Inglewood Mayor James Butts and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer reek of desperation to build a new arena in the city of Inglewood. As the community is being told that a “growing coalition” of support is amassing, it is due to them being paid to support the project not because they actually believe in it.
2UrbanGirls was surprised to receive a phone call, from a respected community member, asking questions about community response to the Clippers arena. They shared they were well versed due to reading this blog, however, they wanted my personal thoughts and to share theirs, off the record.
The call revealed that Murphy’s Bowl, most likely in conjunction with Mayor Butts are paying community faith leaders and stakeholders for their support of the arena. Many have been installed on various city commissions, that don’t meet. Others have received recognition and awards at “Best of Inglewood” ceremony and other businesses may enjoy streamlining of permits issued by the city’s Planning and Building and Safety divisions to keep their doors open. They weren’t being offered money but the person calling them was already paid, most likely on their ability to round up support.
Recently elected Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove touts the “community benefits” the arena will bring to Inglewood and the LA region.
“This is an exciting opportunity to build a world-class environmentally friendly facility in the heart of Inglewood, helping to create thousands of good jobs and improve local services while respecting community interests across the region,” said Assemblywoman Kamlager-Dove, (D-Los Angeles). “AB 987 will help achieve that goal by striking a critical balance, prioritizing the needs of local residents, businesses and the environment. I am encouraged by the overwhelming support for this new Clippers Arena and look forward to working with a team owner who is committed to investing in our community as we work to return an NBA franchise to Inglewood.”
The same promises were made to the community when USC revitalized their prized USC Village. Agreements were signed in 2013 and construction began in 2014.
The community was promised job training and work in construction. Businesses were supposed to benefit and all was gonna be swell once the new Village opened. USC determined that was a lie.
From the article:
Benny Torres worked with a coalition of other community leaders to negotiate the development agreement. As the director of CD Tech, an organization focused on economic development in South Los Angeles, he was part of the Economic Development Coordinating Council formed by the agreement. The committee distributed $300,000 in grant money to provide job training to 120 local workers.
The council, made up of community, university and city leaders, decided that it wanted to focus on providing training for permanent jobs in service, retail, hospitality and maintenance instead of temporary construction jobs.
Target and Trader Joe’s did not respond to inquiries about whether local hiring language was included in their leases.
Local Hiring Of Construction Workers
Initially, hiring the required number of local workers mandated by the agreement proved challenging for USC. In late 2014, USC had fallen behind on its 30 percent local hiring requirement, so the university and general contractor decided to make changes.
Small Business Training
The Village development agreement directed USC to provide small business development training to 40 local businesses like Lindsey’s Petal Pushers Florist.
According to USC records provided to Annenberg Media, the training program closest to the agreement’s requirements trained 14 businesses. Only one of these was located inside the agreement’s definition of “local.”
While USC missed expectations with that program, it reported to the city that other small business training programs that served more than 100 small businesses filled the gap. These businesses were mostly located in Southern California, but also as far away as Auburn, California and Mesa, Arizona.
Once USC Village finally opened, students and the community were in an uproar that long time bike shop, Lil Bill, was being evicted from his space servicing students bikes in favor of a mainstream bike company.
In short, the community was lied to and lawmakers were too, perhaps.
With this Clippers project, Inglewood is hearing the same empty rhetoric and those on the payroll continue to travel to Sacramento citing the need to create jobs. Many of the small business owners making the trek to Sacramento have no real employees of their own. They work their businesses themselves. Will the influx of Clippers related money change that?
After hanging up from my phone call, I was contacted my an Inglewood resident alerting me to possible elder abuse.
From their understanding, senior citizens living in the Regency Towers at 151 N. Locust, are being prepped for a bus ride to Sacramento to pretend to be homeowners in support of the project.
Regency Towers is owned by Saffran & Associates, who has appeared numerous times on the mayor’s campaign contribution forms. Saffran and Associates owns multiple senior living homes in the city of Inglewood and recently acquired the vacant lots next to Broadway Federal Bank on Market St. to develop. They utilize a good portion of the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to build these senior homes.
The seniors have a lot of pull in the city of Inglewood. They were the ones who demanded the city council meeting times be changed to daytime hours after Mayor Butts was elected. They apparently signed a petition to change those meetings yet the numbers on the papers don’t match the number of actual attendees at the 2pm meetings since city council amended the ordinance to remove evening meetings.