Forced once again to spend 90 minutes of their precious time in circling around the issue of honest, open and thorough public debate on AEG’s NFL stadium/Convention Center deal, the queen of downtown subsidized development ended the discussion succinctly.
Perry not only had the votes,she had a point.
Nimbly dancing on both sides of the debate, President Eric Garcetti — Perry’s wannabe mayoral rival — made a solemn promise that despite all the political gamesmanship going on, he would devote the entire session on Friday July 29 to a full and complete airing of where the negotiations are, what the terms are and allow adequate time for public scrutiny and debate as well as for the Council to thoroughly examine the deal.
Leiweke’s drop-dead deadline of July 31 for Council agreement on a memorandum of understanding will not be recognized by the Council, Garcetti assured.
CLA Gerry Miller went further and suggested AEG only wanted a tentative agreement with the negotiating team by July 31 and knew along the Council and the public would need more time, though a deal needed to be cut before the Council breaks for vacation later in August.
Even that might be hard to achieve with the city so far unable to get AEG’s billionaire owner and Denver Broncos fan Phil Anschutz to guarantee the city taking on some $300 million in new Convention Center debt in addition to the $450 million it still owes and costs $45 million a year from the general fund, money that would restore library, parks and fire services if the Convention Center ever was able to pay its own way.
In fact, the word around the Council horseshoe for the handful of us ordinary citizens who came to support Rosendahl was that nothing has been finalized despite six months of negotiations.
The lack of progress and the lack of the city’s preparedness to negotiate what Council members on both sides agreed was the most important issue of their terms as the nation’s highest paid elected city officials was dramatized by the need to approve up to $1 million for outside advisers on financial and bonding matters.
AEG is paying the bill and negotiators swore the company had no role in selecting the advisers although no one on the Council was satisfied with answers to questions about the who, what, where and why they were chosen.
In the end, Perry got her way to continue running her ad hoc committee on the stadium without the state open meeting law in force but remains committed to being transparent at the two meetings planned over the next two weeks.
Still, she buried Rosendahl’s motion in the wastebasket with the support of everyone but Krekorian, Koretz and Huizar. The majority included Garcetti and newcomer Mitch Englander who did his best imitation of Cardenas’ insulting questioning technique of asking bureaucrats really stupid questions to get really stupid answers because we the people are the really truly stupid ones.
Harder to get around is the problem of how often NFL stadiums are a financial disaster for local government, as the Wall Street Journal reported today and increasingly frequent questions asked even by the gadflies about what is in this deal for the city, direct benefits that will end the bleeding of city services and punishment of city workers.,
The IBEW and Building Trades Council shared none of these concerns, arguing to a receptive City Council that they know enough already to approve the deal sight unseen even if they know nothing except it will create temporary jobs for electricians and constructions workers.
They are undoubtedly right. This was a done deal with the mayor and key players a long time ago. The MOU — non-binding as they insist it is — will be approved and AEG in company with city officials will orchestrate adoption of the environmental report a year from now and the NFL will come back for a third try in L.A.
The Convention Center will remain a w
hite elephant bleeding the city dry and as Richard Alarcon noted, the Los Angeles Chargers-Vikings-Bills-Jaguars had better be winners on the field or the NFL will take leave of the city a third time.