COMPTON — Local voters are weeks away from the June 1 general election that could see a dramatic shift in the shape and direction of the City Council. With the election being held mostly with vote-by-mail, residents have begun receiving ballots to elect a new mayor, treasurer, and representatives for Council Districts 2 and 3.
District 3 incumbent Tana McCoy was a longtime city employee, appointed to the seat after the retirement of Yvonne Arceneaux. McCoy points to her involvement in helping restore Woodlawn Cemetery, voting to fund rapid street repairs and new housing developments as reasons to re-elect her to another four-year term.
“During my tenure, I have voted in favor of $5.9 million dollars of infrastructure improvements, business development and upcoming housing developments but there is still work to be done,” McCoy said. “I believe that I am on the right track to accomplishing the necessary improvements to improve the quality of life for our community. I will diligently work to complete infrastructure improvements, protect public’s health and re-open parks and businesses.”
McCoy says she has represented Compton residents with respect, dignity and professionalism during her 40-year career serving them.
McCoy is facing another former city employee who believes his experience is what the residents need at such a crucial time for the city.
Jonathan Bowers is a well-respected former Compton firefighter, who is now a fire captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. His priorities are addressing the city’s infrastructure, modernizing the city’s bill payment system and restoring the fire academy to train the city’s youth.
“Our streets are unacceptable, where potholes are more like mountains and our streets are deteriorating,” said Bowers, as he filmed himself picking up chunks of asphalt that were littering the street.
“I have been in public safety for four decades, and I will work with my colleagues to bring about an understanding of the necessity, and importance of revamping our whole public safety model,” said Bowers. “Public safety consists of law-enforcement, fire rescue, public works, parking enforcement, building and safety, and code enforcement. We need to create a robust public safety program for the city of Compton. In general, the city of Compton is not a safe city.”
Bowers is also looking to enhance residents ability to pay their bills in a more timely fashion through working with the council to modernize the city’s bill payment process, which enables the city’s finances to get back on track.
“I will work with my colleagues to fix how the city of Compton’s finances are handled with regular audits and a 21st century financial transaction capabilities i.e. online bill payments, business license payments, water bill payments,” said Bowers. “Being able to complete business transactions within that perspective department meaning when you obtain a business license you should be able to pay it in the building department and not have to leave and go to the cashier and return with a proof of payment receipt, or if you do a plans check in the fire department you should be able to pay for that service with a credit or debit card at the fire department.”
Bowers believes a better tracking system of the city’s financial activities prevents mismanagement and misappropriation and/or theft of taxpayer funds.
Bowers was also vocal in how the city changed the hiring qualifications for applicants to the fire department, and closure of the fire academy, which trained the city’s youth for future employment with the city. If elected, he seeks to bring back the vocational training many of the residents desire.
“The James Shern Fire Academy is now defunct due to a lack of concern, poor administration, poor leadership, no vision, and a failure to understand the plight of minorities in the United States with regards to the fire service,” Bowers said. “I want to restore the fire training academy because it was very valuable in preparing young men and women to enter into the fire service, because the James Shern Fire Academy, at one time, graduated the most people of color, and women in the history of California.”
The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office confirmed it has already received 1,900 ballots from the city’s nearly 45,000 registered voters.
Residents are able to send their ballot through the U.S. mail or they can turn it in at one of the stationary ballot boxes in the city or bring it to the registrar’s office Norwalk office on or before June 1.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at email@example.com.