FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2019
CONTACT: Uplift Inglewood Coalition
CLIPPERS LOSE COURT BATTLE IN LAWSUIT CHALLENGING NEW NBA STADIUM
Judge Rejects Clippers’ Argument that their Exclusive Negotiations with City of Inglewood Do Not Violate California’s Affordable Housing Laws – Rules Case Can Proceed
LOS ANGELES, CA, April 26, 2019 — The Uplift Inglewood Coalition scored a significant victory in court yesterday over the Clippers organization in a lawsuit challenging the team’s plans to build a new NBA stadium on publicly owned land in the City of Inglewood. Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel ruled in favor of allowing Uplift Inglewood Coalition’s lawsuit alleging that the City of Inglewood violated the California Surplus Land Act to proceed. The law requires cities to give first priority to affordable housing development when selling public land. Uplift Inglewood filed the claim in June of 2018 because the City did not comply with this state law before it entered into formal negotiations to sell over 22 acres of city-owned land for the development of a Clippers Arena.
“Today’s ruling is a step forward for our neighbors in Inglewood who are simply asking the City of Inglewood to follow California’s affordable housing laws,” said Dr. D’artagnan Scorza, member of Uplift Inglewood, “In the midst of booming development - which has caused skyrocketing rents and the loss of affordable housing- it simply does not make any sense to prioritize an NBA arena over the needs of Inglewood residents without investing in the needs of residents. Public land should be used for the public good, and access to housing is central to building strong communities.”
Uplift Inglewood’s lawsuit argues that, due to the Surplus Land Act, the land should have been offered first for affordable housing development before being offered to the Clippers. The state law Uplift Inglewood is enforcing was enacted to help address the crisis of acute housing shortage like Inglewood’s In declaring that unnecessary city property must first be made available for affordable housing before selling it for another use, the Legislature said “a decent home and a suitable living environment for every Californian is a priority of the highest order.” More than 80 percent of Inglewood’s population qualify for some form subsidized housing but Inglewood has not done what it should to get it built. Inglewood’s residents are losing the housing they have now in the face rent increases upwards of $1000.
“This ruling allows the residents of Inglewood to have their day in court to prove that the city has violated state law by prioritizing a new NBA arena over affordable housing,” said Antonio Hicks, an attorney with the non-profit law firm Public Counsel. “The ruling should also serve as a wake-up call to cities across the state that California has strong affordable housing laws on its book, and community groups and advocates are watching to make sure they follow those laws and serve as responsible stewards of our public land.”
Trial will proceed in September. At trial, Uplift Inglewood will also seek to enforce several other state housing laws meant to address Inglewood’s and other cities’ housing and homeless crises.
ABOUT UPLIFT INGLEWOOD
Founded in 2015, the Uplift Inglewood Coalition was created in response to the rising costs of living and housing. The coalition members are parents, teachers, students, faith leaders, residents, elders, youth, business owners, renters, homeowners, and community members looking to help shape the future of our city so that working families can continue to live in Inglewood and benefit from the city’s resurgence. The purpose of the coalition is bring together Inglewood residents with one voice to educate neighbors and advocate for change. Uplift Inglewood Coalition wants secure housing for working families, safer neighborhoods, and community-centered development and is organizing for sustainable community investment that addresses the rising cost of rent and housing prices.
Public Counsel is the nation’s largest not-for-profit law firm of its kind – handling impact litigation, pursuing legislative change, and providing direct legal services that reach more than 30,000 people every year in California and across the nation.
The Public Interest Law Project (PILP) is a non-profit law center providing litigation and advocacy support on affordable housing and public benefits to local legal services and public interest law programs throughout California.
Cozen O’Connor is among the top 100 law firms in the country, with more than 700 lawyers in 26 cities across two continents. It is a full-service law firm, with nationally recognized experience in litigation, business law, and government relations. The firm’s attorneys thrive on results, defining themselves by their clients’ success.