SBD/September 8, 2011/Facilities

L.A. Coliseum Will Pursue New Lease With USC That Could Give School More Control

Agreement could grant USC lead role in running L.A. Memorial Coliseum
The L.A. Memorial Coliseum Commission yesterday voted to "pursue a new lease with USC that could give the school greater control over the stadium, the home field for Trojans football," according to Lin & Pringle of the L.A. TIMES. L.A. City Council member Bernard Parks said that the 8-0 vote "calls for an agreement that could grant USC the lead role in running the Coliseum, but there is no guarantee that the school would win exclusive use of it." Parks: "Nothing has been offered, nothing has been agreed to. This starts a dialogue" (L.A. TIMES, 9/8). ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi reported an agreement is "expected to be reached within 90 days and would give the university the exclusive right to use, manage and operate the stadium." USC officials contend that if the school gains control of the Coliseum, USC "will begin plans to return the Coliseum to the condition that made it the home of two Olympic Games and two Super Bowls." USC Senior VP/University Relations Thomas Sayles: "Our goal is to ensure that the facility continues to be a long-term asset for the community and for the university. ... We hope that through these negotiations the parties can agree upon a long-term lease that allows the Coliseum to be restored to its former glory" (ESPNLA.com, 9/7).

REMIX THE COMMISSION? The L.A. TIMES' Lin & Pringle report the Coliseum Commission "did not take any public action" yesterday on Parks' "demand that the panel fire the Coliseum's top two executives and two other staffers because of a widening scandal involving questionable spending and the private business dealings of stadium managers" (L.A. TIMES, 9/8). An L.A. TIMES editorial stated, "In a region rife with embarrassing governmental mismanagement, the chief embarrassment has become the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, the mishmash of appointees charged with running the historic Coliseum and the relic Sports Arena." As the nine commissioners "squabble and backbite, their lax oversight and lack of accountability have turned a public asset into a money trough for its hired managers." The editorial stated Park is not wrong in proposing "another round of ousters of Coliseum management." But the "real sweep ought to be of the commission, which should be restructured into a smaller board of people who will not look the other way as the public, and its historic landmark, are being fleeced" (L.A. TIMES, 9/7).

REACHING FOR THE ENDZONE: In L.A., George Skelton notes AEG officials "have reached the legislative red zone" with their plan to build Farmers Field, but "time is running out." This year's legislative session is slated to end tomorrow, and "one of the heavily lobbied bills in play would fast-track legal challenges" to the proposed downtown stadium. The measure "passed the Assembly overwhelmingly on Wednesday and moved to the Senate." Skelton writes, "If AEG should come up short, it won't be the fault of any legislative dysfunction. It would be the fault of AEG for delaying the legislative process by not announcing its specific proposal until last Friday" (L.A. TIMES, 9/8).
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