Sparks flew at the Inglewood city council meeting held Wednesday thanks to proposals for a transit station site under consideration by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for the proposed Crenshaw/ LAX transit corridor.
The first recommendation on the agenda was to discuss and prioritize Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line station locations at Florence/La Brea Avenue and at Florence/West Blvd./Redondo Blvd.
The MTA has given the Inglewood Redevelopment Agency Board of Directors the opportunity to offer recommendations on a location that will be beneficial to the city.
Problems arose, when it was specified that when the rail is built, if it does pass through Florence/La Brea, the station would be on the northeast corner, which is in Councilwoman Judy Dunlap’s district. MTA will have to tear down the Walgreens that currently occupies that space.
Councilwoman Dunlap, was offended that this fact was not made clear in the staff report (which she didn’t originally recieve), and criticized the council for not being adequately transparent to the public.
“Nowhere in this report does it say the northeast corner. I wasn’t aware that this was going to be in my district. Walgreens will be eradicated for this to be made possible. That is not fair to my constituents. This is being voted on, and the public has no idea and had no opportunity to voice their opinion on the issue. It makes us look really bad.”
Councilman Daniel K. Tabor and Mayor Pro Tempore Ralph L. Franklin discussed the issue with Dunlap at length until she grew so frustrated that she dismissed herself from the meeting, as they were preparing to vote.
Because three councilmembers must be present to conduct valid business, Franklin left the council chambers to find Councilman Eloy Morales.
When Morales re-entered the room, Tabor gave him the short-hand version of what occurred in his absence. Originally reluctant to vote, because he didn’t hear the entire debate, Morales eventually agreed to vote in favor of the recommendation.
Dunlap returned soon after, and during closing remarks, once again reiterated that the wording in the staff report was not clear; did not reference the northeast corner or the removal of Walgreens; and that it was unfair to vote on something that would effect the public, without giving them ample opportunity to voice their concerns.
After hearing her remarks, Morales rescinded his “yes” vote, and agreed to re-open the item for further consideration.
Dunlap requested time to hold a town hall meeting to inform the public about the issue but was denied.
MTA needs the decision no later than August 1.
All councilmembers agreed to rescind their votes until the July 27 city council meeting.