Mayor defends special election tax measures and stadiums

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By 2UrbanGirls

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — Mayor James T. Butts Jr. clarified the city’s position on taking the lead on costs associated with addressing the construction of an automated people mover that will connect riders from the Crenshaw/LAX rail line to The Forum, SoFi Stadium and the Intuit Dome, which will become the home of the Los Angeles Clippers, once built.

The mayor acknowledged hearing resident’s concerns that funds from the upcoming special election will be used towards the construction of the people mover.

“I want to go over Measures H because some people are confused,” Butts said. “The 1.5% increase on the transient occupancy tax for hotels, puts us even with Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles, and the tax is paid by people who stay in hotels.”

“The other is a real estate transfer tax fee which would increase from 55 cents per $1,000 to $1.75 per $1,000 if your home sells for lets say $1.2 million,” Butts said. “The tax levy would be $2,200 instead of the $660 we are currently getting. Which is about a $1,600 increase.”

Butts said single-family homes are not currently going for $1.2 million. Those prices are for commercial properties and multi-family home transactions, and the transfer tax is negotiated to be paid by either the buyer, seller or both.

“This is not a property tax, it is a fee that is levied on a property sold for over $1.1 million, which would generate an estimated $3.5 million annually for the city,” Butts said.

Butts then explainined how the city is working towards addressing traffic.

“We’re really working hard to prepare for the future, as it pertains to traffic, and are working very hard to build a people mover that will connect to the Crenshaw/LAX line at Florence [Avenue] and Market Street,” he said. “It’s about a billion dollar project.”

Documents within the staff report for the tax measures indicate that some of those funds will be used towards construction costs for the people mover.

“Will the funds from Measures H and I be used towards building the people mover,” asked Rick Jones, during a City Council meeting.

“Revenues generated by Measures H and I are not dedicated to a specific project and will enter the city’s general fund to support essential services,” the city’s social media team responded.

Residents are publicly commenting on sponsored social media posts related to the two tax measures, that they would vote “no,” believing the cost should be paid by Rams owner Stan Kroenke or Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, since the perception is the people mover is solely for the use of people attending events at The Forum, SoFi Stadium or the Clippers new arena.

Butts said residents arguments that the venues should pay for the transit connector are “misguided.”

“It’s the responsibility of the municipality to deal with its infrastructure because it goes on the public right of way, and will be in play 365 days a year, to deal with the blessings and riches we have worked ourselves into,” Butts said. “Mature adults handle their responsibility and the council is handling its responsibility.”

Butts stopped short of stating the funds raised from the taxes would go towards paying for the transit connector.

“We’ve made Inglewood what it is, and now we have to take the steps to make sure its sustainable,” the mayor said. “For each of these projects, an environmental impact report was done stating we have plenty of capacity on our roadways, and we want to do better than that.”

The EIR released in late 2019 found the Clippers’ proposed arena would contribute to a “significant and unavoidable” increase in traffic, noise and pollutants. The increased traffic from major events may even lead to slower travel times for emergency vehicles trying to access nearby Centinela Hospital Medical Center, according to the report.

The Clippers and Inglewood released a traffic mitigation plan which promised to improve traffic signal timing, restripe roadways, widen offramps, replace medians with turn lanes and build a pedestrian foot bridge over Prairie Avenue.

The report found there will be a significant impact to intersections and freeways during most of the venue’s events, regardless of any improvements. Clippers games and concerts, when no other events are happening in the area, will affect 42 intersections during the weekday and 26 intersections during the weekend. The area expands to include at least two dozen more streets if The Forum, or SoFi Stadium, are having an event as well.

Several maps are in circulation related to the proposed route of the automated people mover. However, the version on the state’s environmental quality act website shows no stop at the Clippers arena.

“We want Inglewood to be the most desirable location possible for people to come to because they know they can get in and out,” Butts said.

2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at 2urbangirls@gmail.com.

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