Hooray to the producers, directors, writers (whoever they are) for a masterpiece of political propaganda in the televised finale to the greatest steal in the history of Los Angeles – at least since the water that made all this possible was stolen from the desert.
City Council’s meeting Friday was a work of pure genius from the opening to the finale — a story of hope and promise without suspense since it was is a done deal before it was even made public two years ago.
That is not to say that they – the unknown producers who scripted this three-hour mockumentary to truth — didn’t create a powerful narrative with cameos by local icons and power players chosen for their resonance is so many diverse “cohorts,” as they like to call groups of people.
AEG MOVIE ACT TWO: ”LA — Open for Business Or Up for Sale”
They honored the military, felt the pain of a mother grieving for a son killed by gang violence, brought out Roz Wyman who helped bring our beloved Dodgers to town with Peter O’Malley offering heartfelt praise and finally giving belated recognition to William Cartwright who helped save the Watts Tower from destruction.
Spliced into all this was a 15-minute commercial for Time Warner Cable’s achievement of buying up the rights to televise Lakers games so it can charge fans high fees to watch what they have always gotten for free.
Those were just opening acts that had no reason to be on the Council agenda except to touch us where it feels good so we’d be in the mood for the real show to begin with our highly paid bureaucrats proving beyond a shadow of doubt that unquestioning obedience to the power structure is an absolute necessity requirement to keep their jobs.
Then it was Master of Ceremonies Herb Wesson’s turn. Bursting with pride and joy, he brought Mr. Big Tim Leiweke to center stage and gave long introductions as if he was the announcer at Staples Center to the men who would vouch for his character and the greatness of his plan for Farmers Field — UCLA and Laker great Kareem Abdul Jabbar and USC and NFL quarterback Rodney Peete.
History was being made and the Council Chamber overflowed with hundreds of students bused in from all over town, union members, football fans, even a few dissidents.
Leiweke was all aglow in his moment of triumph, forcefully presenting his fantasy of a Convention Center that now gets a quarter of the conventions of San Diego and a sixth of those in San Francisco suddenly leaping ahead of them to the top rung of cities like New York, Chicago, Las Vegas.
Millions of tourists will be dying to come to downtown LA, to the rebuilt Convention Center and Farmers Field with two NFL teams, NCAA Finals, World Cup, Super Bowl, and every other major event in the world of sports and entertainment will be the talk of the nation and the whole world.
Kareem and Rodney swore he was speaking the truth although it seemed like Peete lost his way, perhaps from being sacked so often during his 16 years with six NFL teams.
As if that were not enough theater, labor boss Maria Elena Durazo, labor bully Brian D’Arcy and Central City Association promoter Carol Schatz added their credibility, such as it is, to Leiweke’s scheme.
It wouldn’t have been complete without giving free unpaid advertising time to Farmers Insurance, which is putting up a huge chunk of shareholder and policyholder money to make this all possible.
For those who think this was all a setup and AEG’s owner Phil Anschutz always intended to sell his company as soon as City Hall enriched its value with entitlements that add billions of dollars to its value, Leiweke made a point of laughing merrily as he sat in the audience with the next principal owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group, Patrick Soon-Shiong, LA’s richest man and the world’s 47th richest.
Surely, his ownership entitlement will allow him to change the company name to something more generic, perhaps Billionaires Entertainment Group or BEG.
COMING SOON: Act Three of “LA –Open for Business Or Up For Sale.”