Looks like Inglewood has scored another touchdown toward the coveted prize of an NFL stadium. Though nothing is solid yet—except for Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchasing 60 acres of prime Inglewood property adjacent to Hollywood Park and now more than enough signatures for an 80,000-seat stadium to be put on the ballot—City of Champion Initiative insiders are moving full speed ahead.
Less than two weeks ago, dozens of boxes with signed petitions were shipped to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office to be certified. Now enough signatures have been certified in favor of the initiative.
And while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall has made it very clear that no football franchise will move to Inglewood/Los Angeles without NFL approval, for many that seems like a moot point.
According to Mayor James Butts, Inglewood City Clerk Yvonne Horton received boxes of signatures from the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office on Wednesday. More than 16,000 signatures are likely to be good ones according to the number submitted to be certified. This would give developers more than enough signatures needed to build their stadium.
Almost as many signatures were gathered in favor of the initiative, as were all the votes for the entire mayor’s election in Nov. 2014. “If this would have been an election, this would have been a landslide,” Butts said, adding that over 30 percent of registered voters signed the petition.
Voter turnout in Inglewood is typically low, usually between 15 and 20 percent.
At the next scheduled council meeting on Feb. 24, the City will receive certified signatures from the city clerk, along with fiscal and environmental reports from experts. Council members will also hear comments from developers and the public. After comments, the council will either take action or review the comments and postpone action until the March 3 meeting.
“This is a great opportunity for the public to weigh in,” Butts said.
Since Inglewood got the ball rolling on the ballot initiative, and talk began swirling about an NFL stadium, St. Louis has stepped up its game to try and keep the Rams in its hometown, offering to build a 64,000-seat open air, riverfront stadium.
Butts isn’t fazed:
“They want the public to extend bonds for the next 20 to 30 years. They want the NFL team to put in $700 million. They’d have to move a power plant and train tracks. There are too many moving parts. Kroenke’s not going for that (and) nobody in St. Louis is going to vote to bond themselves.”
Meanwhile Magic Johnson wants a place at the table if an NFL does come to the Los Angeles market. The former Lakers star, who owns the Dodgers and the WNBA Sparks, told USA Today, “We helped the Dodgers rebound. . .We’re No. 1 in attendance in baseball; we’ve been that for the last two years. So we know how to take a franchise, elevate it and also sell it to the fans in Los Angeles.”
The public is encouraged to attend the Feb. 24th meeting, where the proposed stadium will be discussed. The meeting starts at 7pm, Inglewood City Hall, on the ninth floor.