

Ralph Franklin has been a council member since 2003. Over the past seven years, he has advocated for the development of Century Boulevard and the Hollywood Racetrack.
Franklin mounted, however, a successful opposition to Dorn’s effort to bring a Wal-Mart into Inglewood in 2004.

imageFranklin has been a member of the Crenshaw Christian Center for more than 40 years.

“I seek your support to take care of the King’s business by having someone in office that is a child of God and a yielding vessel to do his work as Mayor for the City of Inglewood,” Franklin said in a note to the public.

The main components of Franklin’s platform are improving infrastructure and alleys, working on the water and sewer lines, and bringing the deficit balance budget back into the black. He plans to stimulate jobs, enhance public transportation, and hold the police force accountable.

“I am that man that has the ability, fortitude, and tenacity to make it a reality,” Franklin said.

In 2003, after serving 12 years as the chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Franklin was elected to the city council seat previously held by Lorraine Johnson.

Johnson had served as the 4th District councilmember from November 2002 until April 2003, at which point the seat came up for a four-year term, and failed to make the ballot. Franklin won a run-off election against community activist Mike Stevens for the seat, but Johnson sued, claiming Stevens had not lived in the district at filing time.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, a Los Angeles Superior Court overturned the election.

Franklin eventually won a court-ordered election and criticized Johnson for causing “considerable and unnecessary” expense to the city and aggravating voters. Johnson told the Los Angeles Times that she simply wanted the voters to get an honest election and aimed to discourage candidates from lying about their residency.

According to campaign finance records in 2002, Johnson raised $45,000 for the election, while Franklin raised nearly $112,000.

Lorraine Johnson told the Los Angeles Wave that she could “offer a new direction and new vision to the city.” She cites the 4th district development and early proposals for the development on Century Boulevard as some of her successes.

Johnson is a revenue administrator for an investment banking company and has a degree in business administration. She has served as the vice president of both the Inglewood Leadership Council and the Youth and Education Committee, according to her candidate profile.

“I think I have more to offer and feel I could do a better job than those who are likely to be running,” Johnson said. “I think we need to do away with the old and bring in the new.”

Wanda Brown has served as the city treasurer for 23 years. She claims to have earned the city $63 million in interest and said she has “never lost a penny, not even half a penny.”

imageBrown has an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in accounting and has taught finance classes at the UCLA extension and to the youth of Inglewood.

She has been criticized for receiving a $235,000 city loan from the same housing incentive program that toppled Dorn.

Brown was cleared of any misconduct because, unlike Dorn, she did not have the power to vote on the loan program.

This issue has brought her into contention with former Councilman Daniel Tabor, who directed Brown to pay back the loan. During his tenure as mayor, Dorn often came to her defense.

“There isn’t any question Ms. Brown received these funds legally, even though the contract was fraught with deceit. Ms. Brown has a strong case against the city, and they have no chance of making her pay off this loan immediately,” Dorn told the Los Angeles Wave.

Brown did not return calls to comment.

Daniel Tabor served on the city council 20 years ago but was unseated in 1993.

imageHe was reelected in 2007 and, in recent years, has worked on protecting residents from airplane noise, redeveloping areas like Hollywood Park, and fighting for families facing foreclosures.

Tabor said he will probably spend $150,000 to $200,000 on the campaign.

“I’ll probably end up running four times instead of just once because of the run-offs, so I need to take into account the cost of mailing and getting the message out there,” Tabor said.

Tabor has faced criticism for his financial problems, particularly from Brown. A search of Los Angeles court records showed Tabor has two small claims cases and a collections case on his record.

Tabor has run for mayor twice, most recently in 2007, when he was endorsed by Councilman Morales, the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, and District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Tabor said he does not expect Morales to endorse him again.

Larry Springs is an Inglewood real estate broker with Century 21. Springs filed candidacy but is unsure whether he will run a formal campaign.

“I haven’t made a complete decision,” he said. “There are a few more people I need to talk to.”

Springs said he would like to see affordable housing, a city walk, and a golf course developed in Inglewood.

Velma Anderson has been attending council meetings since 2000 and has spoken out against issues such as airport noise, according to council minutes.

In 2002, Anderson ran for the 4th District council seat but lost to Johnson, who won with 44 percent of the votes. Anderson also ran for City Clerk but did not receive any votes.

Audrey Lehman is a court reporter in Inglewood, and Solomon Muez is a contractor. Neither was available for comment.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Horton expects the locations will be announced in late March. Residents interested in becoming a poll worker can get an application at

The deadline for voter registration is March 24. Registration forms can be found at city hall, fire stations, libraries, and post offices.

Photo Credit: City of Inglewood Website

What does the future hold for the city of Inglewood? In-depth coverage of the city’s political transition:


Former Inglewood mayor charged with misusing public funds will receive retirement benefits

The night before he was forced out of office, Inglewood’s former Mayor Roosevelt Dorn officially retired, meaning he is entitled to nearly $40,000 a year in retirement benefits for the rest of his life, according to City Administrator Timothy Wanamaker and city council members.

Second District Councilwoman Judy Dunlap explained that city officials receive 3 percent of their salary for each year they worked. Since Dorn, 74, worked 13 years, from 1997 to 2010, he is eligible to earn 39 percent of his salary each year until his death. Dorn’s salary was more than $100,000, said Dunlap.

Fourth District Councilman Ralph Franklin called Dorn’s move, “prudent and strategic decision making.” When asked if it was fair, Franklin said, “As a politician, I have to say yes.”

Dorn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conflict of interest charge in January after receiving a loan from a city housing incentive program.

More stories on Former Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn:
The rise and fall of former Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn
DORN RESIGNS: Jury selection continues for Inglewood mayor

What does the future hold for the city of Inglewood? In-depth coverage of the city’s political transition: