Lead Story Local News West Edition

Mayor’s speech to highlight Inglewood’s successes

INGLEWOOD — There will be plenty of good things to talk about April 23 when Mayor James T. Butts delivers his fifth State of the City Address at the Forum, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Working from a theme of “If you don’t believe me, just watch,” Butts is expected to address the major transformation the city has seen in the last four years.

“We have right-sized our work force, tripled our reserves from $11 million to $34 million, brought in MSG to reopen the Forum, adopted the Champion’s Revitalization initiative keeping the timetable for stadium construction on track and engaged in an ambitious infrastructure renewal program,” Butts said while previewing his speech for a reporter.

“These decisions enabled the city of Inglewood to avoid insolvency, balance its budget and add financial stability to the city’s bank account,” Butts added.

“The two largest opportunities in history for the complete economic and social renewal of Inglewood are the re-opening of the Fabulous Forum by Madison Square Garden and the construction of an NFL stadium,” Butts said about a project that is now in the pre-construction planning stage.

Butts plans to speak in detail about the latest developments on the city’s plan for an NFL stadium.

If all things go as planned, the city and its partners will break ground in December for the stadium.

Two weeks ago, Butts met with Eric Grubman, president of business ventures for the National Football League about the possibility of the St. Louis Rams or another NFL team relocating to Inglewood in the near future.

Public safety is also a subject Butts plans to cover in his State of the City talk.

“For five consecutive years, Inglewood has recorded the lowest crime of any five-year period in the history of crime here,” Butts said.

He also will discuss the drought and how it affects Inglewood.

“The city of Inglewood sits atop springs and pumps and processes water for 50 percent of its residents,” Butts said. “When water supplies pumped from Inglewood are insufficient, we buy water from regional sources. Half the city is served by Golden State Water Company. We are blessed to have our own natural water supply under Inglewood. We will attempt to begin construction of a new well” later his year, the mayor said.

The mayor also plans to address the residential sound insulation program, that provides relief for residents from the noise caused by planes flying into and out of Los Angeles International Airport.

“We have gone from completing 70 homes in 2010 to over 1,000 homes for two consecutive 12-month periods,” the mayor said. “Inglewood now has the nation-leading residential sound insulation program.”

He also will discuss infrastructure initiatives and public-private partnerships.

“Our city has leveraged public-private partnerships to improve service, cut costs and generate new revenue,” Butts said. “We have contracted for parking control while continuing to share in enforcement revenue. We have contracted for street sweeping services, and partnered with digital advertising companies to produce new revenue for city services.”

In his very first State of the City address in 2011, Butts said, “If we all work together, Inglewood will achieve the stability, safety, productivity and prosperity that our citizens expect and deserve.”

Four years later, Butts has his sights set on rebranding Inglewood’s image as the new Hollywood Park Tomorrow project becomes reality.

The development to replace the Hollywood Park Race Track involves residential and retail developments in addition to the football stadium.

“The country now sees Inglewood as the city of innovation as we are on our way to becoming a model city for the nation,” Butts said. “Soon Inglewood will be the top destination for the best in entertainment, high-end retail shopping and fine dining. More and more, Inglewood is on target to become the new South Beach of the West,”

The State of the City luncheon is hosted by the Inglewood /Airport Area Chamber of Commerce with sponsorships from local businesses and civic organizations.

Butts said this year’s luncheon will have a different approach. Instead of him addressing the audience, it will have a “Face the Nation” style approach with Fred Roggin, the sports anchor for KNBC-TV, interviewing Butts about topics he is prepared to discuss.

“I am looking forward to addressing Inglewood’s number one stakeholders, the residents,” Butts said. “This is also an opportunity for me to address Inglewood’s business community, civic organizations and our friends in Southern California.”