Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. continues to earn every campaign dollar invested in him by Murphy’s Bowl arena. On the June 9th city council agenda there are items up for approval directly related to the Inglewood Basketball Entertainment Center: land usage changes and the “big reveal” on how the city intends to pay for the much needed people mover to connect the Forum, SoFi Stadium and the proposed Clippers arena to the still under construction Crenshaw/LAX rail line.
Mayor Butts has always been adamant that the NFL stadium and NBA arena are privately financed with no investment from the taxpayer which is not true. The city is seeking to submit an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) seeking to create a special tax district to TAX INGLEWOOD RESIDENTS to pay for the construction costs of the people mover.
The accompanying staff report spells out the city is asking to create the Inglewood Transportation Management Community Services District (ITMCSD) where the jurisdictional boundaries are coterminous (having the same boundaries or extent in space, time, or meaning) with the city’s boundaries. If approved by the city council and LAFCO, Inglewood residents will be abe to vote on “reducing traffic in their neighborhood”.
Project manager of both the SoFi Stadium project and proposed Clippers arena, Gerard McCallum, of Wilson Meaney, was installed on the LAFCO commission presumably to lobby the other commissioners for a favorable vote.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer threw Mayor Butts the proverbial “Hail Mary” by purchasing the Forum, to ward off multiple lawsuits pertaining the proposed arena. The purchase also silenced Butts’ former assistant, Melanie McDade, who was presumed to be filing a sexual harassment claim against him.
2UrbanGirls contacted DOJ spokesperson Thom Mrozek to ascertain the status of a federal investigation into the city of Inglewood’s trash contract and shared his office neither confirms nor denies the existence of any investigation. It was reported by the Los Angeles Times that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office misplaced the file related to their investigation on the same subject.
Mayor Butts has always maintained the feds have told him their investigation was close, however, that has never made it into print.
Mrozek has never been able to confirm or deny that such a conversation has taken place.
The council agenda will also cover the city’s intention to reopen the Section 8 waiting list in July of this year and as usual the accompanying staff reports contain peculiar versions of City Manager Artie Fields’ signature and the revelation that Isabel Soto has assumed duties as the departments Acting Assistant Manager despite not possessing a college degree. It is unknown what happened to the previous Assistant Manager Teresa Sanford. The reopening of the Section 8 is due to the fact that the city received funding under the CARES Act to do so.
The city will begin making preparations to create the Housing Protection Department (HPD) by hiring a software developer, 3Di, Inc. in the amount of $471,254. Several inquiries were made to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) related to the increased “fees” that many residents are arguing is actually a tax.
Property owners have increased annual registrations fees from $20 per unit to $84 per unit for properties with 1 – 4 units and $168 per unit with properties having 5+ units.
“Why, for one, do some units pay double? How is rent control in buildings with 5 or more units twice as costly to administer?” said HJTA Staff Attorney Laura Dougherty. “If there is no basis for this doubling, that is a violation of the last paragraph of Proposition 26. And why is rent control administration that much more expensive than code enforcement?”
The city provided a spreadsheet detailing the costs to run the HPD which doesn’t include costs for either code enforcement or billing services. Instead it includes line items for a social media manager and his assistant? Will they be flying drones over our homes and videoing us?
Councilman Ralph Franklin cautioned this department will only exist for five years, which is the length of Mayor Butts’ rent protection ordinance and it would appear the city is using this opportunity to create a temporary revenue stream, to fund positions, that they wouldn’t normally have the funds to cover the costs due to the anticipated revenue shortfall.
Which brings us to the final agenda item of importance: the city’s mid-year budget presentation.
The budget presentation details revenue brought in between October 1, 2019- March 31, 2020. Revenue received is nearly 50% of the total budget. Revenue exceeded revenue brought in during the same time period in FY 2018-2019.
The budget department cautions that due to the COVID-19 pandemic revenue will be drastically reduced for year end and will also affect the FY 2020-2021 budget which relied heavily on the opening of SoFi Stadium in July.