“This is simple. If the private sector is going to step in and spend a billion — and we’re going to have to do that, that’s only way it’s going to happen — then shouldn’t we as a community spend a billion dollars where it has the greatest impact.” — AEG President’s Tim Leiweke on building an NFL stadium in downtown LA, Oct. 12, 2010.
The billionaires and fat cats gathered Tuesday at the behest of the Central City Association to tell us what Los Angeles should be like in 2020 but you won’t find that quote from Tim Leiweke in the limited coverage in the LA Times and Downtown News.
In the video, Leiweke shares his vision to tear down the old wing of the Convention Center to build a monument to football, a massive new wing to the convention center and yet another luxury hotel.
What could be more thrilling for LA, with its closed parks and libraries and open slather policies for developers than to have taxpayers match AEG dollar for dollar to have a stadium downtown instead of out in the City of Industry where Leiweke’s former partner, Ed Roski, has a shovel-ready stadium that won’t cost the public a dime.
Talk about creating good-paying jobs. Think about those high salaries of the 50 players on an NFL
Who could refuse an offer like this?
Certainly not the Central City Association which boasts an extraordinary record of successfully helping to steal billions of taxpayer dollars that could have created healthy neighborhoods all over LA and getting them spent to build glittering glass and steel towers that enriched the few.
Certainly not downtown Councilwoman Jan Perry who tarnishes her record of public service by pandering to the big money downtown interests.
Those big money interests were out in full force for the CCA’s “Downtown 2020: Continuing the Renaissance.” (admission $125 to $225) at the taxpayer-subsidized Marriott Hotel at AEG’s taxpayer-subsidized LA Live.
Leiweke, Eli Broad, Jim Thomas, Tom Gilmore and Nelson Rising — “Downtown’s most influential powerbrokers,” as the Downtown News described them — were the main attraction as they held forth on their vision of “millions of people navigating a cleaner, denser and more
pedestrian-friendly urban fabric via bicycle, light rail, streetcar,
subway and bus.”
Why there was even talk of downtown street cars and the CCA’s Carol Schatz imagines rebuilding the 10 and 110 freeways to make it so much easier to get to the NFL stadium on game days.
Broad got laughs when he said “the architects think I’m crazy” for the ambitious timeline he’s set for construction of the taxpayer-subsidized museum he’s building to display his person art collection — a museum intended to be the centerpiece of his grandiose vision of the indefinitely-delayed taxpayer-subsidized Grand Avenue project.
But it was Leiweke who was the star as he talked about he and Jan Perry want to transform downtown by “expanding the city-owned Convention Center’s footprint and
adding an NFL stadium that could also host NCAA basketball tournaments
and soccer events. Leiweke said AEG would manage the campus.”
things come together with football and if we put up $1 billion and agree
to backstop construction of a new West Hall then we’ll probably have to
make sure the taxpayers are not at risk,” Leiweke was quoted as saying in the Downtown. “We need a lot
to go right with football, but we’re at least in the game thinking about
it now, working on it, talking to the city about it, and talking to the
NFL about it.”
Sportsman as he is, Leiweke was quoted in the Times about what a stadium and torn down and rebuilt Convention Center would mean to the downtown economy:
“Game, set, match. Everything else will come. Retail
will come, transportation will come and people will move back down
Those were the only quotes he got in the two newspapers. No mention at all of taxpayer subsidies. Nothing at all about how “we as a community (should) spend a billion dollars where it has the greatest impact.”
This is a a town that has twice fumbled the NFL ball and lost the Rams and Raiders to other cities, a town that lost hundreds of millions of dollars on its debt-burdened Convention Center, invested untold billions in building a skyline and is now in a class with such NFL losers Detroit and Cleveland for poverty and unemployment.
This is a town with a rotting infrastructure of roads, sidewalks, pipes and power lines, a town that can’t pay its bills and guts basic services, a town whose leadership has lost all credibility and now want us to believe $1 billion of our money would have the greatest impact if we spent it for a football stadium.
How many lower income tenants could become homeowners with that billion dollars? How many deteriorating neighborhoods could be revived? How many small businesses could thrive with a little help if their vision, not the vision of billionaires and fat cats, were driving city policies?
A few weeks ago, I went out to Industry, which is more of a business than a city with a population of only 913, and got a tour from John Semcken of the NFL stadium that Roski’s Majestic Realty is ready to build.
They own the land. They have all the entitlements. The roads and freeways already are being fixed to handle crowds of 75,000 people on football Sundays. They have the architectural drawings. They even have the money and it’s all their money.
What they don’t have yet is a
Leiweke and Roski teamed up to build
But in their infinite foolishness, the City Council stepped in and rewrote the terms of the deal to let them off the hook. Now Leiweke has the brass to demand $1 billion in taxpayer money to enrich himself and AEG’s owner, Phil Anschutz, even more.