INSIDE INGLEWOOD-Metro's Community Leader Council (CLC) co-chair may have triggered a distinct violation of the California Brown Act when she reprimanded a community stakeholder at the Thursday, October 24 CLC meeting held at People’s Independent Church of Christ on 5850 West Blvd. in LA.
"We're on church property. You can't say that," said Thrash-Ntuk in response to a man who had attempted to verbally convey his concerns about Metro's historical neglect toward black people in South LA. When other stakeholders protested, she said, "Thank you, let's now hear from a Metro member about the construction project."
Other residents later expressed similar concerns about the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and were met with an apparent similar disregard by Thrash-Ntuk.
One resident who was apparently familiar with Metro's alleged disregard for the community said that "No one [locally] got jobs until two months after the [Expo Line] was finished." Before he was finished with his comment, Thrash-Ntuk interrupted him and announced the board was moving onto the next agenda item.
When challenged throughout the evening for a number of ethics and possibly unlawful procedures regarding the meeting’s protocol (including Brown Act violations regarding Metro's requirement for stakeholders to formally identify themselves in order to comment or ask questions of the board members' activity), Thrash-Ntuk at times laughed, smirked and even announced, “I don’t have to follow anything.”
“She’s a disgrace,” said one audience member who insisted on not naming herself owing to what she said could be retribution against her business.
According to an October 24 story in the L.A. Sentinel, "The Crenshaw/LAX Leadership Council (CLC) is composed of 25 community based activists with a history of advocacy and accomplishment in the area to be impacted by the new Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project." At an October 28 event sponsored by Metro and called the Business Opportunities Summit, Sentinel CEO Danny Bakewell, Sr. announced he was a "programming partner" with Metro.
According to Metro's "CLC Membership Roster & Bios" Web page, there are 21 CLC board members.
At the October 24 CLC board meeting, 12 members of the board convened. Some of the board members present were Reverend Jackie Russell (Director of Community Services at Faithful Central Baptist Church), Inglewood Today owner Willie Brown and CLC co-chair Arna Fulcher.
West Angeles CDC is the developer for the West Angeles Plaza Today which broke ground in June. It is at 3501 Jefferson Blvd. in L.A., two blocks from Expo Line’s Crenshaw station.
Faithful Central Baptist Church owns the land around one of the three Inglewood Crenshaw Line stations and Inglewood Today receives considerable paid ads from Metro.
A number of Metro executives were also present, among them Executive Officer Bryan Pennington, Transportation Planning Manager Alexander E. Kalamaros and Communications/New Media Officer Brett C. S. Roberts. No employees or politicians from the City of Inglewood were present.
None of the board members present mentioned Thrash-Ntuk’s behavior, even when she informally ended the meeting in apparent violation of California's Brown Act.
(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 monthly newspaper based in Inglewood, CA and on-line at www.MorningsideParkChronicle.com. Views expressed and/or conclusions reached by Mr. Fleming are his and do not necessarily reflect those of CityWatch.)
Vol 11 Issue 89
Pub: Nov 5, 2013