Residents have been led astray by members of the Inglewood City Council since the election of Mayor James T. Butts Jr. in 2011.
According to a recenlty published article by Urban Land Institute, it has been the mayor’s plan all along to gentrify the City by bringing an NFL team to Inglewood.
When James T. Butts was elected mayor in 2011, he set out to attract an NFL team to Inglewood and to build a new stadium on the Hollywood Park location.Inglewood’s Transformation: How an NFL Stadium Brought the City Back from the Brink of Bankruptcy
The City led residents to believe the relationship between Butts and Stan Kroenke was “organic” when it was publicly announced in January 2015 that residents would be invited to sign a petition to put an NFL stadium on the ballot.
What wasn’t told to residents was that the then City Clerk Yvonne Horton opened her office to Melvin Robert, while the City was closed for its annual two week Christmas holiday to accept his NFL petition for circulation. Robert’s sister Christine, was hired to run community outreach for the project and his son got a job on Spectrum News.
While residents were signing the petition believing it would be placed on the ballot, the members of the city council decided they would bypass voters and approve it themselves.
Once it was approved, residents were promised that the City would be inundated with so much money it would turn our fortunes around. All it did was provide the ability to bring in more police through supplemental law enforcement contracts.
Once construction began on SoFi Stadium it was announced that Steve Ballmer would be builidng a state of the art basketball arena on fallow land. It was alleged he paid upwards of $66 million for the land. Publicly available records show he paid $12 million.
With the announcement of a nearly 70,000 football stadium and a 20,000+ NBA arena less than a mile away, the focus turned to the City’s ability to handle parking and traffic. Then came the idea for a 1.6 mile transit connector that would run from the recently built Metro Crenshaw/LAX rail line, now known at the K-Line, that would run down Market Street, across Manchester Ave. and turn down Prairie Ave bulldozing over four dozen small businesses in the process.
Residents were told none of these projects would use public dollars to build them and then came the whammy that residents would bear the costs of continued maintenance and operations.
The mayor loves to tell the story he saved Inglewood from eminent bankruptcy in 2011, but by 2021 the council declared a fiscal emergency that triggered a special election.
The goal of the special election was to get voters to increase taxes to cover costs of the Inglewood Transit Connector’s ongoing costs. The construction was initially pegged at costing $1.15 billion. That number has now swelled to nearly $3 billion with the City assembling less than a third of that amount through a combination of transportation grants and taxes.
Voters passed one of the proposed tax measures on the November 2021 ballot and rejected the other. The council then passed a motion in June of this year obligating Inglewood residents to cover $10 million towards the ongoing maintenance and operation costs for the transit connector.
Ridership estimates show that 95% of the usage would be on weekends.
According to the mayor, he is still negotiating with the owners of the venues in the Inglewood Sports and Entertainment District (Ballmer and Kroenke) to kick in on those costs since the transit connector is solely for their benefit.
“The mayor is continuing to lead negotiations with the venues for their contributions to operation and maintenance, in consistency with our plans, and the negotiations are ongoing and collaborative,” said Lisa Trifiletti, lead consultant on the ITC project. Public records indicate her consulting firm has generated nearly $20 million in contracts with Inglewood.
The mayor’s ambitious all but removes the voices of the residents as he single handedly selects residents and organizations that are used as the “voice of the community” to ram these projects down our throat to avoid opposition.
“Mayor Butts is unabashedly pro-development,” says Tim Kawahara, executive director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. “He has invited development, but the city has also done a lot of community outreach to ensure that it would include amenities for the city.”
Bullshit! Half the time the public has no opportunity to weigh in because meeting are typically held while they are at work. The only meetings held in the evening are Parking & Traffic Commission, Planning Commission and occasional Town Halls for District 4 (Dionne Faulk).
Council Districts 2 (Alex Padilla) and 3 (Eloy Morales Jr.) are nonexistent. Council District 1 (Gloria Gray) holds office hours once a month but are from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – again, while residents are at work.
According to Mayor Butts, gaining community trust is the key to incentivizing development and economic growth. “We have a community that trusts their city council to make decisions with the community’s interest,” he says.
The City disguises community events by paying for us to look the other way. This is achieved with chili cook offs, car shows, concerts, festivals, and the like to keep the residents hypnotized into thinking the City is looking out for our interests. The truth is, the city council is looking out for their campaign donors interest.
The city council just revealed the TRUE construction costs of the Inglewood Transit Connector which have skyrocketed from $1.15 billion to nearly $3 billion. The City has less than $1 billion with a third of that already allocated. They are seeking $1.5 billion from the Federal Transit Administration and if they decline to give it to them where do you think they are going next?
The public can’t tell if the council trusts each other. There is only ONE member of the council who questions agenda items but she’s on shaky ground for breaking the law for sitting in two elected seats.
No, the residents don’t trust the Inglewood City Council further than we can see them.