If you have followed me or this blog, you know that I supported Aja Brown for Mayor of Compton and I was thrilled when she was elected a couple of weeks ago (by a large margin!) I attended and participated in Mayor Brown's swearing in and, for me, and everyone there, it represented a powerful moment and opportunity for Compton.
Compton has been through a lot and its residents have waited too long for their community to be revitalized. It wasn't always this way.
Compton used to be a much sought after community to live in with its wide streets and abundance of single family homes. However, the riots and years of poor fiscal management (among other things) have hurt the community .
There are over 97,000 people living in Compton with just over 5,000 businesses. Unfortunately, Compton's Retail Sales rate is around $2,800 per capita which stands in stark contrast to the over $12,000 per capita rate in California.
Some of it has to do with our educational system. Compton has a high school graduation rate of just over 57%, again, this rate is under the rest of California which has a over 80%. We all know that education and access to comprehensive services can dramatically change the equation in Compton, but for that to happen we need smart, ethical and accountable leadership.
Mayor Aja Brown will be that kind of leader.
But, she can't do it alone. I know that my office will be there when she needs us, but we need a reinvestment of resources to stimulate Compton's renewal from; small businesses, nonprofits, health organizations, development, large chains and we need he state to step up and make sure we have incentives in place to attract these potential partners to the area.
Compton was founded in 1889 and has had a remarkable history. Yesterday, while swearing in Mayor Aja Brown, I couldn't help but feel hopeful that its best days were yet to come.