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Community Advocate Ready to Move City Forward
Austin Williams has been an Inglewood resident for 27 years and pastor of True Vine Baptist Church in the City for 37 years, but he is coming from behind the pulpit because the community had persuaded him to do so to run for City Council on April 7.
During a political era where the change moniker has been floated around like a solution to a common cold since President Barack Obama's historical election, this time it fits close like a glove.
For the past 16 years incumbent Councilwoman Judy Dunlap has ruled the second district in Inglewood, and under her leadership or lack thereof it has also been suffering from economic development that has spawned through Inglewood and the South Bay region.
Williams has heard the constant pleas from voters in the second district that is roughly 48 percent Black and 52 percent Latino, but he says that Dunlap who is White has not responded to their cry.
"I was quite comfortable doing what I was doing. Preaching, mentoring to kids and offering services that should have been provided for them by the city," Williams told the Sentinel.
However, citizens consistently complained to him about the 17 vacant lots that had become pockets for crime and redevelopment at districts middle school that remained at an impasse.
Their finger pointing zeroed in on Dunlap, and then they pleaded with Williams to do something about it.
"I'm running because the citizens of this community urged me to do so and because I feel that I can bring about the change necessary to make a positive difference in their lives," Williams added.
A former Volunteer of the Year award recipient for the city of Inglewood and an instrument for safe passage policies for students and parents, Williams entered the race and vows to win.
Winning is nothing new to the former track and basketball star who attended Fremont High school and was once clocked at 9.7 in the 100 yard dash, but this is a race more important than any he's ever encountered.
It is also perhaps more challenging because Dunlap has made a career of being politician parked in city hall.
"At one point she was for term limits and then she was against it. She doesn't agree with any policies that are not her own and has handicapped this community. It is time for her to be replaced," Williams suggested.
Williams has already received the powerful endorsements of Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, Senator Roderick Wright, Assemblyman Curren price, Water Board Member Gloria Gray and Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn.
But winning against Dunlap will be an uphill battle. District 2 hast not had a representative that wasn't White in more than a century although the demographics have changed to the extent that Whites are the minority of less that three percent.
Williams, endorsed this week by the Sentinel, is hoping to change that.
"I've been told that the time is now and those you believe in me will join my crusade to accomplish that."
In the other election races in Inglewood, the Sentinel is endorsing Carliss Richardson McGhee and Dr. Renee Dorn for School Board seats No. 2 and 3, respectively, and George Dotson and Daniel Tabor in City Council Districts No. 1 and 2.