INGLEWOOD — The city will hold community outreach meetings to address alleged “misinformation” circulating throughout the city regarding ballot Measures H and I, which seek to increase transient occupancy taxes and create a tiered fee schedule related to real estate transfer taxes.
Both measures are on a special election ballot slated for Nov. 2.
“I am reaching out to you directly to correct serious misconceptions regarding transportation plans for your neighborhood,” wrote Mayor James T. Butts in a letter mailed to residents Sept. 15. “Despite our best attempts to gather input and share information with you … public comments make it clear to me that we need to do a better job.”
The city’s residents continue to call in and attend city meetings voicing their displeasure with the lack of clarity regarding significant changes to their quality of life.
The city is spending taxpayer money to promote the special election, seeking to increase taxes, with a portion of the revenue earmarked for the automated people mover to connect the Crenshaw/LAX rail line to the entertainment and sports district along Prairie Avenue.
The city’s campaign page inglewoodnow.org details money from both measures will go towards the people mover. The mayor has defended the city’s “responsibility” to pay for its infrastructure during the regular City Council meeting held October 12.
“Inglewood should receive the same remuneration as other city’s so we can provide greater service for our residents,” Butts said. “We are going to have to invest in public transportation. There is no free lunch.
“When you have the entertainment and the venues we attracted here, you have to upgrade your infrastructure, which is what responsible people do.”
Measure H is projected to raise an additional $730,000 per year, and Measure I is projected to raise $3.5 million. The city has neither disclosed if the funds will be packaged into bonds for the people mover construction costs, nor how much the city projects to receive in advertisement and fares once it opens.
Residents called into the council meeting asking for more information on the ballot measures, with the mayor providing a schedule for when those meetings will be held.
“I’ve been trying to get more information from other sources, outside of the website, and will the city hold meetings for us to come to and get more information and ask questions,” asked one caller.
Meetings will be held at 2 and 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at Rogers Park, at 9 a.m. Oct. 16 at the District 2 Community Center and at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Hollywood Park.
Council members also chimed in on what they also described as “misinformation” at the Oct. 12 City Council meeting with Councilman Alex Padilla being the most vocal about his displeasure.
“We are all going to be doing presentations providing insight and information on the two ballot measures,” Padilla said. “There’s a lot of misinformation, what I would call blatant lies, from our detractors and no matter how good our city is doing, there are folks out there that just want to lie.”
Many residents have voiced their displeasure at having to pay for the infrastructure costs related to the people mover, with several residents posting their ballots on social media, while urging residents to vote against the proposed tax increases.
“Vote no on any new taxes, spread the word,” wrote Gon Cisco.
“The city chose to take on paying a lot to show ads and mailers of a one-sided narrative instead of just the standard neutral voting information that shows pros and cons side by side of the items to be voted on,” wrote Janell Williams, on the city’s social media account. “It’s totally understandable that people would have questions and dismissing those that don’t agree is inappropriate.”
Residents have begun receiving ballots and have until Nov. 2 to cast their votes.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at email@example.com.