A coalition financed by Hollywood Park Land Co., which launched a petition drive for an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, has completed its first milestone in record time.
The official kickoff, held Jan. 10 at Faithful Central Bible Church, sent signature gatherers throughout the streets of Inglewood, asking registered voters to support a shiny new stadium. By Jan. 26, more than 20,000 signatures had been obtained. Inglewood Police Oversight Commissioner Adrianne Sears said it was not a hard sell.
“People were so excited. When I told them about it, they’d say, ‘A stadium in Inglewood? I’m in.’ As soon as I told them it wasn’t coming out of their pockets, they’d say ‘Yes, I’m in.’”
Signatures were gathered at shopping centers, grocery stores, restaurants and other key spots around town, with a large chunk coming from the crowds celebrating Martin Luther King Day. Sears said job creation and 100% private funding inspired voters to sign on the dotted line.
“We get the benefits of improved infrastructure, and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue going to the City, at no cost. I’ll take that all day long,” Sears said.
It has not been confirmed yet whether St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke would move his team to Inglewood, but he has purchased 60 acres adjacent to the Hollywood Park site.
“It was a treat to see folks walk to a petition table, excited about what this means for the community,” said D'Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D., Executive Director, Social Justice Learning Institute and spokesperson for Citizens for Revitalizing the City of Champions. Scorza said civic engagement in getting the initiative on the ballot offers Inglewood residents a rare opportunity: “It’s not often when a person who believes in our democracy can get to experience how the process works (personally) and express their voice.”
Scorza, who has been involved in other ballot initiatives, said “We always had to work hard, but the response in this community has been overwhelming.”
Mayor James Butts agrees: "The overwhelming support for the stadium demonstrated by the 22,000-plus signatures for the initiative petition was reflected by the vocal affirmation of community stakeholders last night at the City Council meeting. Our residents by a large majority support moving this project forward quickly."
The initiative could be on the ballot as early as this summer. However, City Clerk Yvonne Horton said it is too early to predict a date when residents would vote. According to Horton, approximately 8,400 verified signatures are needed to put the initiative on the ballot. That figure represents nearly 40% of registered Inglewood voters. “The County (Los Angeles) received the signatures on Monday, Jan. 26, and they have already started the verification process,” she said.
“It’s great when you can help generate this vision of the ‘New Inglewood,’ and see how it’s playing out nationally,” Scorza said.
With residents clearly fired-up about getting the stadium initiative on the ballot, is a boost in Inglewood’s voter registration likely?
“I am very hopeful that this will bring folks out to register, and not just register, but vote,” Horton said.