Candidates running for Inglewood City Council seats bring a diverse collection of experiences to the contest to win a seat to govern in the “City of Champions.” On April 2, at the end of the day, they hope to be the ones left standing so they can deliver a pot of gold to residents in the form of paved streets, quieter airplanes, sewers free of tree branches, and a return to yesterday.

District 1 candidates George Dotson, LeRoy N. Fisher, Felicia Ford and Daniel Tabor, are running against incumbent Mike Stevens.

George Dotson
“Inglewood is at a critical juncture. We have the potential of becoming a destination city over the next few years. But, to do this requires forward-thinking leaders and a progressive City Council; one that can work well with the mayor and the community. Right now, there is too much dissension at Council meetings, which prevents not only District 1, but all of Inglewood from moving forward on critical issues.

“As a member of the planning commission, I’ve worked under four different mayors and have been influential in every major commercial and residential development in Inglewood. I will use my business and leadership skills to entice new businesses to the city.

“I will work closely with the Sound Insulation department to ensure the program accomplishes the city’s goal of sound proofing 1,000 homes in 2013. I will make sure funds are allocated to eliminate crumbling streets throughout District 1 and are spent efficiently on the construction of the new senior citizens community center.

“By working closely with the police department and mayor I will address crime and gang intervention programs, teen centers and other after school programs for at-risk youths. The image and reputation of our local parks need improving. I will work to construct soccer and football fields at Darby and Edward Vincent parks.

LeRoy Fisher
“I’ve seen what was, what we have now, and I know we can do better. Our city is an attractive, decent place to live. We’re near LAX and the beach.

“I’ve lived in District 1 for 49 years and have watched it slowly deteriorate. I’ve always been involved in making my community a better place. I remember when I used to send my kids downtown to the movies, to Sears, and J.C. Penny’s, and now we have nothing but high salaried self-interested Council members and mayor.

“While I’ve supported Council members in the past, I think these people are rotten, they’re only pretending to represent the people and will do anything to justify their means to an end.

“Another concern is downtown. It needs better promotion. Building apartment complexes instead of businesses in that area is a bad decision along with giving those 24 properties to Madison Square Garden.

Building parking lots does not increase tax revenue.

“Instead, as a Councilman, I will have a back-and-forth dialog with my constituents so we can work together to make positive changes to Inglewood.”

Felicia Ford
“The city has turned for the worst. We have tax increases for no reason, and water and sewage bills increasing without residents’ approval. These things create a hardship on families. We need a strong leader to fight for the things we need.

“Instead of increasing taxes to raise city funds, I will lobby Washington for them. And the empty buildings in the city should be developed. As a homeowner, the trees planted in front of some of our yards are destroying our property. Two years ago, I spent $10,000 to re-pipe. My neighbors have done the same. Telling residents it’s not a city problem doesn’t work anymore. We need to have an honest discussion and form a committee that includes homeowners, plumbers and city departments so we can start working on this problem.

“Another concern is the ‘City of Champions,’ school district has been taken over by the state. Some people have raised three and four generations in Inglewood and now they (send) their kids to another city. These are Inglewood’s future leaders. We have to change this.

“And speaking of our retired residents, they want to spend their days in peace, not fighting with City Hall and ranting and raving at Council meetings. I’ll be their voice. I’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of people. I spoke for families during Compton’s cemetery desecration. I had over 140 court appearances. And in my corporate career, I’ve held managerial and executive positions.”

Daniel Tabor
“District 1 residents deserve a knowledgeable Council person who represents their interest, works well with others and gets the job done.

“In June 2007, I was re-elected to the Inglewood City Council and elected mayor in a special runoff election in August 2010. I’ve worked in public service for 35 years. I’m skilled in public policy, budgeting, and community organization.

“My top concern is the public infrastructure–our streets, sewer and water systems need immediate attention and by working with city, state and federal officials for funding and prioritizing the projects most in need, I think, we can get it done.

“And of course, completing the sound insulation program is a must.

“Manchester, Market Street and La Brea deserve revitalization and economic development. But, we should pursue companies that bring with them middle and upper income jobs. These development projects must contract and employ Inglewood residents.

“Also, I will work to build and revitalize facilities which serve our seniors, youth and families.
In the past, I served on one of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project committees, held monthly town hall meetings, brought in department heads, business leaders and organizations to discuss critical issues with residents. In the future, I plan to add tele-townhalls, e-mail newsletters and neighborhood block meetings to regularly connect with my constituents.”

Mike Stevens
Councilman Mike Stevens was elected in March 2011 to his first term on the Inglewood City Council with a commanding 20 percent of the popular vote in the 1st District. He represents a large part of central and northeast Inglewood including all of Morningside Park, Briarwood and Carlton Square, the east portion of the Vincent Park area, the area west of Hollywood Park and the Forum, the areas around Daniel Freeman west to the old Inglewood downtown Market Street.

Stevens has advocated for televising Inglewood Council meetings and changing the use of LAX airport noise mitigation funds for acquiring homes and bulldozing them to making the noise mitigation funds available for sound insulating Inglewood residents homes.

District 2 candidates, Dr. Ida Jean Robinson-Davis, Alex Padillia, and Joseph A. Soto, are running against incumbent Judy Dunlap. Soto did not respond to requests for an interview.

Judy Dunlap
Judy Dunlap has served on the Council since 1993, and is noted for her watchdog efforts. Through her efforts, taxpayers have saved more than $10 million. That is because the city was collecting $2 million annually as the result of a special assessment on Inglewood properties to pay for 20 additional police officers. However, Councilwoman Dunlap discovered no officers were hired, and that the $2 million was going into the general fund to pay for administrators’ salaries. As a result of her lawsuit, a ruling declared the tax illegal, and it was discontinued.

Ida Jean Robinson-Davis, Ph.D., D.C.
“Without a vision people will perish. I envision Inglewood communities working side-by-side with, both appointed and elected officials putting our city back on the road to prosperity.

“Improving our children’s education and career training for youth and adults entering or returning to the job market, I see them harnessed with skills competing for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs, not those of yesterday.

“I see improvements in the city’s economic development through job creation; in its health and safety awareness through information forums; in fewer “blighted areas” achieved through development, and I see children in record number flocking to our schools by focusing on after-school programs.

“In 1974, I moved into Inglewood. I lived on Eucalyptus and Hyde Park. It was a beautiful and safe neighborhood where I pushed my baby boy in his stroller. I want all Inglewood’s young mothers to share that experience as they walk with their children. This is done by expanding the budget for city services and supporting community policing.

“Our seniors need an advocate to assist them with navigating the city’s systems, ensuring their “safety nets” are in place, and that they have adequate housing.

“We should judge our political representatives by their results; they’ve had years and little to show. As an educator, researcher and clinician, I’ve worked with our communities for over 30 years. I plan to utilize my experience to ensure community-based politics, “by the people . . . for the people.”

Alex Padilla
“Yes, people do confuse my name with the senator’s, but I’m pretty engaged with the community so people recognize that I’ve worked for the Santa Monica police department for over 30 years. As a Council person, one of the responsibilities of the job is to show up and participate. I will do that.

“I’ll bring people to the table and we’ll work together to improve our city. One way is to balance our budget, not just for today, but for the future. We have to build up our reserves, so in case of a disaster we’re prepared.

“We’ll be business-friendly, but at the same time I want to bring in quality businesses, not those that attract the wrong people into our neighborhoods.

Police and fire department will be a priority, if something should happen, I want residents to experience rapid response times. And I want the police to be visible in our neighborhoods.

“And those vacant lots are an eyesore. That land should be developed to create jobs.

“And when it comes to dealing with our schools, I plan to work with both, the state and the school board to provide our kids with the best possible education.

“I’ve always served in civic organizations. When I’m elected that won’t change. I will continue meeting with owners and residents alike.”