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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs — AEG’s Jobs Myth and the Environmental Impact Report Exemption

One of the most amazing
things about the depths of corruption of our politicians is how cheaply they
sell out the public interest.

Take the case of anti-gay,
anti-immigrant, anti-tax Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz – the wildcatting oil
and gas man, media entrepreneur and sports/entertainment mogul.

He has showered $1 million
so far this year on lobbyists to buy “access” at LA City Hall and in Sacramento
to get special favors for his plan to build a $1.2 billion NFL stadium downtown
on city land leased at below market value while getting to keep all of the
multiple revenue streams not committed directly to pay off city borrowing.

Now he wants exemption
from CEQA, the state’s environmental law blamed by some for stifling business
activity in California, beloved by others for protecting us from disaster.

The exemption is being
sought even before AEG has delivered anything to city planners except a letter
in March saying they were preparing an EIR.

“City officials filed the
AEG letter and began waiting for the documents and data required for a report
that could exceed 10,000 pages,” the Orange County Register reported
today
. More than five months later, planning department officials
are still waiting.
“We’re waiting for anything,” said Hadar Plafkin, the Los Angeles Planning
Department’s environmental review coordinator.

This is no small
matter. 

AEG wants to be legally
freed of anyone suing over the damage the stadium would cause to the quality of
life in Los Angeles no matter how inadequate or deceitful the study of traffic
congestion, visual blight or other issues the EIR is.

Without the right to sue,
nothing stands in AEG’s way since Anschutz’s super-salesman Tim Leiweke long
ago bought the docile obedience of the mayor and City Council with millions of
dollars in contributions to various funds they control and generous freebies to
events at Staples Center.

This year alone, Leiweke
has spent $1 million enriching lobbyists to buy “access” to elected officials
in Sacramento and City Hall as well as hundreds of thousands more for lawyers
and public relations experts engaged in the process of manipulating the public
debate and the politicians.

AEG and its affiliates and
representative have been contributing heavily to state legislators as well with
a recent tabulation at Maplight.com finding nearly $100,000 was
given to 30 current Assembly and Senate members. 

The No. 1 recipient with
$10,500 in Anschutz money from 2003 to 2009 was Moorpark Republican Tony
Strickland. His wife Audra was fifth on the list with $7,300. They are among
the few Republicans on the list, showing this isn’t about supporting Anschutz’s
ideological nonsense; it’s about adding to his vast fortune.

Also among the top
recipients of Anschutz money are Assembly Speaker John Perez ($3,600); Senate
Leader Darrell Steinberg ($8,100); Kevin DeLeon, chair of the Senate
Select Committee on Sports and Entertainment that held a hearing Friday on the
CEQA exemption ($5,300) and committee members Alex Padilla ($10,100), Gil
Cedillo ($8,100), and, of course, Tony Strickland.

Strickland makes no bones
about where he stands, saying last February as AEG lobbyists and pitchmen
roamed the Capitol: “I told them they can
call on me. I’m going to do whatever I can.”
 

At the hearing
last Friday, he was so effusive he talked about how the stadium deal will
create 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs He even sent out an email blast afterwards
linking to an article on the hearing and adding this comment: 
“It’s a no-brainer … We’re in a crisis
situation when it comes to jobs.”

Strickland took the same position more than two years ago when he backed an effort to exempt the Club Nokia nightclub
at AEG’s LA Live from a state law that prohibits onsite advertising of alcohol
brands being sold at the club.

“At a
time when we have the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, this
bill will help bring more jobs, more people back to work in the city of Los
Angeles,” Strickland said in support of the bill by John Perez.

Jobs, jobs,
jobs – it’s all about jobs these days in the political lexicon because they
know we’re worried about losing ours and actually care about those who already
are out of work.

But how real
are the jobs AEG is generating?

Here’s what
they said in April LA Live has done for people looking for work: 2,436 “living
wage” jobs, 1,077 “tipped” employees and 183 non-living wage jobs for a total
of 4,064.

The 6,500 new
jobs claimed for the Farmers Field project are much the same — a point made Friday at the Senate hearing by the state Legislative Analyst Office which pointed out that the revenue generated by the football stadium will simply take money away from other entertainment venues, restaurants and bars with very little new money or real jobs.

Working for
tips and the living wage or less serving beer and sweeping floors do not solve
the real crisis in LA, the crisis of soaring poverty rates and the lack of
opportunity for hard-working people to have better lives.

Leiweke has orchestrated a
textbook campaign in political and media manipulation over the last year
complete with ultimatums that brought the entire City Council to its knees and now has the California Legislature under a Sept. 9 deadline to
give him what he wants – or else.

He dismisses as “crazies”
those who question why it’s a good to have a stadium adding to downtown’s
congestion and 46 digital billboards flashing off the stadium and the rebuilt
Convention Center that he will soon be running for his profit while the public
pays of $750 million on it.

He refuses to even talk to
the city-county-state Coliseum Commission about locating his football team
there until his stadium gets built in 2016, preferring to do business with the
University of Southern California – an institution that gets whatever it wants
from City Hall and is about to launch a $5 billion fund-raising drive that
Anschutz surely will be called on for help.

This isn’t about jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s about enriching a Denver billionaire and his pals.

The issue that matters is whether this stadium is good for LA, its people and its neighborhoods — and that takes a thorough and complete EIR and the chance for people to challenge it in court when the City Council rubber-stamps it without even asking a single hard question or getting a single honest answer.

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15 Responses to Jobs, Jobs, Jobs — AEG’s Jobs Myth and the Environmental Impact Report Exemption

  1. Anonymous says:

    AEG has already purchased all City Hall politicians and wants to add the EIR challenge to his shopping basket. Is our legal system for sale too? What’s left?

  2. Anonymous says:

    AEG has already purchased all City Hall politicians and wants to add the EIR challenge to it’s shopping basket. Is our legal system for sale too? What’s left?

  3. Anonymous says:

    What I find astounding is the kiss butt attitude our local newspapers and tv media has done on this issue. We should all start boycotting local media to teach them a lesson. ITs the Orange County paper who reports the truth. LA Slimes has editorial by Jim Newton on MAyor legacy, and story on Alarcon daughter. Are you freakin kidding me??? Then Daily News has a piece on Zine being voted best elected official. Are they crazy??? This folks is what we’re getting tabloid, bias journalism. Thanks to blogs like Ron the truth is told and spread like wild fire through blast emails. Keep up the great work!!! Now copy and blast this story out to everyone you know.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Then Daily News has a piece on Zine being voted best elected official. Are they crazy???
    When thye do that? I missed it but woould like to read it. Was it meant to be a joke? And if not, no wonder we are in trouble.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone been over to Mayor Sam’s blog recently? Ever since Higby disabled anonymous posting of comments the blog has fallen apart. I guess Higby no longer wants to be relevant in LA City politics.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As I step back from the AEG crusade to get the LA City Council and State Legislature to get all kinds of special legislation and exemptions from the laws for AEG, I am reminded of the days at the turn of the last century when the Southern Pacific Railroad and other monopolistic creeps were “buying legislation” in Sacramento.
    Apparently, Kevin de Leon is such a whore that he can be bought for a pittance. Meanwhile, the District that Kevin “represents” remains in crisis. The public interest be damned.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Take the case of anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-tax Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz – the wildcatting oil and gas man, media entrepreneur and sports/entertainment mogul.
    Honestly, when our politicans fail to punish those that want to harm our gays right here in Hollywood, in the Heart of Eric Garcetti’s district, using and hiding behind the Mormon Church, such son’s of a Bitches…
    Mr. Rosendalh, it’s a no brainer.. Hey Eric Garcetti what do you have to say about Phil Anschutz politic’s on GAY issues and the fight to Marry, his direct opposition .. to basic common deceny.. so why not call his what he is, a homophob. So if he is such a person although rich, the way to punish bad behavior is to say no. No to the NFL.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Both Mayor Sam & Street Hassle are becoming irrelevant. A writer’s monologue with no input is not worth anything they write. If they cannot be contested on sometimes their misinformation then they are no more than propaganda machines to further their own views.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That is true. It is the diversity of opinion that makes a blog like Ron’s interesting to read. Ron frames the issue like a newsman should and then readers often take it in a different direction….

  10. James McCuen says:

    @August 30, 2011 5:02 PM:
    You hit the nail on the head. This is downright corruption as it was when the Railroad barons ruled California. This launched the progressive reform movement.
    Believe me, Democrats and Republicans in CA aren’t even close to being part of a progressive movement or a reform movement.
    In addition to AEG blatantly buying their way, you also have what appears to be heavy coordination between the Mayor, State Senator Kevin de Leon, and Assembly Speaker Perez (the Mayor’s Cousin).
    Perhaps this would be a way for Gov. Brown to get even with the Mayor’s foolish criticism of Gov. Brown on Prop 13 and taxes. There is no lost blood there especially after Brown’s proposal to eliminate Redevelopment Agencies.
    Let see how much money it will cost AEG to buy Brown.

  11. JJ says:

    The lable of anti-gay are given to those who want the definition of marriage in our country to remain “the union between one man and one woman”, (even though a lot of them support domestic partnership and civil unions), or those who disagree morally with two people of the same gender having a sexual relationship in the same way they disagree with sex outside of marriage. Why are Mormons are blamed for this, when over 70 percent of Blacks and 60 percent of Latinos voted in favor Prop 8, very few being LDS. The Mormons are called “hateful”, but people of “minority” descent are just seen as “ignorant”. Love and approval are NOT the same thing, if it were, everybody would dislike everyone else because we’re never going to see eye to eye on everything.
    The term anti-immigrant is given to those who oppose foreigners coming to our country without going through the immigration process. As Dennis Miller puts it, “I have no problem with foreigners who cross our border, but at least have the decency and respect to sign the guest book.” Immigrants are those who go through the process legally and wait to become Americans and contributors to this country. Those are our immigrants, NOT those who break our laws and demand the government give them handouts and when that happens, they’re still ungreatful. Illegal alien is NOT a race, it is a legal status.
    The debate about the definition of marriage and the issue of illegal aliens will continue as it should. Whereever you stand on these issues, one thing we can all agree upon is that the City of Los Angeles is run by opportunists who will take anybody’s money and let’s not let ourselves get side-tracked by labeling those who disgree with us on certain social issues and get to the real problem and that is career politicians who are making all of our lives more difficult and keeping unemployment high.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @JJ
    Yes, these issues really coverup the common enemy – corruption.
    The bad guy isn’t AEG, its representatives, or its owners. Its the corrupt local and State politicians that are bought off so easily.

  13. Scott Zwartz says:

    The City Councilmembers do a lot of bad things, many of which are criminal. The one bad thing which they do not do is Elect Themselves. The voters approve of their actions.
    LaBonge was caught red hand in the multi-muillion dollars scam on behalf of a Chicago real estate developer in 2010. LaBonge and others promoted the SAVE the PEAK Bait and Switch Scam deceiving people worldwide into believing that the Hollywood Sign and the land around it was in grave danger. Neither was in any danger. The City could not raise $12.5 M to buy the nearby Cahuenga Peak so LaBonge and other pulled their Bait and Switch Scam right under the nose of the District Attorney and the US Attorney.
    Labonge bragged how he involved the school children in promoting his criminal enterprise and (almost) everyone at the HUNC meeting applauded.
    So we wonder why City Hall is filled with corruption. I think it has something to do with parents who k’vell when city officials involve their kids in criminal behavior. But, “it was all OK,” they justified, “because we really wanted the 140 acres on Cahuegna Peak.”

  14. Anonymous says:

    From LA Times:
    “Intensifying its push for an NFL stadium in downtown L.A., entertainment conglomerate Anschutz Entertainment Group launched an unusually direct and public attack on one of the most prominent critics of the proposal.
    Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich had planned for the county board to take a position Tuesday opposing AEG’s bid for special state protection against environmental lawsuits. But AEG revealed that his wife had been seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from the company’s affiliate in Shanghai, posing a potential conflict of interest.
    Antonovich abruptly abandoned his proposal Tuesday, canceling the vote and handing AEG a victory.
    The company has become increasingly aggressive in its arguments for the $1.2-billion stadium, putting pressure on state lawmakers to provide relief before their recess Sept. 9. Although the City Council gave a preliminary OK to the project’s financing plan earlier this month, AEG threatened to abandon its stadium plan unless state lawmakers approve legislation that would limit the company’s exposure to “frivolous” lawsuits”.
    We are dealing with a demon called AEG.

  15. Wayne from Encino says:

    ANTONOVICH is a fucking PUKE! I’m done supporting this scumbag as now we learn his wife double dips: FIRST WITH CHINA HELPING THE CHINESE SEND AMERICAN WORKERS TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE AND THEN AEG PAYING HER (AND ENRICHING THE ANTONOVICH LINE OF SCUMBAGS!)
    EVERYONE IS FOR SALE NOW===SO LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS HERE: IF AEG SENDS ME A CHECK (AGAIN FOR NO REASON AT ALL, PERHAPS AN ACCOUNTING ERROR) FOR $10,000 I’ll start going around L.A. SUPPORTING THE STADIUM DEAL!
    LET’S ALL JUST SELL OUT! RON SHOULD GET A CHECK FROM AEG (AGAIN ANOTHER ACCOUNTING PO POO) FOR
    $50,000 and then he can “reevaluate” perhaps his position on the Stadium deal?
    I mean, damn, they’re spending A MILLION PLUS FUCKING BUCKS ON HACKS AND LIARS AND CHEATS, WHY NOT LET SOME LITTLE TYKES LIKE US OVER HERE GET SOME PROPERTY TAX FUNDS?
    Then have City Hall cut a check for another $100,000 for MOVING MONEY so I can move the fuck out of AEG City!
    Ron, however, wouldn’t move: he’s going to stay in L.A. But for $110,000, I’ll rent a UHAUL!
    COME ON AEG—SPREAD THE WEALTH LIKE OBAMA ALWAYS SAYS—TAKE CARE OF THE BLOGGERS TOO!

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