SBD/September 28, 2011/Facilities

California Gov. Signs Bill Fast-Tracking Lawsuits That Challenge AEG's L.A. Stadium

Law should allow Farmers Field project to remain on schedule for '16 opening
California Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday "signed a law that will fast-track lawsuits challenging" AEG's proposed Farmers Field in downtown L.A., according to Dakota Smith of the WHITTIER DAILY NEWS. Brown's signature "marks the end of a yearlong lobbying frenzy" by AEG, which had indicated that its $1.3B stadium proposal "would collapse without protection from lengthy and complicated lawsuits." Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in '09 "signed a similar bill that [benefited] Ed Roski Jr.'s proposed $800 million stadium project in Industry." Brown said he was backing the law because the state "has too many damn regulations." Politicians already are "looking at the law to see what local projects could fall under the legislation" (WHITTIER DAILY NEWS, 9/28). ESPN L.A' s Arash Markazi noted although Brown's signing of the law "is a huge victory for AEG because the expedited process would bypass the Superior Court and avoid the protracted litigation AEG has been fearful of, it doesn't change the fact that it will still take close to six months for any case to be decided." AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke expects to file the environmental impact report for Farmers Field "by June 1." Markazi noted Leiweke "would like to break ground that day but that's not going to happen." Once the EIR "is filed, the clock begins on legal challenges and if one is filed within 30 days it will likely not be decided on until November 2012" (, 9/27). In L.A., Linthicum & Farmer note with the stadium deal in place, AEG "must focus on its next and most critical step: luring a team." Leiweke in recent weeks has "met with the owners of several NFL franchises," but an AEG spokesperson "would not say which ones" (L.A. TIMES, 9/28).

FORWARD PROGRESS: In San Diego, Matthew Hall notes Brown's signature "could be a boon for plans to expand the San Diego Convention Center and build the Chargers a new football stadium in East Village." Darren Pudgil, Communications Dir for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, said, "I'm gratified that San Diego's stadium project will be given the same considerations as L.A.'s project." Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani said, "The precedent has now clearly been set to expedite major, job creating projects, and we hope to take full advantage of that precedent with our downtown stadium here in San Diego." But Hall notes despite "assurances from Chargers officials that the team wants to remain in San Diego, speculation has mounted for months that the team might eventually relocate to Los Angeles" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/28).
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