By Veronica Mackey
Opposition over having an NBA basketball arena built in Inglewood again dominated the discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting during open remarks.
A man from Uplift Inglewood—the coalition against the arena—said he was speaking “in support of homes before arenas.” He said Uplift has proposed that the land (at the south side of Century Blvd. and Prairie Avenue) be used for “true community investments.”
A woman said she was told that the land was not suitable for housing because it is located directly within a flight path, but the City “has not produced any evidence” to support the claim.
Another woman pointed out that Hollywood Park, across the street from the site, had its zoning ordinance changed to allow developers to build residential units. “If the City can do that for a site across the street, it can do it again,” she said.
Long term resident Ray Davis said, “I want us to get the most for whatever we possess. Uplift Inglewood probably has multi-millionaires supporting it. Have them buy the land and they can build whatever. What was that song by War? ‘Where was you at?’ Where was you at 5 years ago? 8 years ago?”
Community activist Stuart Bailey said, “We are not going to build houses on a place that is underneath a flight path. You can sue, but it’s not going to happen. The Clippers are coming. Deal with it.”
A woman argued that a bakery, a theatre development group and a YMCA wanted the city-owned land, but were denied.
Councilman Ralph Franklin called that comment “misinformation.” He said the proposed developers wanted public funds to build on the land.
“A lot of people wanted something for nothing,” Mayor James Butts said. “But the city is not in the business of giving away public funds. To say (you want housing) on parcels, that no one cared about until we got into this agreement, is disingenuous… For years, this land has generated no property taxes or revenue. Our schools are funded by the property taxes through the state.”
“The land was not making the City a dime. So where was this Uplift Inglewood then? The council is not going to put anything on that land that’s not going to bring any benefit to the City of Inglewood,” Franklin said..
“We have interests working against the best interest of this city. They would have you think affordable housing is free,” Butts added. “But someone has to put up the money for the developer [to build] at a lower rate. The city put $13 million in redevelopment bond money for the Regent project. That’s the way the city can make it affordable. We just broke ground on PATH Villas. The City put money up for it.”
On another note, Councilman George Dotson thanked Chris Jackson for attending the 6th Ave. Block Club meeting with him. Councilman Alex Padilla also went to a block club meeting in his second district, and thanked the Inglewood police department.
The council approved:
•Participation in the Medicare health program for retired City employees, hired prior to March 1986
•City sponsorship of the 11th Annual Open Studios Tour (shuttle service, purchasing and hanging of promotional signage)
•An agreement with Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, West Los Angeles to receive grant funds in the amount of $5,000 for the BE WELL Exercise and Weight Management Program
•A Quitclaim Deed for the City of Inglewood’s water easements for the property located at 600 South Prairie Avenue
•A three-year agreement for ongoing monitoring, analyses, and comprehensive performance compliance standards related to Inglewood’s agreement with Consolidated Disposal Service, and compliance with the State of California mandates
•Agreements for the City’s Residential Sound Program to receive architectural and engineering design, and acoustic testing services
A salary ordinance for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 was introduced.
Councilman George Dotson was granted City sponsorship of his annual District 1 Annual Christmas Toy Drive Celebration on Dec. 7 from 6-8pm at St. Mary’s Academy.
A claim by the Forum (MSG Forum LLC), filed July 18, 2017, was denied. The Forum alleges that the City of Inglewood breached a contract over its use of city-owned property.
The meeting was closed in memory of the 59 people who died and 500-plus others injured in the tragic Las Vegas mass shooting.