These are heady times for Inglewood Mayor James Butts. His challenged city stands to be greatly boosted by the arrival of the Rams football team; property values have jumped already and the name “Inglewood” will soon be familiar across America.
Yet he feels slighted.
He is still sore at seeing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti interviewed on ESPN on Jan. 12, the day the National Football League announced the team would return to Los Angeles from St. Louis.
“Eric Garcetti had nothing to do with this project but he was the person who went on the interview,” Butts told the Business Journal. “I don’t think I got enough credit.”
He added that Garcetti’s focus had been on getting the Farmers Field stadium in downtown Los Angeles with Anschutz Entertainment Group and not on the ultimately successful Inglewood bid worked on by him and his team.
Butts said that L.A.’s mayor did acknowledge the Inglewood City Council’s contribution at a Jan. 28 meeting of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but he did not go far enough.
“He spoke obliquely about how this would be for the region, he added it’s been done with no cost to the taxpayers,” Butts said. “Well, we did that.”
Asked if he got enough credit for his work, the Inglewood mayor responded, “Absolutely not. But for now what matters is that people in town know what we accomplished.”
Garcetti’s press secretary Connie Llanos told the Business Journal, “Mayor Garcetti is thrilled to see the return of the Rams to Los Angeles and looks forward to working with Mayor Butts and the city of Inglewood on this exciting new development. Bringing the NFL back will be a huge boost to the economy of the entire greater L.A. region.”
Attempts to return the NFL here had been made for more than two decades by various politicians, developers and tycoons – including the abandoned AEG proposal for a stadium downtown.
In the end, league owners voted to allow the Rams to move to the L.A. market, where the team is ultimately slated to play in a $1.8 billion privately financed stadium to be built on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood.
Butts said he prefers to look forward, not back, and is anticipating a huge economic impact on his city from the stadium.
Inglewood will gain $18.7 million to $28 million in annual revenue over 16 years, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service. Last year’s revenue was almost $227 million, which means the stadium itself will provide about an 8 percent to 12 percent boost to the city’s coffers.
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