Dueling realities were on full display in the council chamber, where on the one hand city leaders boasted that they were Making Inglewood Great Again, despite evidence that things were actually a bit of a bonfire.
Even the city treasurer was conflicted about the state of things as she started off the meeting with a positive report that the city’s “gross investment interest earnings is $6,902.”
However, “just a little report regarding global debt,” she pivoted. “Global debt has risen to more than $247 trillion, which is 318 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.”
I’m not an economist, but it seems like all the world needs is a slight 318 percent increase in GDP and problem solved, no?
But fear not: the meeting was not simply a platform to realize that faraway debt is a problem. It was a platform to realize that nearby city hall is a problem.
“This is a lawsuit filed by an assistant pastor,” a commenter waved around a sheet of paper at the lectern. “He says, quote, ‘this is about abuses of power and civil rights perpetrated by the city of Inglewood through its current mayor, James T. Butts.'”
With his voice raised, the man summed up the lawsuit in a single sentence: “He says both the mayor and his assistant used intimidation and defamation to try to ruin his career and have him shunned.”
To conclude, “at least one other community paper reported on this, but in order to hide problems with this mayor, Inglewood Today is hiding problems from the public.”
“I don’t appreciate anyone, not even the mayor, suggesting that I choke myself at a public meeting,” the next woman began, sadly providing no further context. “I wonder how many situations are going to be created where someone sues us for a hostile work environment that YOU created. I hope that everyone goes on the Internet and checks out the Daily Breeze story.”
So to recap: one media outlet is covering the hostile work environment. Another one is hiding problems. And a third one is, apparently, giving the mayor glowing coverage.
“I’d like to congratulate the mayor for his interview on ‘Eye on Newsmaker,'” Councilman George Dotson heaped on the praise. “I’ve heard nothing but great comments. I’ve had people call me wanting to see it over again.”
“I also wanna congratulate you,” fawned Councilman Alex Padilla. “You talk about putting Inglewood on the map for all the right reasons.”
Mayor Butts grinned at this 180-degree tonal shift, knowing that amid all this talk about choking and intimidation, he had the final word.
“I’m glad that we have one person the Breeze can always go to to tell us how bad we’re doing. But they can only find one!” he joked. “There are media broadcast outlets that wanna know the real story of what’s going on in this city.” (I am assuming The Chronicles falls in that category, Your Honor.)
Then as he prepared to adjourn the meeting, the mayor reached full-on elder statesman mode.
“Remember, this is an election season. And there’s gonna be all kinds of crazy lawsuits filed and all kinds of stories,” he said quietly but forcefully. “Look at the results. Look at the reality of what’s going on here. Not all the smoke and the distraction. This is the new Inglewood.”
Well, it will be once the “crazy” lawsuit is cleared up.