Brown beats former mayor Bradley in Compton mayoral election

Aja Brown defeated Omar Bradley in Tuesday's mayoral election in Compton.
Aja Brown defeated Omar Bradley in Tuesday's mayoral election in Compton.
Sharon McNary/KPCC

Voters in Compton have rejected their former mayor, who's facing retrial in a corruption case.
Omar Bradley's comeback bid fell short in Tuesday's election. The Los Angeles Times reports that  Bradley received 36.2 percent of the vote. Urban planner Aja Brown got 63.7 percent to become the new mayor.

Take Two's A Martinez interviewed Brown this morning. The newly-elected 31-year-old Brown told KPCC her first focus will be on good governance:

I think the City of Compton has suffered for quite some time from the lack of innovative policies, really collaborative efforts with the federal, state and regional elected officials and government agencies.

My heart is really in building coalitions. The city of Compton has over 200 churches, 100 non-profits, small business communities and really large corporations and so we have an opportunity to really bridge the gap between those sectors and be able to provide a higher level of service to our residents.

Brown, a USC graduate in urban planning, has worked in economic development in nearby Gardena, Inglewood and Compton before launching her own firm two years ago. In the interview, she emphasized the challenge and opportunity in improving Compton's local economy and media perception.

When we look at the investment decisions into the city of Compton, the small business community and global corporations and retailers and all of those types of services that decide to come into the community to serve it, they look at the perception, how does the brand work with the local community. And I've worked for several communities. Inglewood is similar to Compton in some ways and certain brands won't come into quote-on-quote urban communities because they feel that the perception doesn't mesh well with their brand.

So I think we've missed out on some opportunities to provide the basic goods and services to our community. But I think that there is an opportunity to really build relationships and say, "Hey - Compton is new. We're moving forward. And we definitely have a community that is economically-viable to serve." 

Bradley served two terms as mayor, but he was convicted in 2004 of misappropriating public funds. Prosecutors say he used a city-issued credit card for personal expenses, including shoes, cigars and a hotel stay.

An appeals court tossed the conviction last August but prosecutors plan to retry him.
Voters in Compton also elected their first Latino councilman, Issac Galvan. Latinos have long been a majority in the city.

"Having a diverse council is necessary in order to make sure that all constituents are represented well," Brown said. "He's also young and I think he'll grow and be able to be a great asset to the community."

Brown and Galvan will serve on a city council of five total members, with four council members and one mayor with the same authority.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Bradley was the incumbent.