OPINION: Meet Compton’s mayoral candidate Aja Brown

By Melissa Hebert

Aja Brown is a second-generation resident of Compton who has entered the municipal elections for Mayor of the City of Compton. Brown has an extensive background in planning and has experience working for Compton’s redevelopment agency.

imageAja Brown

Please state your name and time as a resident in the City of Compton, and which district you reside in?
Aja Brown, second-generation Compton resident. I reside in District 2.

What makes you qualified to run for the seat you wish to fill?
I have over 10 years of community development and economic development experience working with the municipalities of Gardena, Inglewood, Pasadena (former Planning Commissioner) and the City of Compton’s redevelopment agency. I am an urban planner by educational training. I graduated from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, Planning and Development, and hold a B.S. in Policy, Planning and Development and a Master’s in Planning – emphasis Economic Development.

I have dedicated my career to public service and have written several policies and programs for cities throughout my career, crafted economic development programs, smart growth and brownfield programs, project labor agreements, established community organizations and activism boards, employment development programs and advocated for transparency in city government. I’ve also spearheaded award-winning municipal marketing programs that proved instrumental in improving Compton’s perception to the investment community and have garnered millions in dollars in resources and funding to the City of Compton in less than two years.

I am the only candidate that has worked in community development and fully understand how cities operate cross departmentally and can identify key components necessary for reform and revitalization. Any person can identify the problem; few can identify viable solutions.

What are your visions for generating additional revenue to shore up the city’s fiscal deficiencies?
Economic development is critical for Compton’s recovery. Implementing economic development programs, progressive policies, cultivating local industries to facilitate local employment and job growth will be instrumental to Compton’s recovery.

Economic development is vital to create balanced long-term, sustainable wealth in Compton. Business retention initiatives that connect local government with thriving industrial and commercial companies will provide local government officials with the necessary feedback on how to better serve the business community and promote success.

Business attraction strategies, such as industry cluster-based growth plan will provide the city with a mechanism to strategically assist companies (via tax abatements, expedited permit process, political support, etc.) to promote growth in Compton through creating an economic multiplier effect that is beneficial for local businesses by increasing business-to-business transactions.

The City of Compton has several economic incentives that are grossly underutilized, such as the Hub Zone, which provide small businesses in urban and rural communities preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. I have several programs that I plan to implement that will provide revenues to the city and promote local job creation at no cost to tax payers or the city’s general fund.

How will you work with the current council to ensure the city reaches solvency?
I plan to implement programs that stimulate growth and new investment. Additionally, I plan to implement a city-wide strategic plan that identifies the long-term direction, short-term goals and action steps for the city and connects resource expenditures and attraction to specific goals, objectives and citywide projects that will ultimately improve efficiency, reduce duplicative costs and assist in the attraction of regional, state and federal resources for infrastructure and safety improvements.

What are your top three priorities for the City of Compton, if elected?
Reform and reduce waste – implementing a citywide strategic plan

Economic development – wealth creation, employment development, investment attraction, improve the city’s image and perception, sustainability initiatives (green programs, improve access to fresh food, etc.)

Youth development – facilitate the creation of youth programs (leadership development, services, culture and arts, health and wellness)

Many of the residents, particularly the senior citizens, are worried about continued water rate increases. How will you address this issue if elected?
Water rate increases were implemented as a result of ballot initiatives proposed by policymakers. It is the responsibility of elected officials to ensure that the public is aware of the short and long term ramifications of local ballot measures that directly impact households. I will make certain that community members are aware of the fiscal impact of proposed initiatives through a series of town halls, a citywide newsletter, and via a public-service announcement through various social media outlets.

Is there anything else you wish to address not covered in this Q&A?
Social Media Contacts:
Facebook Page: Vision for Compton
Websites: www.VisionforCompton.org or www.AjaBrown.com
Twitter: @AjaLBrown


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