Aja Brown

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Aja Brown
Aja Brown
18th Mayor of Compton, California
Assumed office
July 2, 2013
Preceded by Eric J. Perrodin
Personal details
Born Aja Lena Clinkscale
(1982-04-17) April 17, 1982 (age 35)
Altadena, California U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Van Brown (m. 2003)
Residence Compton, California U.S.
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Community Development Professional
Religion Baptist
Website comptoncity.org

Aja Lena Brown (born April 17, 1982)[1] is an American politician who currently serves as Mayor of Compton, California. She won the election, defeating both incumbent mayor Eric J. Perrodin and former mayor Omar Bradley.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born Aja Lena Clinkscale in Altadena, California, to mother Brenda Jackson, who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and raised the family as a single mother.[1] Brown's parents divorced when she was young.[3] She has a fraternal twin brother named Jonathan Clinkscale, who played football at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[4][5] Brown's mother grew up in East Compton.[2][6]

In 2000, Brown graduated from John Muir High School in Pasadena, where she was senior class president and played varsity volleyball.[3][4]

In 2004, Brown graduated from University of Southern California, where she received a full academic scholarship, with a bachelor's degree in Policy, Planning & Development that included public policy, urban planning and development. In 2005, she earned a master's degree in Master of Planning & Development, which included urban planning with a concentration in economic development.[7] The subject of her master's thesis was an analysis of the 2004 failed development of a Walmart supercenter in Inglewood.[3]

Career[edit]

In 2004, while attending USC, Brown began working for the City of Gardena, California as an Economic Development Analyst. Brown graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in public policy, urban planning and development. A year later in 2005, she earned a master's degree in urban planning with a concentration in economic development.[7]

In 2006, Brown began working for the City of Inglewood, California as an Urban Planner. In 2007, she served a term as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Pasadena, then resigned in 2009 to join Compton's Redevelopment Agency as a Redevelopment Project Manager, focusing her efforts on revitalizing the emergent City of Compton. She was responsible for creating community benefits legislation, initiating community-led downtown revitalization action committees, overseeing the Agency’s urban planning and economic development initiatives. Brown also created and implemented Compton’s Apprentice Program designed to create jobs for local residents on city-funded or assisted capital improvement projects.[8]

In 2011, Brown co-founded the Urban Vision Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization in Compton dedicated to community economic and youth development. Brown has also developed several re-branding programs that have achieved success in various cities, and she was awarded the "Best 2012 Communicator Design Award" for her "Yes!" campaign for the City of Compton. She has been instrumental in marketing Compton's buyer's program for first-time home buyers, as well as programs to attract expertise in land use and transportation.[2][9]

Mayor Brown and husband, Van.

2013-present: Compton Mayor[edit]

Election[edit]

Having worked as a city employee for Compton, Brown decided in October 2012 to introduce what she called her "New Vision for Compton". A newcomer to politics, she defeated 12 candidates, including former mayor Omar Bradley and the incumbent mayor Eric J. Perrodin, to become the youngest mayor of Compton at age 31.[2][9]

12-point strategy plan[edit]

Mayor Brown has launched a "12-Point Plan" designed to strategically advance the city of Compton. During Brown’s tenure as a city employee, she recognized that the essential components needed to foster a healthy, thriving city were either outdated or non-existent. Addressing existing problems on multiple fronts, including youth development, infrastructure, working with educational coalitions and economic development, she says she has made her "12-Point Plan" accessible for the residents to follow along with the progress of the city.[10]

Decrease in violence[edit]

In 2014, Brown began reaching out to Compton Bloods and Crips gang leaders through former members to negotiate peace. She uses conflict mitigation instead of heavy policing. Since the gangs started regular meetings, violent activity was reduced by about 65 percent compared to the all-time high some 25 years ago.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Brown is married to Van Brown, a Petrochemical Safety Manager, whom she met and began dating in high school. Van Brown is a former University of Southern California football player.[13] Brown and her husband moved to Compton in 2009. [2] She and her husband are members of Faith Inspirational Missionary Baptist Church, where they work in community outreach programs.[8]

In 1973, Brown's maternal grandmother, Lena Young, a nurse, was raped and murdered in a home invasion in Compton that is an unsolved homicide. She died 10 years before Brown was born. Brown never knew her grandmother.[2][3]

Brown's first name comes from the Steely Dan song, "Aja," the title track of the 1977 record, Aja, because it was a favorite of Brown's mother.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Aja Lena Clinkscale - California Birth Index". FamilySearch. 17 April 1982. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Aleksander, Irina (23 January 2015). "The Unsinkable Aja Brown: Aja Brown Wants to Turn Compton Into the "New Brooklyn"". Elle. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e McDonald, Patrick Range (18 July 2013). "Can Aja Brown, Compton's Hip, Refreshing Reform Mayor, Turn This Woeful City Around?". LA Weekly. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Football: Jonathan Clinkscale, Defensive Line Coach". Oxy Athletics. Occidental College. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Ephron, Amy (9 September 2015). "You Can Call Her Mayor Brown: How Aja Brown Is Transforming the City of Compton". Vogue. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Jennings, Angel; Sewell, Abby (1 June 2013). "Compton's mayoral choice: old guard or new blood?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Elected Officials: Aja Brown, Mayor". City of Compton. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Carroll, Rory (15 October 2013). "Aja Brown, Compton's new mayor: 'I see it as a new Brooklyn'". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Mayor Aja Brown delivers 'State of the City' address, Friday". Compton Herald. 5 July 2015. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Hicks, Jonathan (18 March 2014). "Aja Brown: A History-Making Mayor in Compton". BET. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  11. ^ Allen, Nick (26 December 2014). "Straight into Compton: house prices soar as murderous gangs reach truce". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Fellows, Jr., Jarrette (15 July 2015). "Mayor Aja Brown unfurls some surprises at Compton city address". Compton Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "Football: Van Brown Bio". USC Trojans. University of Southern California. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Eric J. Perrodin
Mayor of Compton, California
2013-present
Succeeded by
Incumbent