COMPTON — Compton Mayor Aja Brown delivered her inaugural State of the City address July 10, showcasing her vision for the city and plans to uplift its residents.
Promising to push forward initiatives and an agenda that puts Compton first, Brown announced exciting plans for the future of Compton.
She also described the tremendous challenges she faced coming into office two years ago.
“In 2013, the city had [accumulated] a $42 million general fund deficit,” Brown said. “The city’s employees were forced to do more with less in the aftermath of massive employee layoffs that reduced the workforce by approximately 200 workers.
“With fewer employees, growing residential and business service demands, an aging infrastructure and a host of financial and regulatory challenges, I assumed office with a massive mission — to stabilize my community.”
Since Brown assumed office, Compton has significantly reduced its debt to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, $8 million of debt to the Department of Finance has been repaid and the city has passed a balanced budget on time the last two years.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Compton Sheriff’s Station Capt. Myron Johnson were on hand to help the mayor celebrate a reduction in homicides and violent crime in the city over the past couple of years. Mayor Brown announced a $250,000 public safety grant as well as the passing of law in Compton that has eliminated the hourly motel rentals within city limits that aid and abed in human trafficking.
Other news that drew applause was the announcement of a significant investment being made by Trammell Crow Company at the site of what is commonly referred to as the Old Brick Yard.
The mayor also announced that Walmart would be coming to the city at the site of the former Compton Swap Meet.
Closing out her speech, Brown announced three measures that voters will be asked to make a decision on in the upcoming November election.
The first is a 1 percent sales tax increase that will cover the cost of repairing Compton streets and provide an ongoing fund to keep the streets in good condition. The second is a government reform and transparency measure that ties council member salaries to the median income of the city’s residents.
“We’re in this together,” Brown told the audience. “We rise when you rise.”
The third measure deals with government accountability and gives the mayor the sole discretion to hire and fire the city manager.
“I want to take the politics out of the city manager’s position,” she said. “As it stands now, the city manager must keep at least three members of the City Council happy in order to get anything done and that’s not right.”
Brown said there is a sunset clause attached to the measure so that if residents don’t think it is working, they can go back to the way things are currently.
Brown made history in 2013 when she became the youngest elected mayor at the age of 31. Since then she has begun implementing her “New Vision for Compton that is centered on 12 key principles that focus on family values, quality of life, economic development and infrastructural growth.