EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Tim Leiweke’s NFL team — if he gets one — should be called the “Angelenos” as the email blast he sent out announcing release of the draft EIR promises his football stadium will benefit “Angelenos 365 days a year” and urges the public to “support approval by spreading the word to all Angelenos.” (Leiweke-EmailBlast) Go Angelenos, go, win one for Leiweke but only if you call yourself an Angeleno.
Call it the Big Chill for LA, an “economic nuclear winter for the city,” says Mr. Big, Tim Leiweke, if he doesn’t get his way to enhance the spectacular wealth of himself and his hermit boss Phil Anschutz by building a football stadium in the heart of downtown.
Arrogant con man that he is, you have to feel at least a little sorry for Leiweke just before he released his 10,000-page environmental impact report on Farmers Field.
“Leiweke was stressed” LA Weekly’s Hillel Aron reported after interviewing the AEG before the EIR was released. “Jacket off, slumped in a chair, drinking a Coke, he didn’t seem like president of a firm with the biggest footprint downtown, maybe even citywide.”
“There’s a lot of people shooting at us,” Leiweke says. “We still have a lot of controversy about, Can we do it? Is this the right place? Is this the right vision? Do we even want an NFL team?”
No Tim, there’s no evidence people are hoping and dreaming for the return of football — except for the selfish union and business interests (like yourself) who hope to profit from it — as much as they are praying their car would fall into a giant pothole or sinkhole and that an ambulance will arrive in time if its does.
It hurts his hermit billionaire boss about as much as a grande latte to us peasants but Leiweke has spent $45 million on designs and plans for Farmers Field and $27 million on an EIR and that doesn’t count that cost of buying City Hall and the legislature.
Worst of all, the EIR is as big a disaster as confirmation last week by Jason Cole at Yahoo sports that NFL sources think the whole deal stinks because AEG wants all the profits, something that doesn’t sit well with greedy team owners.
What’s really funny about the EIR is it doesn’t fulfill the promise Leiweke made to get the state legislature to gut the environmental protection process for him by promising record-breaking use of public transit.
“That law requires that AEG operate a stadium with fewer car trips than any other NFL facility in the nation,: the LA Times quotes company officials saying at Thursday’s dog-and-pony-and-cart stunt to show what the 17-volume EIR looked like as it was delivered to City Hall for rubber-stamp approval within the next 45 days.
“Fewer car trips than any other NFL” is a tough standard to reach when more than 30 percent of fans going to Target Field in Minneapolis and more than a third coming to San Francisco’s AT&T Park arrive by public transit.
The best numbers Leiweke’s team could come up with is 18 percent coming by public transit on weekends and 27 percent on weekdays.
And even to get to those numbers, the con man had to admit: ”We have to change people’s habits from the day they buy their first ticket to Farmers Field.”
Yeah, right Tim, you even left the LA Times laughing at you with that one, saying you “sound more like a starry-eyed urban planner than a hardball negotiator” claiming you you’re going to bring about “a dramatic change in the behavior of L.A. sports fans.”
The B.S. was so deep after selling that crap, you must have needed a hot shower and a whole new outfit.
Actually, the EIR there will be 19,000 more vehicles flooding the streets and freeways around downtown for football games. Sounds like fun alright.
AEG’s generosity includes spending $35 million on transportation improvements, including $10 million to upgrade the Blue Line station on Pico Boulevard and $2.4 million to plan an additional lane on the northbound 101 Freeway between the downtown four-level interchange and Alvarado Street in Echo Park.
If I read that right, it means “plan,” not build, the taxpayers will pay for that and a whole lot more. Note the added lane on the 405 Freeway through Sepulveda Pass is costing nearly $1 billion, which you are still claiming will be the cost of your dome-less maxi-pad stadium.
Here’s how the Times describes the traffic nightmare the stadium will cause:
The company also plans to upgrade traffic signal controls at 73 intersections and widen crosswalks in a dozen locations. Yet even with those investments, downtown would see “significant, unavoidable impacts” at dozens of intersections.
After Saturday games, such effects would be felt at 42 intersections. Before weekday games, that number would grow to 72, the report said. The project also would have significant effects on freeway onramps after AEG put its traffic management plan in place. That includes six locations on weekday evenings and as many as 11 on Saturdays.
“No feasible physical improvement mitigation measures were identified for these impacts,” the report said.
Then, there is Leiweke’s answer to requirements for a tailgating area before and after games.
The Weekly reported Leiweke’s solution: “Use Gil Lindsay Plaza, a forgettable slab of pavement between Staples Center and Pico Boulevard, in front of the would-be stadium. The plaza would become, in the words of Leiweke, ‘the largest, best tailgating party in all of L.A. 15,000 people could step off a light-rail car, walk over to Gil Lindsay Plaza, and choose from iconic food vendors including, wait for it … Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles!”
And Jon Regardie of the Downtown News added this Leiweke comment on the tailgating venue: ”“It does it in a way where we don’t have to worry about it becoming nothing more than a drinking event, ’cause we don’t want that,” Leiweke said. “We will not allow that to happen here…. The one thing we don’t want is another Bryan Stow incident.”
Great high-priced food from vendors paying AEG huge fees instead of a shrimp on the barbie and no beer — sounds like quite a tailgating party to me.
There are a few other problems like the glare at night all over the LA Basin from stadium lights and 30 giant digital billboards — 14 facing the freeway.
Minor problem, said Leiweke, there will be “green building” features like energy efficient lights and an “up-to-date” air conditioning system at the stadium and rebuilt Convention Center.
The clock is ticking on this time bomb. Only 44 days left to comment. So read the 10,000 pages and give them an earful at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the Tim Leiweke Laughing Club.
No matter what happens, Leiweke is sure he will have the last laugh even if the stadium deal falls apart because shallow as he is, way down deep he is altruistic and loves and cares about you and more than anything wants to see that white elephant Convention Center become a huge success despite the lack of any supporting evidence.
“Will we then turn our attention to how do we fix the Convention Center without a football stadium? Yes. Because as a community, as corporate leaders, and from a political standpoint, even the leaders at City Hall will tell you we have a real problem with our Convention Center. We have a West Hall that’s 40 years old that needs $80 million worth of improvements and we don’t have it. We have to go fix that. If we don’t fix it, our problem will not be how do we get to [a] top five [convention destination]? Our problem will be we’re going to slide back to where we were before the JW Marriott opened, which is 26th in the convention business.
“That will be an economic nuclear winter for this city.”
So why aren’t we spending $80 million to modernize the Convention Center? Because Leiweke’s plan is for the city to borrow what is getting close to $400 million to rebuild part of the Convention Center so he can bring more customers to his heavily subsidized LA Live and JW Marriott project.