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By Veronica Mackey


A three-year exclusive negotiations deal between the City of Inglewood and the Los Angeles Clippers to eventually build a new basketball arena has been met by the Forum with a claim for damages. The claim, for an unspecified amount, was filed July 21. 


Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, and attorney for Madison Square Garden (MSG), which owns the Forum, said his client was tricked into giving up their lease on a parcel of City-owned property.  MSG later learned that land was offered in a deal between the City and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.  The proposed arena would be located on Century Blvd., across from the NFL stadium now under construction.


“It’s true,” Mayor James Butts told sports commentator Fred Roggin.  “We got a claim for damages, and for the moment, Madison Square Garden is a little unhappy with our plans to negotiate with the Clippers, to potentially develop a project.”  


Butts denies the City pulled any bait-and-switch maneuvers, as MSG has claimed.


“There is no bait-and-switch,” Butts said.  “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.  Why would we want to harm them?”


The Daily Breeze reported that “The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” according to Putnam.  The damage claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.  There is no written proof of what was said.  However MSG contends that” its approved contract states the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.”


When Roggin said the Forum is concerned that having an arena in Inglewood could hurt business, the mayor dismissed the idea.


“First of all,” Butts said, “It’s a basketball arena.  They’re a concert arena.  The reality is there are ways they can work in a reciprocal fashion, where there would be no harm done.”


The mayor 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.


“Are you saying they don’t have the legal grounds?” Roggin asked.


“If you have a cause for action…you don’t send stuff to the newspapers.  You talk to your partner.  We have been a partner.


“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.”


In 2014, the Forum re-opened under new ownership and with a $100 million investment.  By June 2016, the Forum had twice as many bookings as Staples.  With regard to the Clippers, Butts said the City is being vetted to confirm that it owns the land.  Once legal ownership is confirmed and no contamination is found, environmental reviews will be conducted.  Then, the City of Inglewood will enter into a development agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers.  The Clippers’ lease with Staples Center will be up in 2024.


Last week, the Inglewood City Council, City Successor Agency and the Inglewood Parking Authority reaffirmed the decision to enter into an Exclusive Negotiations Agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers.  All bodes are comprised of the Mayor and Council members.



By Veronica Mackey


Local businessman Frank Denkins has been in the office furniture business for more than 2 decades, supplying much needed furniture as well as jobs within L.A.’s black community.  I worked for him in 1994, when I was pregnant with my second child, now 22.  


He was around 60 then, and one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met.  He was proud of his business and the people he was blessed to help, and it showed.   It was there that I learned the difference between mahogany, walnut and cherry wood. 


That was at his old location on La Cienega, where he spent 14 years, running his shop with wife Rosemary. 


Recently Denkins announced he would be retiring and closing the doors at L.A. Office Furniture on Crenshaw, just north of Inglewood, by mid July.  He told the Sentinel he is saying good bye after enduring a bad economy, leasing issues and multiple location changes.  


If Denkins is anything, he’s a survivor.  As the only known black owner of an office furniture store in L.A. he’s also a history maker.  


Denkins was a real life “George Jefferson” in the 1970s and 1980s—having owned 12 dry cleaners, including one in Inglewood at Manchesteer and 5th Avenue. 


At 82 years young, the serial entrepreneur says he plans to devote leisure with his wife and teach others how to succeed in business.  Having a strong work ethic and realizing there are no shortcuts is the message he wants to share—especially to black entrepreneurs.  


Passing on his years of wisdom seems the most natural step to take after a near lifetime of entrepreneurship.  Best wishes on your retirement, Frank.  And thanks for never giving up!




GOP Fails to Vote on Repeal Measure.


872 Efforts by Republican Senate leaders to repeal ObamaCare was met with strong opposition on Tuesday by members of their own party.  There seems no clear path forward now.


President Donald Trump said perhaps the best thing do to is to let ObamaCare “fail” and start over again.


The plan would essentially repeal ObamaCare and replace it later—possibly leaving 23 million people without coverage.


The Senate is short of desperately needed Republican votes, including 3 women senators—Susan  Collins (R-Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).


“I said back in January that if we’re going to do a repeal, there has to be a replacement. There’s enough chaos and uncertainty already,” Murkowski told reporters.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was one of the plan’s earliest critics. In a July 12 statement, he said:


"Now too many Republicans are falling all over themselves to stuff hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars into a bill that doesn’t repeal ObamaCare and feeds Big Insurance a  huge bailout."


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried unsuccessfully to get Republicans on board even before the July 4th weekend, but vowed to get the job done.


According to a poll, 60% of Americans favor ObamaCare and 40% think it should be replaced.  GOP leaders who have held town halls recently are getting plenty of complaints from constituents on their handling of the healthcare bill.  Citizens are also voicing their discontent by bombarding senator’s offices.


Lawmakers running for re-election in 2018 have to consider voting for a bill that is unpopular with constituents, or they could be voted out.  This is another reason some Republicans are refusing to vote.


“Most of us have held political office for a fair time now. We know how to explain our votes to our voters back home, to whom we are accountable. But if you don’t vote, nobody is accountable, and everybody can blame each other for the outcome,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) explained on the Senate floor Tuesday.


Those frustrated by Republicans’ inability to draft passable legislation say it’s time to move on to other issues like immigration and tax reform.  Even President Trump indicated healthcare is a lower priority for him than tax reform.








On July 20, ex-football star, actor and inmate at Lovelock Correctional Center, OJ Simpson will make a long awaited appearance in front of a Nevada parole board.  


Simpson, now 70, was convicted in a botched robbery in Las Vegas to steal sports memorabilia that he says belonged to him.  He was charged with armed robbery and kidnapping, and has been behind bars since 2007.


But now Bruce Fromong, the only surviving victim in the robbery says he’s willing to forgive and wants to testify on Simpson’s behalf


Fromong told CNN in three phone conversations he plans to travel to Nevada's to advocate for his one-time friend's release. "I never thought that the crime deserved that much time, that long of a sentence," he said.  The dealer also said he looked forward to playing golf again with the former football great.


The Nevada Parole Board has declined to comment on whether or not Fromong is to testify at the hearing.


 Simpson will appear before 4 parole board commissioners.  If there is a split in the voting, 2 additional commissioners will be called in.  Four out of the 6 would be required to vote in favor of his parole before Simpson could be released.  If there is another split vote, parole will be denied for 6 months and a subsequent hearing will be held in January 2018.  If granted parole, Simpson could be released as early as October 1.


Some 13 years earlier, Simpson dominated headlines when he was charged with the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson her friend Ron Goldman.  He was acquitted of all charges in 1995, and led a relatively private life until the robbery.  


Although he won the criminal case, the Simpson and Goldman families filed and won civil lawsuits and Simpson was ordered to repay $33.5 million in damages. Simpson’s home and pension are exempt from the suit, however his football trophies and other pieces were sold as part of the settlement.  Goldman got Simpson’s coveted Heisman trophy and sold it at auction for 230,000.


At his sentencing hearing, Simpson argued that he was attempting to get family heirlooms and personal items back from memorabilia dealers, including Fromong. Simpson said he did not know his associates were armed.


By Veronica Mackey


The July 17 birthday of Kisha Michael, a woman shot and killed by Inglewood police, brought new fervor among her supporters at Tuesday’s council meeting.  They held up photos of Kisha and her friend Marquintan Sandlin, also killed, during the meeting.  On July 17, supporters say they attended a birthday party in honor of Kisha and her twin sister Patricia, who is still  alive.


The group, who have been attending council meetings weekly since February, are demanding answers and “reparations” for Michael’s and Sandlin’s 7 children.  Mayor James Butts and members of the Inglewood City Council has been just as persistent telling them there is nothing they can provide because the County District Attorney is still investigating the case.


“You have evidence that this was murder, clear and simple.  If there was one minute of tape that exonerated officers…you would have shown that.  You wouldn’t hesitate,” a man said.


Other speakers accused the council of not having a “heart.”


Mayor Butts has repeatedly said they should contact the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, and the City Council does not have the access or authority to release details or footage regarding the shootings.  So far the 5 police officers involved have terminated their employment with the City.  It is not clear if they were all fired or resigned.  


Erick Holly, president of the Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce responded to the remarks:  “This is getting ridiculous.  They’ve been told many times that this needs to be handled downtown.  No one has gone downtown, they keep coming here. The family is moving forward with their lives.”


Councilman Alex Padilla also responded to the remarks:  “The D.A. is doing their own investigation.  It’s very tedious, they have to be done right the first time.  The council is not trying to hide anything.  It’s a process that we have to go through.  You can continue to come and we will continue to tell you that we don’t have the information.”  


He then commended the Inglewood Police Department for recently apprehending a suspect and recovering a handgun.


“For folks who come from outside the city, there are things they can point at, but we are responsible for our city,” Councilman Eloy Morales said in reference to the protestors.  “Remember, when everyone leaves the meeting  we live here.”


“Councilman Padilla and I have, collectively, 69 years of law enforcement experience,” Mayor James Butts said.  “We have a lot of experience dealing with tragedies that occur.  In life, there are processes to deal with—good and bad …The council (is not) privy to certain material.  We could not release material to you if we had it. 

“Councilman George Dotson invited the public to attend his “Family Day in the Park,” which is being held July 30 in conjunction with “Taste of Inglewood.”  The family day will be held at Edward Vincent Park, at Florence and Centinela.


Council members approved:


•An agreement for the City of Inglewood’s Main Library Ceiling Tiles Restoration project


•A two-year maintenance agreement (with the option to extend for one additional year) with Xerox Corporation for the maintenance of 49 copiers


•An agreement with Giga Kom to replace the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) for the Inglewood Public Library


•A resolution ratifying appointments to the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) made by various member cities: 


•The City of Hawthorne re-appointed Mr. Jay Fowler, General Manager of Republic Services, and Ms. Patricia Donaldson, Owner of Active Security Solutions, Inc.; The City of Redondo Beach re-appointed Mr. Bob, Owner of HCD Incorporated; The City of Manhattan Beach re-appointed Mr. Joe Ahn, Division Manager of Government Relations and Public Affairs at Northrop Grumman Corporation;  The City of Carson appointed Ms. Tami Lorenzen-Fanselow, President of F.C.L. Logistics, Ltd.: The City of Lawndale re-appointed Ms. Ruthi Davis, Economic and Community Development representative; The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor re-nominated Mr. Ed de Brito, Apprenticeship Director for the Southern California Cement Masons; The Los Angeles County Community Action Board re-nominated Dr. Lance Williams, Community Action Board member; and The City of Hermosa Beach appointed Mr. Ray Diab, Manager at Restaurant Poulet Du Jour. All positions will expire between June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2021.   


•Morales nominated and Butts appointed Alfonoso Hernandez, Jr. to the Inglewood Youth Commission.


•An ordinance was adopted, approving secured property tax rates for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2017


•The meeting was closed in memory of Loystein Irving, who passed away recently.  She was a member of the Inglewood School Board from 1991-2003, President of the 2nd Avenue Block Club and also served in the church community.







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