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Over 150 attend session on downtown L.A. stadium plan

More than 150 people turned out Wednesday at the start of the first public session devoted to the environmental impacts that would be caused by a proposed football stadium next to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Organizers of the "scoping meeting" for Farmers Field -- being held from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center -- asked participants to fill out comment cards and place them in cardboard boxes in the back of the room.

In attendance were lobbyists, carpenters, land-use consultants and transit activists, among others.

"We want to ensure that this project is truly beneficial to the city of L.A.," said Gabriel Strachota, an organizer with the Bus Riders Union, an advocacy group.

City officials scheduled the event to solicit public comments for an upcoming environmental impact report on the proposed $1-billion stadium, which would rise on the current site of the Convention Center’s West Hall. Under the proposal, the West Hall would be demolished and a new wing of the facility would be constructed nearby. That plan has been billed as a way to attract larger conventions to Los Angeles by giving the building more continuous convention space.

Anschutz Entertainment Group, developer of adjacent Staples Center and L.A. Live, has promised to use its own funds to pay for the stadium. But the city would need to issue $350 million in bonds to cover the cost of the new Convention Center wing -- money that would be paid back with ticket tax revenue, property tax revenue and some private funds from AEG.

AEG officials have left open the possibility that they will seek legislation to shield the stadium's environmental impact report from legal challenges.

"That's not contemplated today," said Sean Dee, chief marketing officer of AEG Worldwide. "Certainly we could contemplate it in the future. But today we're here to listen to our community."

The stadium plan was greeted enthusiastically by Nattabai Ahmed, president of Independent Taxi Co. He said the stadium would be another step toward making Angelenos -- and football fans in particular -- more welcoming to taxis.

"Because of the traffic situation here, they might have to park a mile, two miles away" and hail a cab to the stadium, he said.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Comments () | Archives (7)

Over half the people in Orange county are on the dole. Why should taxpayers have to pay for another boondoggle project?

So let me get this straight....The City of LA is on the verge of bankruptcy cutting services left and right and they are going to issue 350 million in bonds in addition to all the subsidies and infrastructure improvements they have done at LA Live? Los Angeles deserves to be in the poor fiscal shape it is in now. This is ludicrous.

There are too many riots in that area.

Meanwhile, LAUSD is laying off teachers. I guess they will all find work as ushers at the new stadium. Yipee!

I was at the EIR scoping meeting on Wednesday. Here are a few things I found most interesting:

- When I was in the middle of a TV interview, one of the meeting hosts cut me off in the middle and asked the news reporter and camera to do all the interviews outside the door. The news reporter thought it was very rude of the host because the room was so noisy anyway - there was no reason to ban cameras from the room. The city and AEG have been trying to keep the media coverage to a minimum about the environmental impacts. That's also why they don't widely advertise these meetings.

- There were a handful of residents who live in the neighborhood right across from the 110 freeway who were really mad that AEG misled them 10 years ago about the impact from the LA Live development. Now fans park and loiter in front of their houses and AEG is doing nothing to fix it.

- The planners at the meeting seemed to be unrealistically optimistic about how many people would actually take the train line. They seem to be counting on that to mitigate the severe traffic jams, but they don't realize that the train stations are not conveniently located near the homes of all the fans - it doesn't matter if there is a central station close to the proposed stadium if the fan base is spread out throughout the region where the stations are not near homes.

Hmm.....Metro rail? Expo, Blue, Red and Purple will be within a half mile of the stadium. Can any other football stadium located or proposed in socal be that close to a rail line? Much less 4 with 5 - 10 minute headways?

@ Zizibug: Sounds like your mind was made up before you got there.

Let's play a game. You tell me what part of town you live in, and I'll tell you how to get to Staples Center/LA Live via public transit.


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