Under a big white tent on a dirt field that was a few feet south of where the Rams are constructing their new stadium, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Inglewood city officials held a news conference Tuesday during which they expressed their desire to introduce legislation in the quest to build a basketball arena there.
The legislation, AB 987, will provide shortcuts for approval if the proposed project faces challenges under California’s primary environmental law governing development. A similar bill, SB 789, failed to gain traction last year.
The Clippers play at Staples Center, which is owned by AEG, and share the arena with the Lakers and Kings.
“This is not a complicated thing we’re talking about,” Ballmer said. “I want to build a house in Inglewood. It’s that simple. We don’t have our own house. We’d like to have our own house, right here, on this site.
“So I’m excited to get a little bit of the help we need to build our house here in Inglewood. And I’m very, very committed to that and very excited about that opportunity.”
Those attending the news conference and supporting the Assembly bill included Clippers coach Doc Rivers, team consultant Jerry West, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), Inglewood Mayor James Butts and state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena).
Bradford, who had drafted SB 789, said a reason why his bill stalled is because Inglewood is “led by black and brown elected officials.
“Today is not about a basketball arena,” Bradford said. “It’s not about entertainment. It’s about reinvesting and revitalizing a community, a community that has been ignored for over 20-something years.”