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L.A. football stadium backers huddle with governor

February 15, 2011 |  6:23 pm

Developers and supporters of a proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles met Tuesday with Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators to show that the project is politically and financially viable.

To demonstrate that viability, AEG President Tim Leiweke was accompanied to his meetings with state officials by labor leaders and an executive from Farmers Insurance, which recently agreed to a $700-million naming-rights deal for the proposed 64,000-seat stadium.

Brown, who was elected last year with strong labor support, heard about the project’s job-creating benefits from a delegation that included Maria Elena Durazo, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and Robbie Hunter, president of the ironworkers union, Local 433.

"I met with the governor and our state legislative leaders to make the case for why this project is so important to help put working families back to work in good jobs,'' Durazo said.  

Brown was noncommittal.

"He has not taken a position on the project," said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.

Leiweke briefed the state leaders on the plan but did not make any legislative proposals for state help, according to officials who met with the delegation.

"At this time there is no formal proposal to be discussed for this project," said Michael Roth, a spokesman for AEG.

But some lawmakers expect legislation that would grant the Los Angeles stadium the same immunity from environmental lawsuits that was granted to a competing stadium project in the City of Industry.

Democratic legislative leaders have been dismissive of the chances for a bill customized for AEG. However, legislation has been introduced by a Republican senator that would give immunity from environmental lawsuits to 25 development projects throughout the state to be selected later. The bill by Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) was not introduced with the Los Angeles stadium project in mind, but AEG could apply to be considered for a waiver under the process proposed by the bill, according to a spokeswoman for the lawmaker.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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