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Magic Johnson for Mayor: Let’s Stop Pretending

Calling the charade that passed for the City Council’s debate on AEG’s stadium deal a dog and pony show does a disservice to both canines and equines.
Dogs and ponies would have howled and snorted if they found themselves part of such event where the house was packed with union and business types with their hands out hoping to catch some of the cash being bestowed by Tim Leiweke in his divine benevolence on the peasants of the realm.
The Queen of Downtown Development, wannabe mayorJan Perry, set the tone at the outset of the Council’s long-awaited former unveiling of the deal by asking all those who support the AEG’s stadium/Convention Center plan to stand up and cheer. Her rival for such office and occupancy rights to Getty House, Eric Garcetti, made the same point at the start of Public Comment by counting the speaker cards: 42 for, 7 neutral, 2 against.
Then, he agreed with babbling Tom LaBonge’s suggestion and limited comment to one-minute per person, maybe two minutes at most. 
At that very moment, Earvin “Magic” Johnson miraculously, or magically at least, materialized out of nowhere and was given the podium. The one-minute clock never started as Magic offered God’s blessing to one and all, offered praise for how well the Council is doing God’s work and assured believers and non-believers that what AEG plans for the city is proof positive of God’s love us, and this City of Angels.
With that, he offered a final blessing and revealed that it is his business partner, Tim Leiweke, is the one chosen to lead us to this promised land where our great love for football will again find voice in the roar of the crowds at Farmers Field.
Poor Vince Ferragamo was assigned to follow Magic’ opening act. But it didn’t matter. AEG already has won the day. 
Mitch Englander embarassed himself by wishing out loud that he good vote to approve the deal right then instead of waiting a week. 
Only Paul Krekorian asked tough questions but seemed content with the same kind of non-answers that Bill Rosendahl has gotten.
To their credit, the city’s negotiators, Miguel Santana and Gerry Miller, have moved the terms of the deal with AEG from a complete giveaway of the public’s wealth to ultra-conservative Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz to the point where it’s only a substantial giveaway.
With the ball teed up for elected officials to squeeze out a real share of the profits from this deal. it would impossible not to think what County Supervisors like Zev Yaroslavsky, Mike Antonovich or Gloria Molina would have done under the same circumstances. 
Quite simply, the mayor and City Council are leaving a fortune on the table.if Leiweke’s boasts about how much this will mean to the city’s economy, the tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, the millions of tourists, the new luxury hotels, the booming Convention Center.
Officially, right there in the negotiating documents, the deal is barely profitable, returning just 6.9 percent in profits on its investment to AEG.
Why the fracking gas driller and oil wildcatter could make nearly that much taking his entire $7 billion kitty and putting it in the Bank of China down the street from Staples Center.
That is the big lie at the heart of the deal. Anschutz might give away millions to charities and right-wing causes but he doesn’t invest his money in projects with prospects for paltry rates of return.
What was obscured by the AEG-paid city consultant CSL — a company that has been involved in 15 stadium deals on side of owners as well as governments — is that Anschutz’s actual investment will turn out to a fraction of the $1.2 billion thanks to the NFL and the two teams he will bring to L.A. and the profits will be enormously higher with the 40 or digital billboards that will adorn the stadium and rebuilt Convention Center.
For all their experience, the CSL consultants have a long history of under-estimating the actual cost of stadiums to local governments. In this case, the issue of costs to the public for freeway, street, transit and other infrastructure improvements were not even looked at so the cost-benefit analysis is meaningless, just numbers on a sheet of paper.
This was a done deal a long time ago and nothing will stop it or redefine the terms to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. Maybe it’s time we stop kidding ourselves. Big business, big labor and big government have become inseparably united, an irresistible force.
Let’s just turn over the whole city to AEG and Tim Leiweke and the man of the hour, his business partner Magic Johnson.
Who better than Magic to be our next mayor? He’s rich and famous and has God on his side.
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23 Responses to Magic Johnson for Mayor: Let’s Stop Pretending

  1. Anonymous says:

    Damn, if these clowns want to be Mayor and its been nothing but a dog and pony show I vote for BRUNO for MAYOR. What a bunch of cowardly bastards!!! We are doomed with this type of BS going on in city hall. These clowns are impressed with the Smurfs for God sake so what does that tell you?? Lil Mitch Englander is nothing more then a whip for uncle Harvey the biggest lobbyist in the city. He was put in office to do what he’s told and shut the hell up. Not one of the imbeciles on council had any intelligent question to ask. Rosendahl has showed his true colors being another flip flop. Add to insult “”Friday, Mayor Villaraigosa reiterated his plan to have a blue ribbon commission, headed by mayoral aspirant Austin Beutner, review the financing plan.”"
    NOTHING BUT CORRUPTION AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. WHERE ARE THE FEDS, DA, US ATTORNEY???? DO WE NEED AN OUTSIDER TO COME CLEAN HOUSE??

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Dirty Politiccs!”
    We have heard of this happening, but we have been victims since Vilaragosa took office.
    Victims? What else would you call what is happening right now – all over the country?
    Ron, you are a first-class reporter and editor.

  3. OCbear says:

    Magic Johnson and Leiweke should be arrested for fraud! We do not want a stadium in the barrio. The city of Grand Crossing is a better location for us, the real people of Southern California.

  4. Jake Gittes says:

    Forget it, Ron, it’s Chinatown.

  5. Anonymous says:

    LA has been sold by the latino-labor coalition to the crook Lieweke & God of mammon, Earvin Johnson.
    Time to break up the city. Most of us want no part of this evil, unholy coalition that has doomed our city.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Give it up, Ron, it’s a done deal.
    You can take your fancy city planning and wish list for utopia and stick them back in the Valley, because this is what it takes, like it or not, to make a world class city, world class.
    You are so right, Anshutz does nothing for free; it is not in his DNA. His returns will be huge. The real question is, what does LA get?
    Two teams, some Super Bowls, a lot more business that otherwise wouldn’t come here, new better hotels for conventions, and lots of conventions, tons of them. Oh, and JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.
    So, if letting a billionaire make another pile is the cost of a lot of jobs, it sure beats all the money Obama has given away and produced nothing at all.
    Whatever works.

  7. Ron, this column of yours should be published nationally, so all Federal taxpayers can see what is happening here Southern California. When Bail-Out time comes your columns will serve to educate the rest of the nation that this City is being run by the sinking Ship of Fools.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The AEG deal should be taught in every MBA class. How the capitalist system allows a few to become wealthy at the cost of impoverished taxpayers. I’m not sure if it should be taught as a quick-rich scheme to future capitalists or as an ethics class of corruption where billionaires, politicians & labor united to take a share of the taxpayer pie. The latter would have meaning only if some of them went to jail.

  9. Bob G says:

    Well, we have half a century’s experience to show that cities do not make money on NFL stadiums. They take up a lot of space and sit unused for much of the year, and the paying jobs are at low wages and only for a few days a year. The major money is in television revenues for the owners; some of that is filtered down to the players and coaches. I don’t think that a big city pays its librarians from hot dog taxes levied 16 days a year.
    But there are studies and books published on this subject that demonstrate these facts conclusively. I sent the names of two recognized experts to Janice Hahn’s office when this thing was getting ramped up. I got a pro forma thank you note for the email from a staffer. Obviously, these experts were not invited to testify.
    What the rest of us are going to get from this are another couple of dozen days of traffic jam per year at the junction of the 110 and the 10. Let’s remember that when Perry and Garcetti run for mayor.
    As for the idea that thousands of people are going to spend money on the local hotels, this seems fairly unmerited. Most season ticket holders for NFL teams are local, so it is unlikely that there will be much revenue to downtown hotels during the regular season. We can expect some revenues during the playoffs, but this is an unpredictable thing, and the likelihood that a local team gets through two rounds of home-team playoffs is putting a lot of money on a probability that is low on the average. More likely, any home team we get is likely at best to lose on the road in the first round. This is not an attempt to be negative about the home team chances, but to represent as accurately as possible the long term averages for the entirety of NFL teams.
    And of course the city council is just fine with giving away hotel and concession taxes as part of the deal, which pretty much negates the whole argument anyway.
    One observation from a more distanced perspective: The Los Angeles downtown area is in the wrong place to generate tourist traffic, since it is far from a major river intersection, beach, 14th century cathedral, or other natural draw. What’s left is the chance of creating entertainment, nightlife, and other sorts of partying, and these already have heavy competition from other parts of town. Santa Monica is a more natural site for this kind of tourist business and probably should have been the place for the capitol of Los Angeles starting from the beginning. The historical basis for siting the pueblo of Los Angeles where it is goes back to other factors that are fairly irrelevant nowadays. The problem for the rest of us is that the area between the 10 and the 101 along the 110 is now a chokepoint for much of our traffic; to put another traffic obstacle right there is dumb beyond belief. If the city mothers had started out by building high speed heavy rail rapid transit through that area, and running to the valley, the coast, and the harbor, then it would make a lot more sense to site a new stadium along the route.

  10. anonymous says:

    Each politician that votes for this (which will be all of them) will say how they created jobs and helped the city’s economy. It’s a facade and a terrible one that will drastically change our city.
    Now, remember that motion a while back? If I read it right, all the jobs will be civil ervice jobs-as in unions. That means more pensions and more union power. This is the merging of the two-a few elite plus the unions.
    I don’t think this is capitalism. It’s something else-not quite sure what.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Downtown LA is the second largest government center in the country, which means day-time jobs & an empty civic center by night. This will never change. The area around LA Live & South Park has some promise and with increasing residential can be made lively with a residential support base to utilize services in that area. With the largest skid row in the country & a generally filthy downtown, it is highly unlikely to become Manhattan, Paris or even San Francisco, the promoters would have us believe. There is little to attract tourists, and the best we could do is to use tax-payer money to clean up the place & provide housing for the homeless, so that it is safe for the locals. Is it not amazing that the locals in a LA County of about 10 million people with more spending power than any imaginary tourist to downtown are completely ignored in this scenario.
    Nowhere in this picture, does a football stadium fit or enhance the area. It is a dumb give-away to a rich man by even dumber politicians for short-term construction jobs & long-term hot dog & peanut vendors as demanded by the labor queen Durazo.

  12. Joaquin Murrieta's ghost says:

    The city gives away millions to a Republican guero from the original red state to try and make central LA safe for white real estate investors and in return MAY get some penny-ante service jobs; great, that’s really what is needed – more parking lot attendents, fast food cooks, servers, maids, and bartenders.
    The old eme that runs City Hall are selling their people out for a lot less than 30 pieces of silver.
    If LA actually has $300 million to spare, there are a lot better places to spend it, that could actually generate jobs that all have some sort of future – eds and meds, even manufacturing and assembly jobs – not trying for the umpteenth time to “revitalize” downtown.
    Leave the Latino, Korean, and Chinese merchant class and RE investors alone; they bring more people in and out of central LA everyday than any of these idiotic entertainment venues.
    And Englander? You idiots in the valley deserve the nino; his lips are permanently affixed to Harvey’s culo and he can barely see over the steering wheel when he’s driving his black and white – a chihuahua barks with more authority.
    Vaya con dios, ciudad de los angeles – lo necesite.

  13. Joaquin Murrieta's ghost says:

    The city gives away millions to a Republican guero from the original red state to try and make central LA safe for white real estate investors and in return MAY get some penny-ante service jobs; great, that’s really what is needed – more parking lot attendents, fast food cooks, servers, maids, and bartenders.
    The old eme that runs City Hall are selling their people out for a lot less than 30 pieces of silver.
    If LA actually has $300 million to spare, there are a lot better places to spend it, that could actually generate jobs that all have some sort of future – eds and meds, even manufacturing and assembly jobs – not trying for the umpteenth time to “revitalize” downtown.

  14. Wayne from Encino says:

    Whose paying attention to these Gangstas and MOVING OUT OF L.A? In the last 10 months, the cheapest home listing for several cities in VENTURA COUNTY have went up 10%!!! Huh? In a depressed Housing market?
    Fortunately, the homeowners (who God willing, to quote Mr. Magic, isn’t upsidedown in their house) can MOVE, or MOVE AND RENT OUT TO SCUMBAGS who will PAY FOR THEIR NEW HOUSE OUT OF L.A. CITY!
    This seems the only solution now. So if you’re thinking about this strategy, BETTER RUN, NOT WALK!
    Then we’ll have the L.A. County “Local income tax” that the DumbO’Crats in Sacramento are brewing up for us poor bastards. If this passes, home prices overnight will take an EXTRA 10-20% hit DOWNWARD.
    Suggestions for you, the Slaves and Peasants of L.A who are going to move out of L.A:
    1/ Make sure AFTER REDISTRICTING that your CONGRESSMAN, STATE SENATOR, STATE LEGISLATOR, MAYOR, AND MAJORITY OF CLOWNCILMEN ARE REPUBLICANS OR INDEPENDENTS!!
    2/ Make sure the sales tax is THE LOWEST POSSIBLE IN THE REGION YOU MOVE TO
    3/ Have at least a 50″ LCD T.V. in your new Non-L.A. home as you’ll be able to watch the destruction of L.A. (your old home) live in vivid DTV (be sure to have extra popcorn and beverages too.
    Redistricting, however, will cause S.F. and L.A. TO LOSE 6 CONGRESS SEATS!!! YIP-FRIGGIN-YE!!
    Lastly, for Christ Sakes (again quoting Minister Magic) after you move away PLEASE VOTE FOR TEA BAGGERS AND CONSERVATIVES AND NO ON ALL TAXES. OTHERWISE, IF YOU (STILL) CAN’T HELP IT, STAY IN L.A. You’ll have to protect your new homebase from the criminal Angelinos who will flee to your areas and try to take over (again.)
    Nevada had this happen to them. Oregon suffers from this deluge of new dummies voting away paradise.
    The Slaves were freed by a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT. Now, YOU’RE A SLAVE, but you’ll HAVE TO FREE YOURSELVES ONE HARD WORKING SANE PERSON AT A TIME. Happy (self)Emancipating!

  15. Valley Gal says:

    Like, AEG being able to pocket city or state- imposed taxes sounds like…soooo illegal!
    Where’s a pro bono lawyer when we need one?
    As for Magic, his God, Anshultz, Perry, et al: Gag me with a spoon!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I will say it again and again why isn’t the local media reporting any of this???? The gangster Mayor, his bafoons on council are taking the city for a ride. Its time for all the neighborhood councils to finally DO SOMETHING. The clowns of Perry, Garcetti, Greuel, etc want to be Mayor. The NC’s need to expose them on their websites and this corrupt deal. When the LANCC invites them to their meetings stop kissing their asses. When the City Alliance invites them or the Valley, West etc Alliance invite them stop kissing their asses. Have respect and dignity for the people You represent and slam them for this corrupt deal. Magic Johnson since endorsing the Gangster Mayor years ago has profited and received millions of deals and contracts. This year he received a $30 million concession contract at LAX. We need to post this on national web sites.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Having already purchased the occupants, we may as well sell City Hall to AEG for a few bucks. Liweke can manage it and it will pay for itself with a giant supergraphic wrapped round it with the message “AEG and Magic Johnson are Gods – of Mammon”.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It is beyond scary to know that only AEG in this City is being given this much attention. To the CPA’s out there how much money do you think with all these meetings, politicans working on our dime etc. has our City spent on the AEG NFL deal? To the attorneys can anyone file a public document to find out how many FREEBIES AEG has given to all the politicians and Failure of a Mayor? We know AEG has donated to Perry, and others campaigns now and in the past so isn’t that a bribe so to speak?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I received this email this morning advising for everyone who was blind copied to email the NFL and tell them about the corruption here in LA with the AEG deal and tell them we don’t want a team right now until the mess is more transparent. We are the taxpayers of Los Angeles and our political reps are doing a shitty job giving in to Tim Lieweke and Anshultz and we will pay for it.
    http://www.nfl.com/contact-us

  20. Anonymous says:

    With the ball teed up for elected officials to squeeze out a real share of the profits from this deal.
    The City only gets money out of its constituents; not any one else and they certainly couldn’t squeen any more lemon juice out of this one.
    Speaking of football. It’s a great game and I am so happy many young Americans can make it. But at the same time the injuries they suffer. So God has been good, but not good enough for some.
    God is good when people get jobs. But man can make those jobs permanent if more investment is made. Not just, only for Unions. AEG if U hear me.

  21. Anonymous says:

    1. Magic is to cozy with the City. The LA City pension system is invested in his Canyon Partners. And the Mayor appointed the President of his company to the pension board. He then stepped down due to conflicts only to be put on the DWP Board. And hey Magic…mention every team but the Sparks ??

  22. By Files says:

    I find the whole celebrities-running-for-office thing disturbing. Because you know they’re going to win, but who knows a thing about their politics? I realize elections are primarily about image anyway, but the idea of someone who has a recognizeable, pretty much untarnishable image already in place can really corrupt democracy. Tom Cruise could probably make a serious run for president, and scare the crap out of anyone who’s ever read anything about scientology.

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