EDITOR”S NOTE: Here’s the Op-Ed piece I wrote for Monday’s edition of the Daily News. Councilwoman Jan Perry — leading advocate for the stadium — is holding public hearings at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall and 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Van Nuys City Hall. On Friday, the full Council will take up the issue for the first time with approval expected by mid-August.
what the deal is for AEG’s proposed downtown football stadium — it just
depends which day of the week he’s talking and which side of his mouth
he’s talking from.
The proposal has shifted more times than the earthquake-prone ground beneath Los Angeles.
Back in December, Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, gave the
city 90 days to sign off on a deal. When that didn’t work, he issued an
ultimatum that he needed a done deal by July 31 or it is dead.
Now, the deadline is Aug. 20, unless there’s still 100
unanswered questions and enough public concern to allow for a full and
complete examination of what half a dozen City Council members have
called the most important decision they will make during their years of
The $1 billion stadium with a retractable roof will seat
64,000 – or maybe it’s 75,000 and really will only cost $850 million.
That’s barely half the cost of the roof-less Meadowlands Stadium in New
Jersey, and a third less than the domed Dallas Cowboys new stadium – if
you believe Leiweke.
AEG will operate the torndown and rebuilt white elephant
Convention Center – or maybe it won’t. It will guarantee the payments
for the $350 million the city has to borrow for the Convention Center
(or is it only $285 million?) – or maybe it won’t.
AEG will get the land for a dollar a year – or maybe it will pay fair-market rent. It will split the tax revenue with the city — or maybe not. It will keep all the money
from numerous digital billboards and the $700 million in naming rights
from Farmers Insurance — a company with a history of anti-unionism and
employee and customer lawsuits — or maybe it will share some with the
The one consistency in his story is that L.A. will be mobbed by
millions of tourists and conventioneers, tens of thousands of jobless
people will be put to work, luxury hotels will spring up all over town
and 100,000 people who actually live inside buildings will populate
We’ve only got Leiweke’s word for it.