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City attorney expects court battle to delay Dodger Stadium, September 7, 1958

September 7, 2008 |  6:00 am

City attorney sees long battle for Chavez Ravine

Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley expects legal challenges to be resolved quickly and predicts stadium construction will begin in February 1959.

1958_september_07_sports By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

Jeane Hoffman's interview with Los Angeles City Atty. Roger Arnebergh would leave most Dodger fans planning to return to the Coliseum for more than just 1959.

Just to review, the Dodgers signed a deal with the city to move to Los Angeles and get a stadium in Chavez Ravine. Voters in June, 1958 passed Prop. B, approving the stadium plan. But about a month later, a Superior Court judge, acting on a taxpayer's lawsuit, declared the contract invalid and placed the Chavez Ravine plans in limbo.

Arnebergh said the city had filed a petition with the state Supreme Court to reverse the Superior Court decision. Unless the writ of prohibition was granted, "I don't think there's a chance we can get this thing cleared through the courts until 1960 and even with that break, I estimate it will take another year and a half to grade and build the location," Arnebergh said.

So Dodger fans should be pessimistic, right? Not so, according to Walter O'Malley.

"I have been told that in six months the legal issue will be resolved and I am an optimist enough to believe that it will be decided in our favor," O'Malley said in an Aug. 16 story on his appearance at a Rotary Club luncheon. According to the story, O'Malley selected February 1959 as starting date for construction of the new stadium.

The Times' Hoffman also interviewed O'Malley for a story that ran Sept. 2. The topic was attendance, as in could the Dodgers someday attract up to 3 million fans a year?

"I'm delighted that we've done this well," O'Malley said. "I think we'll beat our all-time Ebbets Field record of 1,800,000 in a season in which we had to operate under difficulties to say the least--going without such traditional baseball features as beer, hot dogs in the stands, a roof on the park, etc."

As for the 1959 season, O'Malley planned to bring in the right-field fence and schedule more night games at the Coliseum. "Unlike Chicago, this is just not an afternoon town," he said. "And when we eventually get our own park, the next item will be to put more attention on auto parking, probably introducing valet parking for box seat holders."