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NFL stadium plan meets with questions, some skepticism from L.A. City Council

NFL stadium supporters

The prospect of a new National Football League stadium in downtown Los Angeles — an idea already enthusiastically embraced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — generated vigorous debate Wednesday before City Council members who waxed both enthusiastic and skeptical about the notion.

During their first floor debate on the proposal, the council voted to recruit a financial analyst to study the costs and benefits of a new stadium -– and a related major upgrade of the adjacent Los Angeles Convention Center. Still, some voiced worry about the risks, pointing out that the city is already in a major financial crisis, staring at a $350-million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year.

“We’re already on a tightrope,” said Councilman Paul Koretz. “One wrong step and we could push the city into bankruptcy.”

Leading the doubters about a concept yet to be submitted formally was Councilman Paul Krekorian, who said the city should not go to “extraordinary lengths” to speed up the timeline for approving the stadium plan. “What’s the rush?” he asked.

Council President Eric Garcetti and others said the council should quickly gather information on the proposal, which has already captured the imagination of the mayor and football fans and has the potential to generate much-needed jobs and revenues.

Supporters of the concept noted how Staples Center, next to the proposed stadium site, had helped transform a once-sleepy swath of downtown into a vibrant corridor. “This is the way to move the city forward, not to sit on our hands and wait for someone else to act,” said Councilman Richard Alarcon, who cited the rival stadium idea in the City of Industry.

A new stadium, Alarcon added, could help “create an economic engine” for a city that been battered by layoffs and service cuts and faces massive new budget shortfalls later this year. Advocates of the stadium concept noted that that city was not formally approving any aspect of a prospective deal. Officials have yet to negotiate a deal with the developer.

Most critically, the city lacks an NFL franchise.

“If it’s not a good deal, we punt,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge, who voiced the hope that the stadium plan would help prompt the NFL to grant an expansion team to Los Angeles. “I say, ‘Get in the huddle.' "

The council voted to move forward on three fronts, calling for studies of the stadium proposal and its impact on the convention center, and directing city staff to engage in formal discussions with the developer, Anschutz Entertainment Group. AEG, which owns Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex, has announced its desire to construct the $1-billion stadium on land now occupied by part of the convention center.

Both the developer and the mayor have vowed that no taxpayer money would go to the project, though the city would issue $350 million worth of bonds to pay for upgrades to the convention center, part of which would have to be torn down and replaced. The developer has said additional tax revenues from the project should cover most of the bond payments.

Several council members were adamant that the city should not end up footing any part of the bill. “The city is in the worst financial crisis in its history, and I don’t want a penny of taxpayer money to go to a stadium,” said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who warned against the city being “seduced” by the developer. Krekorian also proposed a resolution that seeks to put the council on record against any state legislation that would “subvert or accelerate” the environmental review of the stadium project.

Activist groups have been mobilizing against any effort to give AEG exemptions from state environmental laws governing pollution, noise, traffic and other concerns. Councilwoman Janice Hahn said the project would result in an upgrade for the convention center, expanding its square footage substantially and elevating it to the “top five” convention destinations nationwide. “The convention center piece [of the deal] is what I believe will revive the economy in Los Angeles,” Hahn said.

-- Patrick McDonnell and David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa poses Tuesday with Magic Johnson after a news conference in support of AEG's proposal to build an NFL stadium downtown. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times 

Comments () | Archives (21)

Bring tha Raiders back to LA aint nuthin like the times when LA had the Raiders it just goes together perfrect.

So, I guess its a given now that Magic sold his Starbucks to raise the money to invest in either AEG stadium and/or the football team. Will LA get 2 NFL teams? Will the Sacramento Kings move to the OC? Can LA/OC/SB-Riverside support 2 football teams and 3 NBA teams? We'll know after March 1, if the Kings will be moving to the OC.

It seems that the only one not bowing to Tim Lieweke and AEG is Councilman Paul Krekorian. I applaud him! AEG is trying to get around state law and I hope the people in Sacramento do not let them get away with it. Also how can we sure that the taxpayers will not be on the hook for the $350 million in bonds AEG wants the city to put up towards the construction of a new West Hall?

Do those same "supporters" have to drive in the jammed up traffic around that "vibrant area" every day like the 9-5ers do! My guess is NO!

As far as I'm concerned this is just another political ploy to get more air time for our mayor, the Enzite man. Such a huge enterprise needs to wait. But no, he's all for hiring expensive "experts" to read blueprints that could be done just as well, if not better by those already employed by the City. Problem is, he can't influence City employees to skew the results like he could an "outside consultant."

A little taxpayer ditty in honor of new Farmer's Insurance Field at the Convention Center:

The Farmer's in the dell.
The Farmer's in the dell.
Heigh, ho, the dairy -oh.
We all are going to hell.

Everything that has been recently built in that area has been " Money " good as gold for L.A! If you add another shiny, state of the art facility there it will only improve the foundation that already exists. I understand the council's questions, but given it's track record, it can only be a good thing for all parties!

That's Magic Johnson in the picture. Not your humble b-ball star anymore. Look him up, and you'll see that he's invested his money rather well. So now the newly-minted real estate mogul wants in on this deal. Don't think he's in all these press releases for the love of sports. His pockets want some lining and it's the taxpayers who are set to do the job.

does anyone else see what i see. the comment about "Most critically, the city lacks an NFL franchise" at the end its about politics and someone getting paid off. the city lacks is the space in that area, make it more crowded and more, why not build in the city of industry so we los angeles can have a stadium that can be built with space and have more ideas

So, let me see.........
A chance to create more jobs......
A chance to increase $ to the local businesses.....
A chance to increase tax $ for the city......

yeah, i can see the LA city council goons screwing this one up

We would have had a football stadium and team in So. Cal. twenty years ago if the City of Los Angeles had completely removed themselves from the equation. Instead, they litigated and fought cities like Carson, Irwindale, Inglewood, etc., who had viable plans and land, with their ridiculous and insistent Coliseum renovation idea. I don't figure the City of Los Angeles, with all of its bureaucracy, will fair much metter this time.

Interesting, the City Council points out it's in the worst shape it's ever been in, yet that chamber IS the reason it's in that shape. It's made it impossible to do business in LA, looted the treasury, and taxed it's citizens to death, and now when someone comes along and gets a plan in place to build a stadium it's suddenly something they want to pick to pieces. Well, by the time they get done thinking it over and making their decision, Industry will have the thing built and a team in place. It amazes me how these guys get re-elected...

This plan, as currently proposed, will definitely cost Joe and Jane taxpayer a boatload. Floating 300 million dollars worth of bonds comes directly out of our pockets. There is still 400 million dollars in outstanding convention center bond payments that also comes RIGHT OUT OF OUR POCKETS. The land that the Convention Ctr. rests on is PUBLIC. It is disingenuous to suggest that the tax payers will not foot a substantial portion of this wayward plan. On top of it all AEG and its political flunkies want us to forget about health protections. I was born at night...just not last night!

L A had two teams and lost both of them.. They should not be allowed to even consider bringing a new team to LA....

AEG???? Isnt that the same company who made MILLIONS off the Michael Jackson film footage by selling it to Sony yet still had the LA Tax payers pay for his funeral? Of course the Tax payers will be on the hook for this, just watch. If it goes through, they will start building the arena then say they don't have enough money to complete the project and need the tax payers help.

What's the personal payoffs for the Mayor and Magic for giving Anschutz ownership of downtown Los Angeles? And was there open bidding on this project?

We need a new stadium like we need a hole in the head. Let them use the old Olympic stadium, or else they pay for it out of their own pockets.

The main question the city council should be asking is where will fans be able to tailgate and bring their R.V.s on game day? If the developers cannot adequately provide for that, the no to the stadium idea. No tailgating and R.V. parking, no stadium. Goto City of Industry instead. They seem to be very industrious!!

What a mess. Building the stadium downtown will cost way more than the rosy picture the developer is trying to paint. Look at the history of any project of this scale in a dense urban zone. Plus it requires tearing down and replacing the convention center - making it even more complex. The developer is trying to put smoke and mirrors in front of city council with a slick marketing campaign. We should build the stadium in the City of Industry instead and wipe away all these problems with a simple change of location - and we'd still get the NFL team everyone wants.

Los Angeles is a world class city lacking world class infrastructure. We as a city must create the infrastructure that will generate a greater amount of convention and tourist dollars. Smaller, less glamourous cities win over LA in many segments of convention and tourist dollars. Revive downtown, all the way through 8th and Broadway. Restore it's glory, glamour and glitz. Build the stadium, post-haste, fast track it through.

Im disappointed in the councilmen. As a taxpayer, parent and student, given the unemployment rate I am concerned by the negative reaction of our councilmen, Paul Kertz and Paul Krekorian.
Instead of rising to an opportunity to bring jobs and an economic flurish to Los Angeles, they bring a feeling of concern to me. A concern as to the capability of our city council to make functional a proposal that would bring needed jobs and circulation to our economy.
"Surely there is a way for our intelegent, competent and inovative council members to find a way to make this work, while maintaining the enviormental and other integrities of our great city."
The development parties involved know well the resoponsabilities that come with a project of this magnitude and are surely well prepared to take on the those responsabilities.
"We need this in order to provide jobs and circulation to our econmomy in Los Angeles, and we look to our leaders who are in positions to do something about it to take action and not be idle or negative."
Do our council members have what it takes to make things happen for their residents? HHHmMMMm.
"I sure hope so!"





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