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City of Inglewood at the Crossroads

downloadI read an interesting op-ed titled “Can Inglewood survive the NFL and gentrification?”  It was written by Erin Aubry Kaplan, a familiar writer from Inglewood, CA.  Her father Larry previously served as a board member for the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD).  She has a long history of being critical of the city and this piece was no different.

Ms. Kaplan and I have a similar story.  Both lifelong residents of Inglewood and concerned about the future of our beloved “City of Champions”.

Our general fund has shrunk considerably since the days of the “Fabulous Forum” operating at full capacity, where three sports teams played.  She further suggests:

the Forum for 30 years with zero effect on Inglewood’s struggling economy and our overall civic fortunes…

Which is not true.  A considerable amount of money was generated from the Forum.  It’s the fiscal and pride hit we took after they left which is the problem.  We are missing:

Admissions Tax 

The General Fund increases 80 cents by every ticket sold at the Forum.

Parking Tax

We also took a hit on the lucrative parking tax for every car parked that accompanied the events.

Property Tax

With Proposition 13 all but guaranteeing that property taxes be locked in at the rates from the 70’s, our general fund is not receiving its full market value.

Madison Square Garden kicked off the resurgence of the city when they agreed to purchase and renovate the historical landmark.  It is no coincidence the Forum ranks as one of the top entertainment venues on the West Coast.  AEG was a huge opponent of the Forum reopening and went on an all out media campaign to discredit our city as an entertainment destination.

Related articleAs the Forum Sells, Staples Gets Nasty about Its New Rival

Ironically, the same website AEG used to pillage us just awarded the City of Inglewood the honor of “Los Angeles Best Neighborhood for 2014”.

Related article:  Inglewood is Los Angeles’s 2014 Neighborhood of the Year

With the Forum reopened and restructured pension and medical obligations, the city leaders have positioned us for a social and economic comeback.  Now our attention turns towards the NFL and the Hollywood Park Tomorrow projects.

Stan Kroenke, who Ms. Aubry points out made his millions developing Walmart’s, has announced to the world he has partnered with the Hollywood Park Tomorrow developers, to bring the stadium to a reality.  The only hurdle is, enough signatures must be gathered (8,000 to be exact) in order to put the initiative on the ballot.  Voters will still need to approve.

Ms. Aubry goes on further to state that the kind of development we need is another voter turnout that fails to approve the project.  She is concerned about gentrification and if the good fortune of the NFL will price out Inglewood residents, particularly renters.  Earlier in her piece she attempts to have it both ways, suggesting that an 80,000 seat stadium and companion nearly 1 million square feet of office and retail space will have zero effect as she (wrongly) opines the Forum did before closing.

The Mayor and the council contend this development is in the best interest of the residents.  My response to that is perhaps it’s time to entertain a discussion on a Rent Control ordinance to ensure that those already living here can remain here.

What will AEG come up with next?

Thoughts?


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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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