There’s no shortage of support for Aja Brown in her campaign for election as Compton’s mayor on Tuesday, April 18. In a crowded field of six, Mayor Brown’s record of accomplishments in the short four years she’s been in office is both impressive and a clear indicator that she deserves a second-term in office.
Similar to President Barack Obama when he took ahold of the reins in 2009, Mayor Brown was faced with a $43 million deficit on her first day in office. Add to that complaints about basic services and a city still trying to turn around its image as one of the deadliest cities in the country while attracting new businesses—Mayor Brown had her hands full.
Since 2013, Mayor Brown along with her colleagues on the city council have reduced Compton’s deficit by almost a third from the $43 million she inherited when she entered office. She’s worked with her colleagues on the city council to pass a balanced budget every fiscal year, including leading the effort to restructure employee benefit packages which reduced the demand on taxpayer dollars while at the same time restoring the city’s workforce and eliminating furloughs.
Mayor Brown led and organized a coalition effort to introduce and pass SB107 that protects employee pensions while restoring $11 million in funds and $7.5 million annually of public money.
On the issue of the streets in Compton, which have become synonymous with potholes, the mayor says that historically Compton had not appropriated any money in their general fund for street repairs due to the poor financial condition of the city.
“I introduced Measure P in 2014, which was passed by voters in June 2016 and will now generate approximately $8 million annually to repair every street in Compton, improve lighting, renovate our parks, expand hiring for city employees and enhance public safety,” she explained.
She continued, “we’ve raised millions in grant funding including $3 million for the reconstruction of Central Avenue, $2.9 million for the reconstruction of Wilmington Avenue, including pedestrian and bicycle enhancements, $9 million in residential street resurfacing and $6 for Compton Boulevard street reconstruction and pedestrian and bicycle enhancements which is currently in progress. But it’s a process when you’re trying to go back through decades of fiscal mismanagement during a time when the streets were not a priority. We are working as fast as we can to fix the streets but in a way that ensures that no matter who is in office—they will never ever be in this condition again and that there are funds allocated for ongoing maintenance.”
Breakthrough Church Of God In Christ and Compton resident Pastor Charles Gibson said, “I believe Mayor Brown is a cutting edge twenty-first century leader and the City of Compton needs her fresh infusion of visionary leadership.”
2015 saw Compton’s lowest number of homicides in over 20 years. Mayor Brown credits that in part to the Compton Empowered Gang Intervention initiative and Community Policing Task Force she championed that works to tackle gang violence and human trafficking. Thanks to Mayor Brown, Compton no longer has hourly motel rentals in an effort to suppress human trafficking.
Under her leadership, Compton was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice as a Violence Reduction Network city allowing the city to receive technical support to reduce, prevent and suppress crime from federal law enforcement agencies.
For nearly four years, Mayor Brown has championed Compton’s youth at every opportunity. From her engagement and support of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Compton to her involvement with helping to make sure young girls and ladies were able to benefit from being mentored through the Young Ladies BLOOM Mentorship Program. Currently, she’s hosting Compton Fun Friday’s along with local rapper and music artist YG’s 4Hundred Waze Foundation for youth in grades six through 12 and providing them with safe spaces to grow friendships and to be empowered in their own community.
“Aja Brown has done more for the city of Compton than any mayor has done in the last 30 years,” said Compton resident Jacqueline Wesson. “ Jobs, new businesses, mentoring programs for our youth—I support Mayor Brown!”
One of Mayor Brown’s proudest accomplishments is the “First Source Local Hiring and Community Benefits Agreement” that mandates a minimum of 35% local hiring which she believes directly impacted the 10 percent reduction in local unemployment. Her business attraction efforts led to Fortune 500 company UPS as a tenant to the Compton Brickyard. UPS will provide a minimum of 35% local employment and also invest a guaranteed minimum of $70 million in equipment purchases in Compton’s local economy over the next 10 years.
Compton business owner Kathleen Blackistone added, “the Mayor's Healthy Compton Initiative is a wonderful example of leading cultural shifts in community.”
A community activist, urban planner and nonprofit founder, after completing her Masters at USC, Mayor Brown began her career in urban planning, working first for Gardena, Inglewood and Pasadena.
With strong family roots in Compton stretching back multiple generations, in 2009 she stepped down from her other positions to become Compton’s Redevelopment Project Manager. As manager, she helped initiate the community-led downtown revitalization action committees, overseeing the Agency’s urban planning and economic development initiatives. Later, she co-founded the Urban Vision Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization in Compton dedicated to community economic and youth development.
After working as a city planner and starting nonprofits that focus on community development, it became evident that Compton needed fresh, new leadership to advance our communities and facilitate economic growth and youth development. So Aja decided to offer herself as a candidate for Mayor in 2013. Despite being in a crowded field of twelve candidates, she became the youngest mayor in Compton history when she was elected at the age of thirty-one. As a longtime urban planner, she understood that Compton was missing several components needed to foster a healthy, thriving city and nearly four years later she is on her way to accomplishing her stated goals.
“I just want to finish the work that we’ve started together here in Compton,” responded Mayor Brown when asked why she’s running for re-election. “There’s still a lot to be done and Compton is in a good place. We’ve taken some major steps forward but to make the dream a reality we must finish the work.”
Compton’s primary nominating election will take place on Tue. Apr. 18. The Los Angeles Sentinel and the LA Watts Times are Proud to endorse Mayor Aja Brown for of the City of Compton.