INSIDE INGLEWOOD-Inglewood’s Mayor James T. Butts has approved spending up to $70,000 to TAL Global for a risk assessment report regarding security for the stadium that he and the city council approved in March. The firm’s managing director, Erroll Southers, is a former colleague of the mayor. Both worked in security at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).
In a January 11, 2010 LA Times (LAT) story, Butts had this to say about Southers: “’I have never met any person in this field with higher integrity and personal values than Erroll Southers. My nickname for him is 'Captain America.’’”
Southers, however, has had problems regarding his abuse of power that came to light when he was the Transportation Security Administration’s nominee in 2010. It was revealed that on at least two occasions he had unlawfully accessed confidential criminal records regarding his estranged wife’s new boyfriend. The acts were violations of the federal Privacy Act. The revelations were reported in a January, 2010 Washington Post story titled, “TSA nominee misled Congress about accessing confidential records.”
The city’s risk assessment report, which the city council approved during its March 24 city council meeting, states “Recently, competitors in an unsubstantiated and poorly sourced report have maligned our City as a potential hazard for terrorist activity targeting our proposed stadium project.”
The agenda item did not disclose the professional and personal relationships held by Southers and Butts.
The agenda item was said to have been prepared by Inglewood’s chief of police, Mark Fronterotta, and the mayor’s senior assistant, Melanie McDade-Dickens, the latter of whom has no known experience in the field of terrorism or aviation but who was the mayor’s campaign manager in 2010.
Much of the language reflects statements the mayor made in the wake of a late February report made public by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and which was written by former Secretary of Homeland Security's Tom Ridge.
In a March 5 LA Sentinel story, Butts blasted the report as "an alarmist attempt to needlessly frighten the public.” He went on to claim that there is "no safety hazard posed by the Inglewood stadium – and Tom Ridge and AEG know it” and that the report is "an alarmist attempt to needlessly frighten the public.”
Reached via personal and profession e-mail accounts, neither Butts, nor McDade-Dickens, nor Fronterotta responded.
(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 13 Issue 28
Pub: Apr 3, 2015