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Lots of big questions remain about proposed AEG stadium project

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.

You can take super-salesman Tim Leiweke’s word for
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
public service.

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
city.

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
downtown.

We’ve only got Leiweke’s word for it.

(READ FULL STORY)

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21 Responses to Lots of big questions remain about proposed AEG stadium project

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a citizen and tax-payer for the last 45 years,why don’t we just say: “No, thank you, Mr. Leiweke.”

  2. Bob Weinstein says:

    There are plenty of issues in Industry too. This article left out many of the positives of having the stadium downtown and just takes the easy out of “not in my backyard”. Many other cities have successful downtown stadiums and Staples(another AEG project) has been wonderful since its opening in 1999.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ben, AEG can go about it just as you and I would have to do, pay for it – be my guest. But I do not think we should have to take the risk while you folks profit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bob W,
    Football Stadiums are not built in downtowns because they are only used a few days a year.
    And the notion that big conventions will come to LA because of a large stadium is a fallacy. How many conventions does the Colosiem or the Rose Bowl get?
    Lieweke wants to take a big part of downtown and wall it off from the rest of the City, the way they have done with LA LIve and The Staples Center. It forces people to stay in the area. It does not fit into Downtown at all.
    Staple center STINKS.
    Its cavernous and elitist.

  5. Ms.Anonymous says:

    They can have their walled off part of downtown for themselves and their “elitists,” but they better damn well pay for it themselves.
    The tax payers want nothing to do with it!

  6. Anonymous says:

    When Anschultz guarantees the bond instead of expecting the taxpayers of Los Angeles to guarantee then maybe just maybe some of us will consider. Until then everyone I know is saying NO NO NO NO. Perry can kiss her Mayoral candidacy out the window. She blew it and showed she’s nothing more then a pr gal for AEG and the hell with the taxpayers. There hasn’t been any transparency in this deal. I hope there will be 1 rep from every NC in this city opposing this in council. If not they should all resign

  7. Jeff Freedman says:

    Ron Kaye’s opinion on Farmers Field is grossly incorrect.
    From everything that I have seen AEG and the City have been working hard to get this deal right.
    This project will not only put ppl back to work but will do it in a way that the City and the region’s economy are the real winners. This project will generate new taxes for our schools, parks and public safety while bringing conventions, major events and football to Los Angeles.

  8. Jeff Freedman says:

    Ron Kaye’s opinion on Farmers Field is grossly incorrect.
    From everything that I have seen AEG and the City have been working hard to get this deal right.
    This project will not only put ppl back to work but will do it in a way that the City and the region’s economy are the real winners. This project will generate new taxes for our schools, parks and public safety while bringing conventions, major events and football to Los Angeles.

  9. Jeff Freedman says:

    Ron Kaye’s opinion on Farmers Field is grossly inaccurate.
    From everything that I have seen AEG and the City have been working hard to get this deal right.
    This project will not only put ppl back to work but will do it in a way that the City and the region’s economy are the real winners. This project will generate new taxes for our schools, parks and public safety while bringing conventions, major events and football to Los Angeles.

  10. LA_1968 says:

    Have you guys ever heard of negotiating?
    Think about all the taxes the city will get off of ticket sales, construction, labor, event labor, concession sales, advertising and more.
    AEG is supposed to pay billions for the whole thing and let the city kick back and let the tax revenues roll in?
    All AEG is trying to do is get some breaks from the city because the city stands to gain a ton of tax revenue. It’s called negotiating.
    Elitist are people that assume we can’t loan some land in exchange for some jobs. Elitist is thinking California is an in-demand location for out of state companies.

  11. J Kelly says:

    Who do I have more faith in to do something productive for the city of Los Angeles, Tim Leiweke or the LA City Council? I’ll take my chances with Leiweke. This city has been paralyzed dealing with the NFL because it’s stuck with the Coliseum (which the city won’t loosen its grip on and allow private sector efforts to convert to a useful yet historical facility). We deserve an NFL team or two and AEG is the group to make a run at it. Commenters say that Staples is elitist!?! Would you rather being going to the Forum or Sports Arena to watch NBA basketball??

  12. Anonymous says:

    You AEG lapdogs read this. AEG and council keep saying this will create jobs. What happens to all those 1,00o’s of guys once the job is done. UNEMPLOYMENT
    Read it and weep…..Longtime Anschutz rival challenges plans for a Los Angeles stadium
    Anschutz and Billy Bob Barnett are also battling over competing entertainment complexes in Texas. The rivalry could affect events in L.A.
    Texas businessman Billy Bob Barnett says he wants to protect you, the taxpayer, from an NFL stadium proposed in downtown Los Angeles.
    Barnett, who once ran a honky-tonk billed as the world’s largest, has enlisted California lawmakers to place tough restrictions on the stadium project thousands of miles from his home. That way, his lobbyist says, it won’t become a boondoggle unfair to Angelenos.
    Never mind that Barnett, a 6-foot, 5-inch former Chicago Bears defensive end, is locked in a bitter feud with the man behind the stadium plan, Philip Anschutz. The two have been battling over the prospect of competing concert halls in the Lone Star State.There, in the city of Irving, Barnett wants to build a $250-million entertainment project 10 miles from an existing complex owned by Anschutz’s firm AEG. Anschutz is helping to bankroll a lawsuit that could derail Barnett’s plan.Now the fight has moved to California, where Anschutz’s supporters say the Los Angeles stadium project would create much-needed jobs.
    click to continue
    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-me-stadium-20110724,0,1792561.story

  13. Anonymous says:

    J Kelly,
    The Forum over Staples Center any day.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Here is a suggestion to AEG, Jan Perry, the Mayor & other supporters of a football stadium. Such folks believe that a downtown stadium will be the greatest boon to LA similar to stadiums elsewhere. Why not share the boon with investors all over the country. Set up an investment/mutual fund where people can invest their money/life savings into a project where there are no negatives and the potential to riches enormous. This is only fair. Put your money in a cause you believe in & reap the risk/rewards. If the risks are high enough, you may even get CALPERS to invest. They know a good investment just like the Madoff investors. Win, win situation for those lucky investors. Leave the LA taxpayers alone.

  15. G Milburn says:

    While it is understandable that taxpayers do not want to be on the hook for a publicly financed stadium, the deal is clearly a net positive for the City of Los Angeles. The stadium is privately financed (as opposed to many other cities), LA gets a new convention center hall with the bonds (that puts it on par with many of the top convention cities in the country), and downtown gets an additional 1400 new parking spaces. This activity will drive new real estate development around the stadium and create both construction and long term jobs. I have talked to many business owners who are completely satisfied at how the Staples Center enhanced the downtown area over ten years ago and I believe this will do the same.
    I don’t see a smoking gun here. AEG has been transparent with the public in their communication about the project. Some deal terms have changed, but that is to be expected in any negotiation. As a native of Los Angeles, I support the proposal and look forward to more updates on this project.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This country is wrapped around the world with military operations, world domination and economic failure, just like the CityofLosAngeles

  17. Anonymous says:

    It’s always about the Profit, not the common good

  18. ddbear says:

    Nobody wants a stadium in Skid Row. The City of Grand Crossing is a much better site for families wanting to watch football. I hope Mr. Barnett can derail this garbage and I hope Leiweke is arrested for fraud.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Here is a link to the MOU so that you can look at it independently: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2011/11-0023_rpt_cla_7-25-11.pdf

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’ll post it again if this is such a wonderful, great deal then all council members as representatives of the People of Los Angeles need to ask Anshultz to GUARANTEE THE DAMN BOND. This way the taxpayers aren’t stuck with the payments. If he continues to say NO like he has you gotta ask yourself why??? Why not guarantee the bond money?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I can only hope that there is a special place in hell for Jan Perry & the Mayor, since the agencies like FBI, DA & AG have failed us. Such people should be punished for their corruption. Can’t blame AEG. They are doing what capitalists & billionaires do. Get richer at the expense of the tax payer. It is our city custodians who’ve failed us.

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