Brown signs bill to help speed L.A. NFL stadium
Tim Leiweke stood in front of the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center on Tuesday and told a roaring crowd: “Tear it down!”
The order was a bit premature. Leiweke, the chairman and chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, will have to wait until June at the earliest to break ground on the 72,000-seat NFL stadium that AEG hopes to build at the site.
But on Tuesday the massive project inched closer to reality when Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a controversial bill that limits lawsuits that could delay the $1.4 billion project.
At a news conference with Leiweke, a gaggle of politicians and two high school football teams, Brown said California’s high unemployment means it's time “for big ideas and big projects.”
Along with the stadium legislation, the governor also signed a similar but more far-reaching bill that grants certain large construction projects faster judicial reviews of environmental issues. The bills, Brown said, are focused on “cutting red tape all over the state.” “There are too many damn regulations,” he said.
Both bills require the projects to include green features, but they have divided the environmental community. The stadium bill was supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, but opposed by the Planning and Conservation League.
"I think laws should apply evenly to everybody," said Bruce Reznik, executive director of the League. "I think it’s a very dangerous precedent when any company can come along and have enough power and influence to get a law that basically says you are treated differently than everybody else."
Sierra Club California Director Kathryn Phillips said the governor and Legislature are "flailing" about in an attempt to find ways to create new jobs and chose the wrong method in the two bills signed Tuesday.
"They are not going to help the economy. They are just going to hurt the environment," Phillips said of the bills.
--Kate Linthicum and Patrick McGreevy
Photo: California Gov. Jerry Brown, surrounded by labor leaders, local and state officials, signs two bills at the L.A. Convention Center, the site of a proposed new stadium. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images