Even before there is anything solid to debate, the potential for an NFL stadium and events center has garnered a lot of attention in the media and heavy debate in the public and Los Angeles City Council.
Let’s look at the facts:
- The developers proposing the project, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), submitted a proposal earlier this year which was made public the day the city received it. This and other documents are available on a website made possible through a motion introduced by Councilmember Paul Krekorian: www.downtownstadium.lacity.org.
- The Council President put forward a motion creating a streamlined process to review the proposal by setting up the Ad Hoc Committee on the Proposed Stadium and Events Center with members that oversee planning, transportation, tourism, budget and finance, and general services issues; they also represent a variety of geographic areas in the city ranging from the Valley to the Westside to the Eastside and South Los Angeles. I chair the committee and it includes Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl (11th District), Ed Reyes (1st District), Tom LaBonge (4th District), and Tony Cardenas (6th District). This is a committee that has from the beginning and will continue to adhere to the Brown Act.
- The Council, via motion, also directed that any negotiations having to do with the proposal be conducted by city staff rather than elected officials. In fact, the chief negotiator for the city is the Chief Legislative Analyst. At no time, has any elected official on the committee negotiated with the developer on behalf of the City of Los Angeles.
- The Committee set forward, as directed by motion by the Council President, 12 negotiating principles that directly addressed the necessity to protect the general fund and ensure that the deal was fiscally sound for the city.
- Finally, the committee never committed to a deadline for completion of a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The deadline of July 31st was put forward by principles at AEG but was never part of the Council timeline. We only committed that the CLA would make a good faith effort to put forward a draft MOU for consideration, not approval, by the end of the month. The Council is not under, and was never under, an obligation to approve a draft MOU by July 31.
The fact is that until a report detailing a draft MOU is released there is no proposal to discuss. While AEG, has held over 20, community town halls in conjunction with neighborhood groups, elected officials, and chambers of commerce to publicize their proposal, their presentation does not reflect the final deal that the city may approve. I am interested in seeing the recommendations of the CLA and debating them thoroughly on-the-record. To debate “maybes” and “possibilities”, is an exercise in futility. It is intellectually dishonest and simply wastes the taxpayer’s time and ultimately confuses the issue.
The CLA has committed to having a report on a draft MOU released by July 25. I have committed to the public committee process and plan on holding two night Ad Hoc Committee meetings on July 27, at City Hall, and on July 28, at the Van Nuys City Hall to review this draft MOU. These meetings will be publically noticed and will comply with the Brown Act, just as they always have. There will be a public hearing after the MOU is presented and, thanks to the committee process, there will be three or more opportunities for the public to comment.
There are no secrets here. To insinuate otherwise only diminishes the process that has been established to take the politics out of the negotiation and protect the city and its taxpayers. In fact, that is why the highly publicized Cincinnati stadium turned into such a debacle—in that case, the city allowed politics to rise above a rational debate on the facts and on the record. If we follow our process, continue to vet the details of a MOU in an honest, public manner through the committee and council, we end up with more opportunities for public input and more time for council participation.
The only deadlines in play are the ones we impose on ourselves. We are free to take as much time as we need to deliberate the draft MOU. The only thing that I and others on the council ask is that we respect the legislative process as we do so.