Inglewood NFL stadium plan developers, labor group reach jobs deal

Developers of the proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood and organized labor reached agreement Thursday on jobs for the $1.86-billion project, avoiding a referendum that could have delayed the start of construction.

"We now have certainty that the project will be an economic engine for the entire region and help turn the tide against poverty-level jobs in Los Angeles," said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

The deals between nine of the federation's unions and the developers, which include St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, end a monthlong spat between the parties.

After Inglewood's City Council unanimously approved the stadium Feb. 24, the federation started collecting signatures to force a public vote on the fast-tracked project that hopes to break ground by December. The federation, which represents more than 300 unions in the county, wanted developers to guarantee better wages and more jobs.

Details of the developers' agreements with the unions weren't immediately available.

A group backed by the developers had circulated an email that urged Inglewood residents not to sign "the anti-stadium petition" by "outside special interests backing competing stadium plans."

A federation spokesperson said that similar negotiations are going on with the developers of a competing stadium project in Carson. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have announced plans to build a Carson stadium if deals can't be worked out with their current cities.

Though the federation continued to gather signatures in Inglewood in recent weeks, both sides were privately optimistic the matter would be resolved by the referendum's Thursday deadline.

Developers have pledged the project on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack will create more than 10,000 part- and full-time jobs when finished.

On Tuesday, the Inglewood City Council approved plans to spend up to $70,000 for San Jose-based TAL Global Corp. to conduct a "multi-phased risk assessment" of the proposed stadium.

The study comes a month after AEG commissioned a report by former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge that called the stadium a potential terrorist target because of its proximity to flights arriving at Los Angeles International Airport. AEG, at that time, was behind a stadium project at its LA Live site. The sports and entertainment company has since abandoned those plans.

A memo from Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta to Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and City Council members Tuesday blasted Ridge's report as "unsubstantiated" and "poorly sourced."

In an interview, Butts said, "We don't need that fraudulent report done by Ridge Global hanging out there."

Chris Furlow, president of Ridge Global, the former Secretary's consulting firm, defended the findings in a statement to The Times.

"Our report is clear, accurate and based on facts," Furlow said. "With LAX so near, safety and security risk is exacerbated by that stadium siting whether the city of Inglewood chooses to recognize the reality or not."

TAL Global's managing director for counterterrorism and infrastructure protection is Erroll Southers, a former nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration who was once assistant chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence with the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department.

Butts expects the study to be completed in 90 days.

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