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Inglewood was not unlike that of many other Los Angeles area communities prior to the 1960s.  African Americans pursuing better quality schools and other opportunities began to expand westward from what is now known as South Central L.A.   The city has also had to overcome his racist past.


Inglewood was once a hotbed for Ku Klux Klan activity, made famous by the 1922 arrest and trial of 37 men who raided a suspected bootlegger and his family. One of the men killed in the raid was an Inglewood police officer.  The raid led to the shooting death of one of the culprits, an Inglewood police officer. All defendants were found "not guilty.”  The scandal eventually led to the Klan being outlawed in California.  The KKK had a chapter in Inglewood as late as October 1931.


Recounting the migration of African Americans in Inglewood, late Inglewood historian Gladys Waddingham wrote:


"No blacks had ever lived in Inglewood," but by 1960, "they lived in great numbers along its eastern borders. This came to the great displeasure of the predominantly white residents already residing in Inglewood. In 1960, the census counted only 29 'Negroes' among Inglewood's 63,390 residents. Not a single black child attended the city's schools. Real estate agents refused to show homes to blacks. A rumored curfew kept blacks off the streets at night. Inglewood was a prime target because of its [previous] history of restrictions." "Fair housing and school busing were the main problems of 1964. The schools were not prepared to handle racial incidents, even though any that occurred were very minor. Adults held many heated community meetings, since the Blacks objected to busing as much as did the Whites."   In 1969, an organization called "Morningside Neighbors" changed its name to "Inglewood Neighbors" "in the hope of promoting more integration."


The Anglo population dropped from nearly 21 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 1990. By 1983, Inglewood had elected its first black mayor, Edward Vincent.  That trend has continued until this day, with the election of 3 additional African American mayors—Roosevelt Dorn in 1998, Danny Tabor in 2010 and the current mayor, James Butts, in 2011.


According to the 2010 Census, African Americans comprise 43.9% of Inglewood’s population. The Inglewood City Council is 60% African American and 40% Latino. 


The City’s leadership reflects its diverse neighborhoods.  Famous African Americans from Inglewood include Tyra Banks, Lisa Leslie, Paul Pierce, and Omarion.








There is nothing like the possibility of an 80,000-seat sports stadium and entertainment center to get folks excited about their home town.  The proposed City of Champions Initiative—which would expand Hollywood Park Tomorrow—has already gathered more than enough signatures to put it on the ballot.  And the signature drive has barely started. 


In just 3 weeks, Inglewood has secured 22,000 names, and the verification process has already begun.  What would normally take 180 days, was completed in about one-tenth of the time!


The excitement at Tuesday night’s council meeting was palpable.  You could see it on the faces of people who came to the podium voicing support for the stadium.  And you could feel it in the air.  There was applause after each person got up to speak.  People spoke about civic pride as well as job creation and increased tax revenue.  And the fact that no tax payer funds will be used to finance the project makes it that more attractive. 


Equally exciting is the direction the city is taking overall. Civic pride in Inglewood has been on the rise for some time now, as evidenced by record-breaking numbers of people showing up at city events.  Last month’s tree lighting ceremony at the Fabulous Forum, and last week’s Martin Luther King Day celebration drew more people than Inglewood has seen in previous years. 


Residents and outsiders are supporting this city like never before because they know good things are happening here.  Small business owners are seeing the opportunities unfolding and thanking their luck stars that they had the good sense to establish enterprises in this city. 


Inglewood stock has risen in the eyes and minds of residents, as they should.  This is crucial because civic pride is the starting point of successful cities.  If you do not believe in the merits of your own community, no one else will either.  It is not an accident that world-class corporations are investing here.  They are sensing that Inglewood offers an ideal environment for explosive growth—mild weather, close freeway access, diverse neighborhoods, lower crime and housing prices that are still affordable. 


Having a strong leadership, with multiple, recent successes, certainly helps build a strong foundation as well.  With all of the successes of 2014 alone—Forum reopening, selected as a Special Olympics host city, deficit reduction by more than half, and groundbreakings on billion-dollar projects—what we are experiencing is not a fluke.  This success is real and it is now.  So take it all in.  Relish it and know that good things really do happen and nothing is too good to be true.






Inglewood High School Gets A Makeover

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Students, faculty, parents, and city officials grabbed shovels, paint brushes, and brooms as Inglewood High School hosted a day of school pride and campus beautification for the 2015 school year.


Inglewood High School principal, Jose Gallegos said, “Today is our beautification day, but it’s really more than that, we’re inviting the community to become owners of their school.  So, we’re asking them to come help, paint, clean, visit, and see what we have here at Inglewood High School. We’re headed in a new direction, and one of our directions is to make sure that everybody in this beautiful community is part of our school.


Councilman Eloy Morales added, “We have 200 students out here spread out around the campus doing everything from painting to planting, to pulling out weeds, to picking up trash and giving it a face lift. I have to say, we’re so proud of the students who are out here because this is a moment in time in their school where they can look around and see what needs to be done, and help do it. I think it’s a moment of pride for the students who are out here doing the work.”


Students along with councilman Eloy Morales and Alex Padilla, pulled weeds from the ground, laid mulch and prepped plots of soil to be used as fruit and vegetable gardens.


Inglewood High School junior, Sydney Turner shared, “Change starts with everybody and yourself, so if you want something positive out of everything, you have to come and help out. Just to come out and help my school, I do it for other freshmen and people that may want to come here. This is a big experience that I’m gonna take with me.


Alfred Valencia, a senior at Inglewood High School, shared “Any little change can make a big difference, so almost the whole community came and helped us out and it’s been a great help, and I hope in the future generations, they follow in our footsteps to make this community better.


Over 200 students volunteered for the beautification event, which was put together by community partner and sponsors Home Depot, Republic Consolidated Disposal Services, and the City of Inglewood.












Accusations that the New England Patriots purposely deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18—to make them easier for quarterback Tom Brady to grip and throw—has added another layer of scandal to the NFL.  The league, is already under fire for its handling of domestic violence cases involving players. 


Coming just days before the Super Bowl, the incident, known as “DeflateGate” is being talked about as much as the upcoming game between the Patriots and rival Seattle Seahawks.  After the  lopsided win over the Colts, the Pats were accused of under inflating the balls.


Brady previously admitted that he prefers a deflated football.  At a press conference last week he said, "I like them at 12.5 (PSI). That's the perfect grip for a football," he said.  It's also the minimum PSI allowed by the NFL.  Brady added that he “would never do anything to break the rules.”


Since the news broke, sports pundits have been engaged in a Super Bowl of their own, taking sides in the scandal.


During at a live taping of ESPNs “First Take,” Skip Bayless recalled comments made from Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney which suggest that this is not the first time the Patriots may have cheated to gain an edge in the Super Bowl.  According to Bayless, Hurney believes his team was illegally taped by someone connected to the Patriots “during their walk through the night before the Super Bowl that (Bill) Belichick and Brady won” in New Orleans.


“Now, we have the GM of the Panthers…saying that ‘we have long suspected the Patriots of taping one of our practices before the second Super Bowl that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won together.’ Why would Bill Belichick the greatest coach ever establish a culture of cheating?   Why would the greatest coach ever need to cheat?” Bayless said.


Co-anchor Stephen A. Smith snapped back, “I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to Bill Belichick, what you’re saying, and here’s why:  If Bill Belichick was cheating, how has he been cheating this long?  This man is a three-time Super Bowl champion.  He’s been to 5 Super Bowls.  This level of excellence…you’re trying to tell me Bill Belichick’s been cheating all these years, and nobody’s caught him?”


Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he didn’t expect NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hand down any serious punishments for the alleged offense, and certainly no one would get suspended from Super Bowl play.  He noted, however that it was ironic that the NFL reportedly threatened to eject Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch from the NFC Championship Game on Sunday if he tried to play in the game wearing his custom-made gold shoes.


“You know, they were trying to suspend Marshawn for gold shoes and that really affects the game if you suspend Marshawn,” Sherman said told the New York Daily. “But then you’ve got balls being deflated and that’s (another) issue.”


On Jan. 20, ESPN reported that 11 of the 12 game footballs originally supplied by the Patriots were found to be under-inflated by two pounds per square inch. On Sunday, Belichick held a surprise press conference to vigorously defend his team from allegations of any wrongdoing.  


“I believe now 100% that I have personally and we as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,” Belichick said. “At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage…We welcome the league’s investigation into the matter.”


Between domestic violence scandals, which plagued the NFL last year, and now allegations of cheating, the league is in need of some soul searching. Will the league finally take a meaningful stand against players who act immorally and unethically? 


More immediate, with the big game just three days away and allegations yet unproven, there will not likely be any decisions made under after the season ends.  So, if the Pats win, who’s to say they won it fair and square and who’s to say they didn’t?  And when the glare of this pro football season fades, and the next news cycle begins, will it really matter?


At best, the hiatus can buy the league more time to make badly needed changes which must begin on the inside.  


Super Bowl XLIX airs Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3:30 pm (PST) on NBC.








The Making of a Stadium

Thursday, January 29, 2015


A coalition financed by Hollywood Park Land Co., which launched a petition drive for an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, has completed its first milestone in record time.   


The official kickoff, held Jan. 10 at Faithful Central Bible Church, sent signature gatherers throughout the streets of Inglewood, asking registered voters to support a shiny new stadium.   By Jan. 26, more than 20,000 signatures had been obtained.  Inglewood Police Oversight Commissioner Adrianne Sears said it was not a hard sell.  


“People were so excited. When I told them about it, they’d say, ‘A stadium in Inglewood? I’m in.’ As soon as I told them it wasn’t coming out of their pockets, they’d say ‘Yes, I’m in.’”


Signatures were gathered at shopping centers, grocery stores, restaurants and other key spots around town, with a large chunk coming from the crowds celebrating Martin Luther King Day.  Sears said job creation and 100% private funding inspired voters to sign on the dotted line. 


“We get the benefits of improved infrastructure, and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue going to the City, at no cost.  I’ll take that all day long,” Sears said. 


It has not been confirmed yet whether St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke would move his team to Inglewood, but he has purchased 60 acres adjacent to the Hollywood Park site.


“It was a treat to see folks walk to a petition table, excited about what this means for the community,” said D'Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D., Executive Director, Social Justice Learning Institute and spokesperson for Citizens for Revitalizing the City of Champions.  Scorza said civic engagement in getting the initiative on the ballot offers Inglewood residents a rare opportunity:  “It’s not often when a person who believes in our democracy can get to experience how the process works (personally) and express their voice.”


Scorza, who has been involved in other ballot initiatives, said “We always had to work hard, but the response in this community has been overwhelming.”


Mayor James Butts agrees:  "The overwhelming support for the stadium demonstrated by the 22,000-plus signatures for the initiative petition was reflected by the vocal affirmation of community stakeholders last night at the City Council meeting.  Our residents by a large majority support moving this project forward quickly."


The initiative could be on the ballot as early as this summer.  However, City Clerk Yvonne Horton said it is too early to predict a date when residents would vote.  According to Horton, approximately 8,400 verified signatures are needed to put the initiative on the ballot.  That figure represents nearly 40% of registered Inglewood voters.  “The County (Los Angeles) received the signatures on Monday, Jan. 26, and they have already started the verification process,” she said.


“It’s great when you can help generate this vision of the ‘New Inglewood,’ and see how it’s playing out nationally,” Scorza said.


With residents clearly fired-up about getting the stadium initiative on the ballot, is a boost in Inglewood’s voter registration likely? 


“I am very hopeful that this will bring folks out to register, and not just register, but vote,” Horton said.


















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