INSIDE INGLEWOOD-Inglewood’s mayor, James T. Butts, has hired a city employee for campaign work.
That employee, Joshua Howe (photo) , is a Web Systems Administrator who has worked for the City of Inglewood since 2004 in the Information Technology (IT) department at Inglewood’s city hall.
According to a campaign financial disclosure (CA Form 460) that stated a number of payments made to campaign personnel between July 1 and September 30, Howe was paid $3,000 for “WEB” work that is described in the filing as “information technology costs (internet, e-mail).”
The "Lead Web Developer" position that Howe holds at the City of Inglewood pays up to $6,950 monthly, according to the city's FY 2012-2013 budget released in September, 2013.
Butts’ election Web site is maintained through GoDaddy.com but claims an administrative address in Koreatown (i.e., mid-Wilshire) on 11601 Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles. He is running to maintain his seat as mayor of Inglewood in the November general election.
It is unknown what exactly Howe does for Butts and if he works from one of his listed residential homes or at city hall.
In the campaign filing, the San Pedro resident claims to live on Sunnyside Terrace; in the 2014 Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce guide, he is listed as living on Stonewood Court. Both are listed on various real estate sites as single-family residential homes.
His payment was made at about the same time a derogatory Website attacking Inglewood residents and journalists popped up. That site, which also defended Butts, was taken down when this journalist hired investigators to track its hidden IP address and emails were sent to those who were responsible. The site was hosted through GoDaddy and was discovered to emanate from the corner of West Manchester Boulevard and South La Brea Avenue.
Inglewood’s civic center—which includes city hall and the police department—is situated near the intersection.
According to a WikiMedia page, Howe was responsible for posting a years-old photo that Butts regularly and frequently uses on campaign material. The photo was taken in May, 2009 by Melanie McDade, who was Butts’ campaign manager and in 2011 was hired on as Butts’ Senior Assistant to the Mayor to replace the position of “executive assistant to the mayor.” Despite the title downgrade, the position’s pay scale was increased. (See related story)
On the same disclosure sheet as Howe’s payment are two payments to Melissa Hebert, a person who owns 2UrbanGirls, a blog that regularly cheers on the mayor when not publishing blogs with titles such as “Los Angeles Unified School District is sorry as f**k!” (December 12, 2013) and “Does Inglewood Unified School District have perverts on the payroll” (October 9, 2014).
Hebert was paid $1,500 for “WEB” work as well. It is unknown what work she performed.
Requests to Butts, Howe and Hebert were not returned.
(Randall Fleming is a veteran journalist and magazine publisher. He has worked at and for the New York Post, the Brooklyn Spectator and the Los Feliz Ledger. He is currently editor-in-chief at the Morningside Park Chronicle, a weekly newspaper based in Inglewood, CA and on-line at www.MorningsideParkChronicle.com. Mr. Fleming’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.)
Vol 12 Issue 88
Pub: Oct 31, 2014