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Field of Schemes: Crony Capitalism Is Alive and Well in L.A.’s Pursuit of Pro Football.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Troy Senik,a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom and a contributor at, wrote this article for City Journal. 

By Troy Senik, City Journal

California, a state whose greatest innovation in recent years has been finding creative ways to inhibit economic growth,
stepped out of character in late September: it went easy on a
developer. Seated at a table outside the Los Angeles Convention Center,
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill expediting the resolution of legal
challenges to–and thus speeding the construction of–Farmers Field, the
stadium that, its backers hope, will usher in the National Football
League’s return to the City of Angels.

Thumbnail image for nfl stadium.jpg

This is the latest step in L.A.’s nearly two-decade-long effort to
exorcise the Ghost of Christmas Past. The yuletide in question was in
1994, when both of the region’s professional football teams–the Los
Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Raiders–played their final games in the
Southland on Christmas Eve. By the time the next season rolled around,
the Rams had decamped to their new home in St. Louis, and the Raiders
had retraced their steps northward, departing downtown L.A. for Oakland,
the city that they left in 1982.


The plan even manages to debit taxpayers in other states. Los Angeles officials in February used
$1 million in federal community-development grant money–earmarked for
“the most vulnerable in our communities”–to move the architecture firm
working on Farmers Field from Santa Monica to a location near the site
of the future stadium. The highly questionable idea was that a new
stadium would produce enough economic benefits to qualify as a public
good, though the experiences of similarly situated cities in the past
have almost universally disproved that supposition.

When Governor Brown signed the bill speeding up the AEG project, he
said, “There are too many damn regulations, let’s be clear about that.”
He was certainly correct about the excesses of California’s regulatory
regime. But he ignored the fact that the same bureaucracy that impedes
stadium projects with stratospheric price tags also chokes off prospects
for much smaller businesses throughout the state. While enormous
corporations like AEG and Roski’s Majestic Realty can grease the
legislative skids to make their development projects viable, small and
midsize entrepreneurs enjoy no similar source of relief. Removing those
burdens for all Californians, at a time when the state’s
unemployment rate is stuck above 12 percent, would demonstrate a serious
commitment to jump-starting economic growth. Removing them for just a
privileged few is nothing more than crony capitalism.


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5 Responses to Field of Schemes: Crony Capitalism Is Alive and Well in L.A.’s Pursuit of Pro Football.

  1. James McCuen says:

    This is where the Federal Government needs to step up to the plate and investigate LA’s use of Federal, State,and local funds on projects such as Cirque du Soleil/CIM Group/Kodak, Midtown Crossing, and Harold and Belle’s.

  2. Wayne from Encino says:

    Perfectly stated—Add the Molly’s Hamburger/Vine St. SCAM; the Bonnie Brae Project, and the $800,000,000 RFK school for mostly poor kids and families with a huge drop out rate and a soaring deficit. Let’s not forget the ‘Belmont Learning Center” Fiasco; then the too-small LAPD jail and the HQ; Then add the Leased space for LAUSD personnel and the attempt to sell the parking garages and parking meters. Can the NFL really pull up a team and move it into this corrupt sewer? NO WAY! And that’s why the Roski Plan can’t get the team either. Too much corruption, too many hands in it, and not enough of a job base to have a SOLID season-ticket holder base to draw from.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, they sre “using” positions never intended
    to be and totally dishonest. HAVE WE NO RECOURSE?

  4. Anonymous says:

    We have no recourse because the voters continue to re-elect them. These fools drive to the polls complaining about the atrocious roads and then vote for the councilmen responsible for the atrocious roads.
    We get the “leadership” we merit.

  5. Anonymous says:

    the LA Police Foundation which normally honors LAPD officers at their True Blue event is honoring the scum bag Tim Lieweke. Chief Beck is no better then the Failure of a Mayor. To add insult to injury the event is at LA Live. Could this entire dog & pony show be any more corrupt. Now Chief Beck is using his own officers for political gain too. No wonder why officers are embarrassed to call him their Chief. Let’s see which media outlets have the guts to go after this story

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