All football in Los Angeles is still political
Los Angeles has been without an NFL team for nearly 15 years, but the political games over pro football continue.
Last week, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce considered a request by billionaire real estate developer Ed Roski to support his plan to build an NFL stadium in the city of Industry to help entice the league back to the L.A. area.
When aides to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa caught wind of it, however, an audible was called.
Robert "Bud" Ovrom, deputy mayor of commercial and residential development, called chamber leaders and urged them not to endorse Roski’s plan as the only option for an NFL stadium. The idea was to allow the chamber to also endorse such alternative sites as, say, Chavez Ravine. The chamber obliged.
"The endorsement for Roski was not exclusive. We want to see an NFL team in the L.A. area," said David Fleming, a member of the chamber’s board.
Mayoral spokesman Matt Szabo said Villaraigosa would like to have a team back in the city -– but has not endorsed any specific stadium site.
“It would be fair to say that the mayor’s office made it clear that bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles is a priority and that options should remain open," Szabo said.
But those options are limited. In November 2007, Villaraigosa said the Memorial Coliseum was “no longer a viable option for the NFL," a comment he made when urging the USC Trojans to sign a long-term lease with the Coliseum. The only other site that’s been kicked around has been Dodger Stadium.
As for a team?
Well, Villaraigosa attended the recent playoff game between the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts -– as a guest of Chargers owner Alex Spanos.
-- Phil Willon