Patterico's Pontifications

11/2/2019

More Eye-Rolling Dysfunction in Inglewood

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

We checked-in with the urban hamlet of Inglewood, California — “The City of Champions” — a couple of summers ago to marvel how in a decidedly working-class town (median income of $45,000) the Executive Assistant to the Mayor managed to pull-down the nifty sum of $312,000 in total compensation. This particular dedicated public servant is one Melanie McDade-Dickens, who got her start in the lucrative world of city management after working for the successful campaign of Mayor James T. Butts. Ms. McDade-Dickens started as an executive assistant, but somehow kept assuming higher city jobs (which were never posted for public applicants and for which she never formally interviewed) until she had in effect become an assistant city manager. This professional windfall coming naturally at the same time that Inglewood was facing serious budget shortages.

So I was tickled yesterday to see Ms. McDade-Dickens’ name once again appear in the local news. I had noticed a story this past July mentioning that she had been suspended from her job and escorted out of city hall , for reasons that were not at the time divulged but turn out having something to do with her financing of a home purchase. The story also included, at last, a picture of Ms. McDade-Dickens, and, if I can be permitted the indelicacy, I think I can understand how she would end up being promoted way beyond her level of competence. Yowza. (I’ll wait until everyone clicks on the link above and then comes back here.)

So the latest contempts in which our lovely young heroine finds herself apparently involves a deposition she gave earlier in a lawsuit regarding a new basketball arena the Los Angeles Clippers are trying to build in Inglewood. Blessed with the support of the mayor and all of the local politicians, the Clippers had sought to fast-track all of the approval processes in order to have the new arena ready to open in fall of 2024 (yes, you read that correctly, five years from now; so much for “fast-tracking” California style). These plans irk the Madison Square Garden Group, which owns the iconic Forum, the former home of Los Angeles Lakers basketball and Los Angeles Kings hockey. The MSG Group spent millions of dollars rehabbing the building into a first-rate concert venue, and are thus threatened by the possibility that the new Clippers building might cut into their action. The MSG Group has accordingly filed suit to prevent the city from moving forward, and one of their contentions is that Mayor Butts convinced them to give up their rights on a parcel of land which he claimed the city would convert into an office park, but at the same time was secretly negotiating with the Clippers and intended to transfer that parcel to them all along.

And this is where our well-compensated public servant comes in. Here is what the local newspaper reported:

Melanie McDade-Dickens, the highly paid executive assistant to Inglewood’s mayor, has recanted more than 100 answers she made during depositions in a lawsuit attempting to block a new arena for the L.A. Clippers.

[. . .]

In September, [her lawyer Carl E.] Douglas submitted an errata — a legal correction — to her depositions that corrected 148 answers. She changed 48 “no” answers to “yes” and provided damaging details that she previously said she could not recall.

Douglas said his client was not properly prepared for the earlier depositions by previous attorneys, including Miller, and is now trying to set the record straight, even if it leads to incrimination or attacks on her character.

“She is comfortable now, standing on the corrected record, even if it is embarrassing to her, or to the city of Inglewood,” Douglas said Tuesday.

These changed answers apparently are very beneficial to the MSG Group’s case, showing a concerted effort by city officials to trick MSG. A key change is that Ms. McDade-Dickens after previous denials now asserts she was riding as a passenger in an automobile with Mayor Butts — who, by the way, now appears to probably be her erstwhile lover — when the mayor promised MSG officials in a speaker-phone call that the land would be used for a technology office park. The city continues to deny her claims, and the next step appears to be determining whether or not this addendum to her original testimony was filed before the expiration of the agreed-upon period.

I just like this story so much because it resides in that joyous nexus of sleazy public officials, wealthy out-of-town conglomerates, greedy sports leagues, hyper-weird dot-com billionaires, and scheming temptresses out to wreck everything in their path. Why anyone does business with or in a city like Inglewood is beyond me, except for the standard answer of location, location, location. But if a bunch of rich people and incorrigible crooks are given angina along the way, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

– JVW

20 Responses to “More Eye-Rolling Dysfunction in Inglewood”

  1. How lucky do you have to be to be the corrupt mayor of a city that has landed both a brand-spanking-new football stadium and a brand-spanking-new basketball arena?

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. Those of us of a certain age may recognize the name of Ms. McDade-Dickens’s lawyer, Carl E. Douglas, from the O.J. Simpson defense team at O.J.’s double murder trial.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  3. Great post. This is the model of many a large cities where the slogging engine is kept running by corruption and sleaze, and the residents keep voting in the same corrupt sleaze to be in charge, and the corrupt sleazes who are voted in, in turn hire their own brand of corrupt sleaze to assist them.

    This is good: urban hamlet of Inglewood, California

    Dana (16b5ab)

  4. Inglewood has the advantage of being in an area hemmed in by the Pacific Ocean, environmental regs and general Nimbyism elsewhere. An interior “slurb” on par with a Chicago south suburb could not get as far on so little in a area replete with more Greenfield options and more competent and interested mid suburban satellites (e.g. Arlington and FriscoTX, Cobb Co. Ga.).

    urbanleftbehind (955a38)

  5. In other words, Ms. McDade-Dickens is a liar and a slut.
    But the real problem here is Mr. Butts, the guy who hired her, and he had to know what was going on. He should be the next person escorted out of city hall, preferably in handcuffs.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  6. But the real problem here is Mr. Butts, the guy who hired her, and he had to know what was going on. He should be the next person escorted out of city hall, preferably in handcuffs.

    Would it surprise you to learn that he won reelection in an absolute landside last fall, despite his opponent being funded by the MSG Group?

    As mean as it is to say, this is why I no longer really care when neighborhoods and cities who continually elect corrupt leaders suddenly find the city coffers bare or city services collapsing. I confess that I find it hard to rouse too much sympathy for the travails of the people of Flint, considering that they spent generations sending the same old, same old.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  7. The current issue in Inglewood? The West LA housing boom has arrived. With next-door Westchester now pushing $2 million for a 2500sf house, white buyers are moving across the old color line and paying top dollar for Inglewood housing. This has resulted in renters complaining about the influx driving up rents for them and “changing the character of the city.”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  8. The reason that Butts was re-elected is that Inglewood’s prospects are much much brighter now. Between the stadium and huge increases in property values, a LOT of people are happy with him now. Except of course for the usual suspects.

    Attacking the Mayor for bringing the Clippers to Inglewood doesn’t seem like a good plan.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  9. I have heard conjecture that South Central Los Angeles and vicinity sit on some of the more earthquake-resistant land in Southern California. Is this just feel-good reassurance for good dwellers or is there geologic and seismic truth in that?

    urbanleftbehind (955a38)

  10. So thankful my youngest moved to rural Pa. from Dana Point.

    mg (8cbc69)

  11. It’s National Novel Writing Month (honest) but this story is way too trite to be part of the plot. Maybe a two-paragraph backstory to flesh out a character or locale, or just a page of filler (I hate filler).

    nk (dbc370)

  12. Speaking of shady “maj-min” cities, a cousin of mine just posted that when she went to vote this morning, a poll worker followed her to the machine and she “accidentally” pressed a button that votes straight party on the whole ballot (Hammond, IN). .maybe that’s how sneaky Pete got in or stays in.

    urbanleftbehind (955a38)

  13. So much for his character:

    In 2018, an investigation began into the award of a 2012 trash hauling pact contract. The contract, valued at $100 million, went to a bidder with personal connections to current Mayor James T. Butts. The successful bidder, Consolidated Disposal Services, secured the contract soon after hiring Michael Butts, brother of Mayor Butts, as an operations manager. Another firm had refused to hire the brother and was not awarded the contract, even though their bid was $10KK less

    Not to be nitpicky, but this irks me:

    In other words, Ms. McDade-Dickens is a liar and a slut.

    While I don’t disagree with the description, let’s include Mayor Butts in that description too. Further, he was Mayor James T. Butts when allegedly involved with his Executive Assistant . They’re either both sluts, or neither of them are.

    Dana (16b5ab)

  14. The story also included, at last, a picture of Ms. McDade-Dickens, and, if I can be permitted the indelicacy, I think I can understand how she would end up being promoted way beyond her level of competence.

    She’s nice, but she’s no Tulsi :)

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  15. Can’t blame the hippies for this, except indirectly for allowing it to happen while they criminalize straws and decriminalize the intentional transmission of AIDS. It’s Old California as featured in John Steinbeck and Perry Mason novels.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. Kevin M: @8

    The reason that Butts was re-elected is that Inglewood’s prospects are much much brighter now.

    So when corruption really gets entrenched, it begins to assume some of the characteristics of a private business, and then the Invisible Hand makes sure that they avoid failure and makes things better for people? As long as they can’t get out of their problems by raising tax rates.

    Sammy Finkelman (58e1fc)

  17. An old friend of mine used to be a cop in Vernon, CA population 112 over 5.2 sq miles and almost completely industrial.

    Here’s what administrators were paying themselves

    According to media reports and other sources, Eric T. Fresch was paid $1.65 million in 2008. In 2009 O’Callaghan was paid $785,000, Burnett, $570,000, and Harrison, $800,000. Malkenhorst, Jr. was paid $290,000 in 2008. Malkenhorst, Sr., who also has been charged with misappropriation of public funds,[18] retired in 2005, and as a former employee, still receives a pension that is the highest in the state of California.[31] Malkenhorst, Sr. has been convicted of fraud and is under investigation for several other charges.[32] Malkenhorst pleaded guilty in May 2011 to illegally using public money to pay for personal items. Prosecutors said that from 2000 to 2005, he was illegally reimbursed for personal expenses that included meals, golfing, massages, a personal trainer and a home security system. He received three years’ probation and was fined $35,000, including penalties. He was ordered to repay $60,000 in restitution.[33] He was fined $10,000 in addition to other penalties.[15] His total of $105,000 in fines will be no problem for Malkenhurst who continues to receive the highest public pension in California: $509,664

    steveg (354706)

  18. So when corruption really gets entrenched,

    When everyone has jobs, when the fiscal crisis has passed and your house has doubled in value in 3 years and the main problem in your formerly gang-ridden poor area is too many white people are trying to move in, well maybe you’ll vote for the mayor.

    As in “Find out what he’s smoking and send a bushel to all my other mayors.”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  19. Vernon is not Inglewood.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  20. Vernon is not Inglewood.

    So Vernon is an incredible story about how far political corruption can go. I remember a story about them in the Dog Trainer some time back, which pointed out that Vernon, which is largely a town of warehouses and manufacturing plants (back when we manufactured stuff in California) had a population of something like twelve people, all of whom were in the same family and lived in the same converted warehouse. They then used their position not only to steal money from city coffers, but also to ensure that no other address in Vernon was zoned for residence. So, in other words, they had an artificially-created monopoly because they were the only people that could live there. And, naturally, the mayor and the deputy mayor (his brother) were figuring out ways of lavishing spending all of the tax revenue on themselves.

    JVW (54fd0b)


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