INSIDE INGLEWOOD - Inglewood's 2013 city council elections for Districts 1 and 2 are over after a race that is prompting investigations on many levels.
But one of the overlooked and relatively small questions is: Why did Spectrum LA on 9305 Van Ness close after an allegedly staged Inglewood Police Department raid two weeks after the election and the week before the new council person, George Dotson, was sworn in?
The dispensary opened quietly in November 2012—just a month before Inglewood's elections was to get into high gear. During its brief tenure, the dispensary was mentioned in several city council meetings by concerned citizens who had their own question: Who owns the pot shop and who allowed it to open?
The run-off elections were held on 11 June and no real results were posted for nearly two weeks. The week the election results were finalized and posted, Inglewood police officers converged on Spectrum LA.
The following week—the first of July—neighbors interviewed about the incident said that that it was a raid.
"They closed off [the alley] and were swarming all over the place," said one resident who demanded anonymity. A resident of nearby 2nd Avenue confirmed the event.
But the owner said otherwise. Song, who refused to give her last name but proclaimed herself the dispensary's owner, was at her store a few days after the event.
"It was not a raid. [The police] came, checked our papers and found we were legitimate in every way, including our doctor. Then they left."
Calls to Inglewood police Capt. James Madia were not returned.
Reached by phone a few days later, Song added that she "had ample security, kept the parking lot free of loiterers, and did not allow people to break any ordinances or laws." Her store was marked by two discrete signs: one a green cross on white background, the other a faux-neon "Open" sign.
One week later the phone was disconnected. A visit to the store revealed the two signs gone from the windows and the security camera over the shop's awning removed.
Although questions remain about the peculiar timing of the pot shop's opening and closing, it appears that the mayor of Inglewood, James T. Butts, has attempted to deflect any probing by shutting down other dispensaries in Inglewood.
On August 8, the LA Weekly reported that the first-ever dispensary in Los Angeles County, IMCC Wellness Center on 318 Market Street in Inglewood, was shut down by IPD. IMCC Wellness Center was opened in 1999.
The word on the street was that the other three dispensaries in the small charter city would also be shut down.
Despite the structural deficit that Inglewood is experiencing owing to its recent mayoral lineage and the strong rumors that the mayor, Butts, holds a dispensary card, it remains worthy of further investigation that after so many years the city would shut down its dispensaries—starting with one that some city hall insiders say was established for political reasons.
Calls to Butts 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 monthly newspaper based in Inglewood, CA and on-line at www.MorningsideParkChronicle.com)
Vol 11 Issue 66
Pub: Aug 16, 2013