Stop the Nonsense: Public Needs Absolute Guarantee No Public Money Will Be Used for Downtown NFL Stadium

At the height of his power when the leadership of LA still was driven by a vision of greatness for the city as well as greed for themselves, Tom Bradley pushed through a 1978 Charter measure that barred the use of public funds to support the 1984 Olympics because he knew it was the only way the people of the city would support it (Olympics-Charter.rtf).

It was a great Olympics by any measure, hugely profitable, a grand spectacle and dire warnings about traffic gridlock never materialized because trucks were banned from freeways during rush hours and major companies staggered their work hours.
Oh, what happy days those were! 
It’s been a long downhill slide ever since as the commitment to public benefits has disappeared from the agenda of politicians and the civic and business leadership, resulting in thwarted demands from the people for major reforms from Valley secession to devolution of power through a borough system.
What happened instead as the broad coalition of developers, contractors, consultants, unions and other special interests coalesced into a political machine motivated only by self-interest as they looted the public treasury and profited from a war against the middle class that has driven hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs out of the city and chased away the very class that is the backbone of any community.
We are now at the point of no return.
City Hall is moving rapidly forward to gut the public’s protections from zoning and planning regulations in order to allow the continued profiteering by special interests from developments large and small.
The protectors of the public interest, the people who are supposed to make sure that every development, provides at least as much benefit to the public as to the private interest, are our elected officials. 
That those officials have sold out the public interest for the political money and favors they get by squeezing all the “juice” they can from this network of special interests needs no further proof. It is transparent and has been for a long time.
So when it comes to as audacious and questionable a proposal as AEG’s to build an NFL stadium near its properties at Staples Center and LA Live, tear down half the Convention Center, rebuild it and take over its operation, we need to make sure the public interest is 100 percent protected.
Toward that end, we need the Bradley solution: An iron-clad Charter measure that takes AEG’s Tim Leiweke at his word that no public money will be used for it, that every element will be financed and paid for by AEG.
Here is draft language that could be put on the March ballot if the mayor and City Council are the least bit serious about giving this stadium proposal consideration:
“The City of Los Angeles, its officers, employees, agencies and instrumentalities shall be prohibited both directly and indirectly from appropriating funds, issuing bonds, lending credit, diverting funds received or to be received under  grants, levying taxes or assessments, incurring expenses, making or undertaking any capital expenditures, or entering into any financial agreements in aid or in furtherance of the of the development or construction of a professional football stadium and related Convention Center project. The City of Los Angeles shall be prohibited from surrendering any admissions, ticket, parking and similar attendance connected taxes or revenues from these venues to private interests for a professional football stadium and related Convention Center project.”
Without that protection for the public, it is unthinkable to even consider this proposal.
Leiweke claims AEG built Staples entirely by itself (see videos) when it got a $14 million subsidy and the land for it was seized by the Community Redevelopment Agency and turned over to it. He also ignores the fact that the luxury hotel at LA Live gets to keep the 10 percent hotel tax — a $300 million gift of public money — that other businesses don’t get and the public doesn’t get the benefit of the revenue so badly needed when services are being slashed.
There’s a lot of other serious questions about this proposal but there’s no point in even talking about unless the public interest is fully protected.

16 thoughts on “Stop the Nonsense: Public Needs Absolute Guarantee No Public Money Will Be Used for Downtown NFL Stadium”

  1. We need Joel Wachs back. There was a Councilmember who stood up to the greedy scum of AEG. He shamed the LA Council into refusing to public huge amounts of public money into Staples Center.

  2. This article hits the nail on the head. And I echo the comments made by 12:42 PM regarding Councilman Joel Wachs – He refused to spend a dime of taxpayer money.

  3. Why single out this project? Why are we giving tax dollars to ANY billionaire developers? Here’s a simpler charter amendment:
    1. The City shall not subsidize any business. This includes but is not limited to subsidies through grants, loans, preferential tax treatment, fee waivers, and “public-private partnerships.” This also applies to all businesses and organizations, they are organized as for-profit or non-profit.
    2. The City shall treat all businesses fairly and equally. This includes but is not limited to applying the same tax rates to all businesses, the same rules, and the same standards.
    3. The Community Redevelopment Agency is hereby abolished.

  4. Mayor Bradley was a great leader for Los Angeles. He protected the City. Where is that leadership today? Is it going to be any of the mayoral hopefuls?? Controller Wendy Gruel? Supervisor Zev Yaraslavsky? Councilman Eric Garcetti? Councilwoman Jan Perry? Councilwoman Janice Hahn? We need the public protected from any money spent on a stadium. And we certainly don’t need to spend money on tearing down and rebuilding the convention center. We need to get our police and fire departments back to full strength. We need our libraries and parks back providing programs for the public. We need to keep our electric and water rates down. We support this ballot measure. And don’t let them change a word of this. Every word they change will be tens of millions of dollars of the public’s money.

  5. We are our leaders?? This is crazy that the City would even think of subsidizing a stadium. We need leaders like Mayor Tom Bradley and Councilman Joel Wachs back. They worked hard to protect or City.

  6. The City is closing libraries. The City is reducing fire department services. The City is laying off employees. The City is reducing Park programs. And AEG and Tim Leweke want to have the City pay to tear down the convention center, build a new one, help fund his stadium, and cost downtown businesses and the City tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t understand why anyone thinks giving money directly or indirectly for a stadium makes any sense. I support the proposed ballot measure. And if the Council will not put it on the ballot exactly as you have written it, we should have the citizens collect signatures to put it on the ballot. Every neighborhood council should support this.

  7. The Mayor declared a financial emergency earlier this year to raise DWP rates. He talked about the City being on the verge of bankruptcy. Now the Mayor wants to give money to a football stadium. What is he thinking.? We need to stop this. Not a penny for a stadium. And we do not need to tear down the Convention center or any part of it to help the stadium. Let’s not be fooled. We cannot afford to give up any taxes or other revenues for this stadium. We need iron clad guarantees of not a penny of public money. In fact, they should pay Los Angeles for the privilege of being in LA.

  8. We need leadership in Los Angeles. Where are our Council leaders? We know the Mayor will give everything away. Where is the City Attorney? The Controller?

  9. The Los Angeles Times is asleep at the switch. They write dozens of articles about Bell and LA is giving away tens of millions of dollars. Amazing to see a newspaper like the Los Angeles Times fall this far. It’s time to turn of the lights. If they can’t figure out that public subsidies for football stadium is wrong, then there is no reason to keep publishing the Editorial page.

  10. I think we should all look to start an initiative to stop this idea of giving money to a developer of a stadium. I know I would sign up for it.

  11. I find it remarkable that the City would think about tearing down parts of the convention center. They have hundreds of millions of dollars of debt on it. It was designed by one of the great architects. It generates millions of dollars for the businesses downtown. It creates thousands of jobs. And we know that the taxpayers will be left holding the bag. Bad idea that needs to be stopped. Use the Coliseum. Use the Rose Bowl. Build it in Cucamonga. We don’t need to spend taxpayers money for this.

  12. Our political leaders are great. They tell us that the City is nearly bankrupt. Then they want to give millions to developers like Liewike to build a stadium. Mayor Tom Bradley would never have let this happen.

  13. I don’t understand people like Wendy Gruel. She says she is here to protect the public and to safeguard the city money but she never really does anything. We need leaders who will protect us from rate increases at DWP. We need someone who will stop giveaways like Hollywood. And we need to make sure not money for a football stadium.

  14. Think about this. They want to build a football stadium with NO PARKING!! That is crazy. When was the last time you tried to find parking downtown. And imagine what it will cost and who is going to make those millions and millions of dollars every game. Can’t wait to see tail gaiting in those fancy office building parking structures.

  15. Every LA City council person should be made to read two books: “Major League Losers” by Mark Rosentraub and “Bad Sports” by Dave Zirin. “Major League Losers” outlines case studies where various cities tried to keep their sports teams by using all sorts of contorted methods and mixtures of state an local funding. In “Bad Sports”,Zirin outlines exactly who these sports franchise owners are and what they hope to achieve. The bottom line: the owners could care less about the fans. All of the owners are after one thing: something for nothing or what some would call corporate welfare.

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