Compton, CA– The approximately 37,000 registered voters in the Hub City eligible to go to the polls April 21, will make a decision on the seven city government posts that are up for grabs. There are also several initiatives on the ballot including a controversial proposal to ban the sale of fireworks in the city.
Three of the incumbent municipal officers are running unopposed and will be automatically re-elected: City Attorney Craig J. Cornwell, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the now retired Legrand Clegg; City Clerk, Alita L. Godwin; and City Treasurer Douglas Sanders.
Every other incumbent is facing at least one challenger, and in order to win without a run off must capture 50% of all votes casts plus one. Should a candidate fail to receive that percentage, the top two vote-getters will meet in a run-off on June 2. All winners will take office July 1 for four-year terms.
Below find information on each of the candidates running for office listed in ballot order. Anyone not listed, did not respond to the OW survey request or subsequent follow-up calls.
Joyce H. Kelly. A life long civil rights advocate. As a teen, Kelly marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to integrate a swimming pool, and at age 21, walked with Cesar Chavez down the Las Vegas Strip protesting for grape pickers rights. At age 50, she became the first African American student body president of Cerritos College.
Demetreal Lynn Boone. A Compton native, Boone is a city employee and resident who does not accept “that is just the way it is here” as an answer. She is also dedicated to giving back to the community in which she grew up.
City Council District 2
Lillie Dobson. Incumbent Dobson is a Mississippi native who moved to Compton in 1968 where she raised her four children. She is a business woman whose goal is to restore the city to the “safe, (beautiful), and enjoyable place (it once was) to live, work and shop.”
Gwen Patrick. A native of Watts and resident of Compton since 1978, Patrick has previously run for the Compton School Board and the State Assembly, and has a special interest in helping individuals living on the margin.
City Council District 3
Yvonne Arceneaux. A 16-year veteran of the city council, Arceneaux has lived in Compton for nearly 40 years, worked for the Compton Unified School district and is perhaps best known for her efforts to clean up and develop the Compton Creek.
City Council District 4
William Kemp. Born and raised in Compton’s Fourth District, Kemp’s grandfather William T. Gray was the first African American to run for public office in 1956. His mother, Delorise Anderson served on the Compton School Board. With one previously unsuccessful run for the city council under his belt, this Tuskegee University graduate is committed to dealing with the social ills that face the city.
Willie O. Jones. As President of the Compton College Board of Trustees and a life-long educator, Jones believes “there is no greater reward than to know that one’s’ life work has made a difference in the lives of others. In addition to his college work, he has traveled the world and serves in a variety of community organizations.
Lillie P. Darden. A 47-year resident of Compton, Darden is active in the community serving on the Congressional Council for the 37th District, and a member of the National Association for Equal Justice in America, the Concerned Citizens of Compton and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.
Why are you running for office?
Kelly – Dissatisfied with the current administration for its lack of governmental transparency as well as its failure to address the needs of youth.
Boone – To make City Hall work for and with residents to enhance lives, public safety, property values and quality of life.
Dobson – Wants to continue the restoration, healing and renewing of the quality of life in Compton.
Patrick – To help those people who have consistently been at the bottom on the scale of progress.
Arceneaux – There is still much work to be done in Compton.
Kemp – Citizens need good representation and someone who advocates for the needs and concerns of all.
Jones – Wants to help restore Compton to the beautiful city it was, improve quality of life and push economic development.
Darden – Knowledgeable about municipal services and committed to fostering the welfare of Compton residents.
What unique talents, skills, background knowledge do you possess that makes you a good candidate for this office?
Kelly – Three college degrees that have been used to make a difference in the city.
Boone – As a current city employee, understands what questions need to be asked, how to interpret budget figures, and what strengths and weaknesses the city has in terms of serving its residents.
Dobson – More than 40 years working in one of the largest financial institutions in the country–John Hancock; has owned and operated businesses in Compton and Los Angeles for more than 20 years.
Patrick – Experienced at operating non-profit and for-profit organizations including state certified recycling center training program; charter school principal working with juvenile offenders, pregnant minors, teen parents, etc.
Arceneaux – Hands-on knowledge of how all levels of government operate, which enables me to work with county, state and federal government officials to bring in funding to improve the quality of life in Compton.
Kemp – Public administration expert with a record as a public safety advocate. Focused on ending gang violence and injustice for Compton residents
Jones – Professional experiences that range from political to educational expertise.
Darden – Based on a 26-year career in the city, knows how to manage budgets and people as well as contracts. Understands municipal operations as well as federal and state regulations and guidelines.
What are the key concerns of constituents, and specifically how will you address them?
Kelly – Crime; street and community maintenance; lack of family entertainment outlets; municipal corruption; the situation at the National Guard Amory. To address the killings in the community, I will talk with Sheriff Lee Baca and let him know what we need from the deputies who work in our city–respect; deputies who resemble the make-up of the community; and a crack-down on gang activities.
Boone – Public safety; financial stability; jobs; going green; code violations; senior citizens. Will advocate for community-based policing programs. Will serve as taxpayer advocate and utilize a more contemporary zero-based budget approach that enables every single tax dollar to be accounted for. Will consider use of performance measures to evaluate city services. Will use public-private partnerships to repair city infrastructure and simultaneously create new jobs in the city, but will only consider companies who pledge to hire workers for these projects from Compton. Will fight to protect parks and open spaces, and consider green building codes. Will push for fair and reasonable conclusions to code violations that have been encumbering seniors and the community.
Dobson – Adequate housing, employment, safe neighborhoods, accessible retail shopping. I have been working closely with federal and state elected officials to obtain funding for a new fire station in district two.
Patrick – The economy and economic development; schools; high taxes; public safety including “soft” crimes such as prostitution, drug sales/use. Economic development cures gangs and builds cities. Will work with schools to encourage more afterschool programs and utilization of curriculum that teaches values and personal responsibility. To help with the high tax burden, will engage free tax consultants and city budget reviews for any citizen who wants to learn how to reduce their taxes. Will encourage more aggressive enforcement of local law enforcement reaching out to law abiding citizens, helping to form block clubs, and encouraging community town halls to deter apathy.
Arceneaux – The economy; jobs, housing, good schools, health care, crime. I am proposing the re-establishment of a joint powers authority between the City of Compton, court system and the school district to work together to reduce crime and improve education. Also will propose a green jobs boot camp in the city, and work on opening parks at night to give youth a safe place for evening recreation.
Kemp – Prostitution on Long Beach Boulevard; youth; invest in the chamber of commerce. Trimming trees and brightening the lights on Long Beach Boulevard would help deter prostitutes. Also putting the Sheriff’s Department officers out on foot, scooter and bike. Expose pimps and ban them from the city. Give youth jobs that help improve city infrastructure such as fixing, painting or replacing signs, painting curbs. Invest in the chamber and conduct workshops on what type of businesses are needed in the city as well as how to start and successfully grow a business. More local businesses would help combat the city’s high unemployment rate.
Jones – Public safety; the civic image. Economic development. We need to develop a comprehensive program to promote a more positive civic image. New businesses are needed to provide more job opportunities and increase the tax base. The existing businesses need revitalization, and partnerships should be created with developers to help promote additional growth. Development of wholesome entertainment venues which offer a safe environment.
Darden – Crime; unemployment; fire services; prostitution on Long Beach Boulevard; safer communities and the image of the city. Because protecting the health, safety and welfare of citizens is my top priority, I will work with law enforcement agencies to reduce crime. Will help seek funding to construct a new fire station in the fourth district, and work with the Sheriff’s Department to install ASAP-type cameras to identify prostitutes and “johns.” Will utilize the Enterprise Zone designation, as well as additional career training programs, to get people back to work. Revitalization of all major thoroughfares will help beautify the city’s image.