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By Veronica Mackey

 

Last week, Inglewood Today reported that Madison Square Garden (MSG), owner of the Forum, filed a claim for damages against the City of Inglewood.  That claim was followed by a lawsuit, filed July 28 by MSG.

 

MSG says the City’s agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers to negotiate building a new basketball arena is a “clear violation of the City’s Development Agreement” with the Forum. 

 

Inglewood signed a three-year Exclusive Negotiations Agreement (ENA) with the Clippers in June.  It allows the Clippers to negotiate with the City about use of the property, located south of Century Blvd., across the street from the new football stadium, now under construction.  The team agreed to pay Inglewood $1.5 million for city expenses.

 

Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, and attorney for MSG, said his client was tricked into giving up their lease on the parcel of City-owned property.  

 

 “The City made it extremely clear that it wanted the land back for a technology park that would serve as a kind of Silicon Beach for Inglewood. We agreed to give back the land based on that understanding,” Putnam said in a statement.  He continued, “We were absolutely stunned when, two months later, the City announced its deal with the Clippers.” 

 

The proposed 20,000-seat arena would be privately funded by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and would be built less than 2 miles from the Forum.  MSG contends that the proposed venue would  hurt business. Adding to the dispute is the fact that Madison Square Garden owns the New York Nicks basketball team. 

 

Major James Butts defended the City’s right to use its own property, and denied that it pulled any bait-and-switch maneuvers, as MSG has claimed.

 

Butts told sports radio host Fred Roggin last week, “There is no bait-and-switch.  This is City-owned land, and we have every right to develop it, and we aren’t doing anything to harm the Forum.  The Forum is our number one source of tax revenue.” 

 

According to sources, there is no written proof of what was said between MSG and the City.  However, MSG says its approved contract specifies the City would not use the land for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.

 

Butts said the proposed arena would be used for basketball, and the Forum is the number one concert venue in Southern California.  

 

“The reality is there are ways they can work in a reciprocal fashion, where there would be no harm done,” the mayor said.

 

He added, “It’s a false narrative to believe that the Staples Center, which is 20 minutes away, is no threat to them, but a basketball arena a mile and a quarter away is.”

 

The Inglewood City Council, City Successor Agency and the Inglewood Parking Authority voted unanimously again on July 21to keep its existing Exclusive Negotiations Agreement

with the Clippers.  

 

 “We still cherish our relationship. It’s (Forum) still the number one concert venue in Southern California.  We’re having a little disagreement now with regard to the City’s right to self-determination, which we maintain.  We will always have our right to self-determination.”

 

If the Clippers decides to build a new arena in 2020 and is not legally barred from doing so after the 3-year agreement with the City ends, the team will continue to play at Staples Center until its lease is up in 2024.

 

In 2012, Inglewood gave MSG an $18-million commercial rehabilitation loan. The debt was forgivable only if the company spent an initial $50 million on Forum improvements.  The Forum re-opened with a $100 million investment in 2014

 

 

 

 

The new $2.6 billion football stadium, currently under  construction in Inglewood, continues to attract new opportunities, although it won’t officially open for another 3 years.

 

In addition to being the future home for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, the venue, to be located at Century and Prairie, will also host the NFL’s Super Bowl in 2022, and opening ceremonies for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.  

 

Now, sources say, billionaire stadium and Rams owner Stan Kroenke has approached Pac 12 execs about bringing the college football championship to Inglewood, when the stadium opens in 2020.  The Oakland Raiders organization has also reached out to the Pac 12 about hosting the games in Las Vegas.  A new stadium is being built there for the Raiders when the team relocates.  That stadium is also expected to open in 2020.  

 

Both cities are in the running for the decision after 2019.  For now, the Pac-12 title games will remain at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, where they have been held since 2014.  Levi’s Stadium is the home of the San Francisco 49ers. 

 

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament is currently held in Las Vegas. But the tournament was previously played in Los Angeles at Staples Center from 2002 until 2012.

 

The conference announced last week that it had reached an extension for the Northern California stadium to continue hosting the title game through the 2019 season, which includes an option for 2020. 

 

Larry Scott, Pac-12 conference commissioner, said “It’s exciting to be in a part of the country where there’s going to be these big investments in new, state-of-the-art NFL venues …but that’s down the road. We’re in the right place for us now.”

 

The Pac-12 Conference is a collegiate athletic conference that operates in the Western United States, participating in 22 sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its football team’s 12 members are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  California teams include UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley, and Stanford.

 

 

Thank you Inglewood!  When Inglewood Today launched its “Best of Inglewood” contest last week, I felt we had a winner.  But the results have already exceeded my expectations.  I am more excited now about this promotion than ever before.  

 

The many emails and phone calls received by enthusiastic readers and businesses, wanting to participate in the prize giving, has been more than great. I can truly say the “Best of Inglewood” is one of the best promotions to help small Inglewood businesses in years. 

 

As I stated in my message last week, we are running a month-long contest, which gives readers an opportunity to vote on our website (www.inglewoodtoday.com) for the best businesses in the city of Inglewood.  We are asking readers to nominate and vote for their favorite local businesses.  Everyone who votes is automatically entered into a drawing to win prizes.  Each week, up to 5 people will be selected in the drawing.  

 

This contest provides an opportunity to really shine a light on our diverse group of merchants and encourage more people to keep their hard earned dollars within the community. Business owners should be congratulated for being selected to participate in this contest.  Also, kudos to readers for nominating some of the best quality businesses in the South Bay. 

 

The incentive to increase voter participation by offering prizes has created quite a bit of response—so much that the contest is attracting more sponsors and bigger prizes. For example, I received a call just today to offer a weekly cash prize of $100.  Other prizes include pizza for a year and a Metro TAP card good for 7 days.

 

If you own a business, put your “best” foot forward by telling all of your customers about this exciting contest.  Tell them to vote for you and give them the web address:  www.inglewoodtoday.com.

 

If you have not yet voted, head on over to the site and vote for your favorite Inglewood restaurant, barber, dentist, etc.  Thank you for participating.

 

LAX Job Fair Set for August 1

Thursday, July 27, 2017

LAX Job Fair Set for August 1

 

LAX is embarking on an ambitious program in support of our $14 billion capital improvement program. Our mission requires a skilled workforce that maximizes the employment of qualified local persons residing within the LAX area.  HireLAX is the pathway to cultivating that skilled labor force to meeting our construction program’s labor demand

 

Union Construction Apprenticeship & Job Fair

 

Thursday, August 1 2:30pm at LAX must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license or ID, Social Security Card.

 

sign up at https://hirelax08-01-2017.eventbrte.com

 

Eligible hirees must lie in the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Lennox or Los Angeles.

 

Union representatives and contractors will be on site to answer questions and provide the next steps.

 

 

By Veronica Mackey

 

Tuesday’s meeting began with 3 public hearings.  The first was held to consider an ordinance amending the Inglewood Municipal Code to establish Permit Parking District No. 15, adding to the District: Ivy Avenue (between Beach Avenue and La Brea Avenue); Market Street (between Hazel Street and Beach Avenue); and Edgewood Street (between Beach Avenue and Warren Lane). There are currently 14 parking districts—13 residential and 1 commercial.  

 

A woman who lives on Beach Avenue wants to be able to park in front of her building, but cannot.   “People are parking in the red and blocking the driveway.  When we come out of the driveway,  it’s hard to see what’s coming.  They are saving parking spaces for other people.   They are eating lunch and throwing their trash around.”

 

The second hearing was held to amend an ordinance to create Permit Parking District No. 16 by adding to the District: Regent Street between west of Oak Street, and the street terminus to the west.

 

“A lack of adequate parking is attributed to a roadway culminating in a cul-de-sac.  It has also increased vagrancy and loitering on the street,” said Pubic Works Director Louis Atwell. 

 

A resident, Cindy Williams, who spearheaded the request for permitted parking, said “We have been having homeless people parking there with their mobile homes, doing things in their vehicles, and they need to find another place to do it. As a home owner, I feel if you park there, you should live there.”

 

The third hearing, for the Housing, Section 8, And CDBG Department Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, was held to receive public comments on the issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds by the California Public Finance Authority to finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of the Good Shepherd Homes Apartments. 

 

A department staffer explained:  “The public has the authority to be heard prior to public issues of tax exempt bonds.  The bonds will be used for acquisition and rehabilitation of homes.  Our staff recommends the bonds be issued because it’s in line with expanding affordable housing in the city.”

Councilmembers approved:

 

•The proposed social media policy to provide parameters for staff and the public who utilize various City social media sites 

 

•An amendment to an agreement with Lance Soll & Lunghard LLP for professional auditing services  

 

•A resolution effecting modification to the terms and conditions of employment for employees represented by the Inglewood Police Management Association 

 

•A resolution approving the use of $375,000 in Asset Forfeiture funds for various Police Department expenditures, and amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget to include the funds

 

•A cooperative purchase agreement (piggy-back) with Pure Technologies US, Inc., dba Wachs Water Services 

 

•Award of a professional services contract to Fuscoe Engineering, Inc., to design the Storm Drain Improvement Project Phase 

 

•The amended Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Salary Ordinance to include the Inglewood Police Management Association negotiated salary increases 

 

A resident with her arm in a sling claimed she was attacked recently by a man walking from the Forum.  “The police didn’t do anything,” she said.  “I had surgery and my family is going through a lot.  I feel discriminated from the police,” she said sobbing.  

 

After some discussion, it was revealed that Councilman Alex Padilla contacted the police department after last week’s meeting.  “They have reached out to you, but unfortunately, they said they haven’t heard back from you,” Padilla said.

 

“You’re going to have to cooperate with them.  They’re trying to reach you, so just call back,” Mayor James Butts said.

 

Inglewood business owner Julie Hatter complained about poor lighting in the Locust Street parking lot.  “I have college interns, and they’re afraid.  There are no lights in the parking lot, off Market Street.”  She said there were “sketchy” looking people around Market Street, and she didn’t feel safe.   Mayor Butts said the parking lot will soon be renovated and include updated lighting.

 

After being serenaded with a birthday song by Willie Agee, Councilman George Dotson thanked everyone who sent him well wishes by phone, email and social media.  “I appreciate all of that.  Thank you very much,” he said.

 

Padilla commented further about the importance of communication between residents and council members:

 

“Whenever someone does approach us about their concerns, we’re pretty good about getting back to folks. We also encourage you to reach out. You don’t have to wait until a council meeting.”  The Second District Councilman thanked Atwell for working to resolve parking issues by creating Parking District 15.  

 

Earlier in the meeting, a woman called for the Inglewood Council to provide a fund for surviving children of  Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin, who were killed by Inglewood police.  Padilla said it’s not going to happen.  “Like we can just give public funds to the family. As a council, we’re not in a position to do that.”  Resident Ray Davis said the couple should have had life insurance to provide for their children.

 

Councilman Eloy Morales circled back to the mayor’s comments about an improved downtown Inglewood.   “We’re going to see huge, positive change on Market Street.  We go above and beyond to address issues from residents.  When something happens, our concern is to make sure residents feel safe again,” he said.

 

Mayor Butts reiterated that “the most effective and efficient way to get service is to call the police department.  We have an extraordinary, community sensitive police department.”

 

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