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The Year of Rebirthing Compton
By Sentinel News Service
Published January 6, 2011

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Celebrating “Compton style”

The city of Compton welcomed a year, of “Rebirthing Compton” during 2010. From the streets, to the city government, Compton began to experience a renewed life, attitude and outlook on the future.

In the beginning of the year, the city saw officials in leadership positions, Councilwomen Lillie Dobson, Alita McGreggor-Godwin, Yvonne Arceneaux and Barbara J. Calhoun rise to the occasion and helped transform Compton into a place of opportunity and pride.

Dobson, who was appointed to the City Council District 2 in 2003 and was subsequently elected to a full term in June 2005, provided a legislative agenda that consisted of improving the quality of life for Compton citizens, reduced crime, citywide beautification, and increasing public safety.

As the city clerk, McGreggor-Godwin the official keeper of the city records, is responsible for recording all council, city and mayoral related actions.

She has been with the city for about 25 years and has held several key positions including administrative technician, deputy city clerk and chief deputy city clerk; she has also worked as the records clerk for the Compton Police Department and with her other elected and appointed colleagues, she is placing Compton on the map of progressive municipalities.

Councilwoman Arceneaux helped the city with her support with efforts such as the Compton Creek Watershed Management Plan and with law enforcement has benefited the city greatly. Councilwoman Calhoun renovated schools in the city with the Measure I Bond Campaign, created new jobs, and helped the homeless with programs like the 7th Annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down.

The city of Compton also had a sound legal representative and manager to make sure everything ran smoothly. Craig J. Cornwell, the city attorney and Charles Evans, the city manager made sure the duties were fulfilled.

Cornwell was familiar with the office having provided legal advice to his predecessor on various matters as a private attorney. In addition, he previously worked as a deputy city attorney and the chief deputy city attorney for the city.

As the city attorney, Cornwell provided legal counsel for the city council and the administrative staff, as well as prosecutorial services for misdemeanors and infractions. He also represented the city in claims against others; and all claims brought against the city, as a general rule, unless there is a conflict of interest.

As the city manager, Charles Evans managed the effective delivery of city services and saw that it was done in an efficient and professional way.

He had been with the city since 1980, starting as the risk manager for the city, handling their workers compensation, safety and loss prevention program, all the other elements that went with the risks that happen in the municipal environment. All his efforts seemed to demonstrate a service-friendly city manager, within the city and beyond the city. The city of Compton later appointed City Controller, Willie Norfleet, as its new city manager to replace Charles Evans.

Local councilmen were making strides to improve the neighborhood by implementing programs into the city. Councilman Dr. Willie O. Jones and Operation Hope teamed up to provide financial education to the citizens of Compton. They provided financial education to the city’s youth through a pilot program with Compton Unified School District.

Later in the year, Jones and a delegation of Compton officials went to China in effort to further stimulate economic growth in the city of Compton. Lestean Johnson, president of the Compton Chamber of Commerce, Derek Hull, Compton planning director, Charles Evans, Compton City Manager, and Councilperson Yvonne Arceneaux accompanied Jones in the trip.

Jones said that the Chinese business community was overwhelmingly receptive to the delegation and excited about pursuing business opportunities in the Hub City.

Compton would begin to enjoy an economic boom as more businesses and developments began to see opportunities within the city. Most of these changes were due largely in part to the hard work and committed efforts of Mayor Perrodin and the Compton City Council. The city has seen several new housing communities established, coupled with rising home values of over 35%, the addition of a Wells Fargo Bank, TGI Fridays, several Starbucks Coffee locations, a thriving strip mall that, among many other projects, has created a host of jobs as well as generate revenue for the city. Statistics show that homicides are at an all-time low and community residents feel safer moving about their own neighborhoods.

The city of Compton is a State Enterprise Zone or on an (EZ)Program. The state awarded the EZ designations on a competitive basis. The city’s application ranked 8th of the 25 applications approved for a California Enterprise Zone and that designation still continues to create opportunities for businesses, and by extension, opportunities for employment.

Many events were held throughout Compton last year in an effort to make change, unite the community and provide a safe atmosphere for kids. The Second Annual Children’s Fall Festival was held in Kelly Park, adjacent to Kelly Elementary School. Over 1500 Compton area young people and their parents came-out to meet their Council Member and participate in a special outdoor event. The celebration included a Back-to-School fashion show, youth talent show, raffles and celebrity appearances. The camp wants to inspire the minds of our community while letting them express their talent.

Thousands of Compton residents attended Project IMPACT and World Vision’s back to school celebration at Compton Community College, where children were given backpacks, pens, pencils, scissors, notebooks and binders, and they were given the opportunity to register for tutoring. They were given community resource information guides and a free health screening.

Mayor Jim Dear and the City of Carson played host to the Compton Education Foundation’s “Masquerade Ball 2010”. CA Assemblyman Isadore Hall III was the master of ceremonies for the immensely successful evening. The crowd was a virtual Who’s Who of state and local politicians and educators. This year the Compton Education Foundation honored Mrs. Blondell Filer, wife of Maxcy D. Filer and mother of Judge Kelvin Filer, for her contributions to arts education in Compton Unified School District.

At the end of the year, Compton City Councilmembers Lillie Dobson, Dr. Willie D. Jones, Mayor Pro Tem and Barbara J. Calhoun joined Los Angeles 2nd District Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Governor Schwarzenegger and other local elected officials at the lighting of the Holiday Tree of Hope at the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Medical Center.

Yussuf J. Simmonds, Sentinel Managing Editor, Jason Lewis, Sentinel Sports Editor, Brian W. Carter & Francis Taylor, Sentinel Staff Writers and Shirley Hawkins, Sentinel Contributing Writer contributed to this article.

Categories: Local

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