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Volume 24 No. 116

Facilities Venues

     TX State Rep. Ron Wilson said he will introduce a bill
during the coming legislative session that would mandate a city-
wide referendum on a domed stadium in Houston.  Wilson would not
say how a domed stadium would be financed, though he was adamant
that no taxes be increased to fund it.  Wilson: "For the city to
be a viable economic entity in this state and this country, we
are going to have to have a vibrant downtown.  I firmly believe
that part of that is going to be a major sports facility downtown
to attract tourists and to attract development in the downtown
area."  Wilson added that his plan for a dome will allow the city
to "completely build, own and manage" the complex (John Williams,
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/12).

     The Washington, DC, chapter of the AFL-CIO "dismissed" a
plan by BET President Bob Johnson to build a privately funded
sports arena, "citing the executive's labor practices" and lack
of commitment from a pro franchise.  Johnson will announce
details of his plan today to build a $170M multi-use arena in the
District.  The group said that employees of Mr. Johnson who
"tried to organize a union or work for better pay and improved
working conditions were harassed, treated improperly or even
fired."  Joseph Westbrook, a technical director at BET, said he
didn't think Johnson had the ability to build an arena, adding
"he does not have the labor relations.  Our working conditions
are not the best" (Matt Neufeld, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/13).

     Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke's "six-year odyssey to find a
new home for his Washington Redskins was dealt another setback
yesterday" as Robert Wilcox, a local administrative hearing
officer, released a "sharply worded" decision denying a zoning
exemption to build on industry land in Laurel, MD.  Wilcox said
Cooke's property is "too small for the proposed use" of a 78,600-
seat stadium.  Wilcox decided the stadium would attract 4,000
more cars than Redskins officials predicted, "overwhelming" area
roads.  Redskins' traffic estimates of 3.5 ticketholders/car were
deemed "without merit" and Wilcox criticized the Redskins for not
submitting economic impact studies to prove community benefits
from the $160M stadium (Neufeld & Flynn, WASHINGTON TIMES,
10/13).  Stadium Project Manager Walter Lynch said the team will
study whether Wilcox's prediction of 3 ticketholders/car can be
accommodated with additional road improvements.  Lynch also said
the Redskins traffic estimates were based on a plan to require
fans to show parking passes or public transport tickets to enter
games, encouraging car pools (Dan Beyers, WASHINGTON POST,
10/13).
     BACK TO DC?  Redskins officials filed an appeal "hours after
the decision" and Cooke issued a statement calling it "arbitrary
and capricious."  Cooke said he still intends to "vigorously"
pursue a stadium in MD (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/13).  But Cooke
spoke yesterday with DC mayoral candidate Marion Barry "about
keeping the team in [the District] after all."  Sources close to
the Redskins say the team "probably wants to assess the results
of the election before deciding whether to move forward in Laurel
or seriously examine other sites" (Dan Beyers, WASHINGTON POST,
10/13).  Barry said he will probably meet again with Cooke
"sometime next week" and that Cooke asked him yesterday if it
would be possible to "overcome the congressional and
environmental opposition" that led Cooke to look outside DC last
year.  Barry: "I'm prepared to do all we can do, including
tearing down RFK if necessary."  DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes
Norton said building on the RFK's current site would allow the
city to circumvent Hill approval because DC already has rights to
the property.  Edward Zukoski of the Sierra Club Legal Defense
Fund, speaking for groups opposed to building near RFK, called
renovating RFK "a win-win situation for the team and the
community" (Kovaleski & Henderson, WASHINGTON POST, 10/13).
     POLITICAL LANDSCAPING:  While MD Gov. William Donald
Schaefer, a consistent opponent of the Redskins moving to MD,
leaves office after this year, Democratic gubernatorial nominee
Parris Glendening said he hopes that Cooke "will return to
Washington or seek state help in finding a new site."  Republican
nominee Ellen Sauerbrey said she "wouldn't view this as good
riddance.  This may be the only way Maryland gets a major league
football team."  Sauerbrey did say she wouldn't "turn the
government upside down" to get the Redskins (Katherine Richards,
Baltimore SUN, 10/13).
     COMMENT:  Tony Kornheiser writes, "The pendulum has swung
back.  The only place you can build a new stadium is where all
the stadiums used to be -- in the cities" (WASHINGTON POST,
10/13).  But Michael Wilbon notes that DC "is the last city left
dragging its feet" to build a stadium downtown (WASHINGTON POST,
10/13).  An editorial in this morning's Baltimore SUN states that
Cooke "ought to reconsider staying in Washington" (Baltimore SUN,
10/13).  Ken Rosenthal: "Go home, Redskins" (Baltimore SUN,
10/13).   Citizens Against the Stadium (CATS II) President Jeanne
Mignon said, "Common sense ruled," and added that CATS would
continue fund-raising to fight the Redskins appeals.  (Katherine
Richards, Baltimore SUN, 10/13).

     Packers President Bob Harlan said the team won't renew its
lease at Milwaukee County Stadium, where the team has played part
of its football schedule since 1932.  The team will play a full
schedule at Lambeau Field and "take full advantage" of the luxury
boxes and financial stability of their own facility.  County
Stadium lacks luxury skybox seating, and Harlan said the Packers
have lost $15M playing in Milwaukee since 1985 and "would lose
another $12M in the next four years."  The 46,000 season-ticket
holders at County Stadium will be offered season-ticket packages
at Lambeau Field that will include an exhibition game and two
regular season games.  Harlan: "We are abandoning our ballpark,
but we are not abandoning our fans."  Brewers Owner Bud Selig
said the Packers' move will help both clubs in the long run, as a
baseball-only park in Milwaukee will reduce the cost of a new
facility (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/13).

     A request for C$3.7M by the group trying to keep the Jets in
Winnipeg was scaled back to C$1.5M by a city committee.  The
Manitoba Entertainment Complex, a group of almost five dozen
entrepreneurs, is trying to use the "pool of private capital" to
market a new arena for the Jets.  The 16-member city council will
vote on the request at a special meeting on Friday.  Winnipeg
Deputy Mayor George Fraser said if the money proposal isn't
passed by the council, "the deal collapses and the hockey team
has the message they should be on the market" (CANADIAN PRESS,
10/13).  Councilman Al Golden, considered the "swing vote" on the
council, issued an ultimatum to the group in exchange for his
support of the marketing of the new arena.  Golden said he'd
contribute the city's 36% share in the Jets, but not a cent of
taxes, along with a commitment by the team to stay in Winnipeg
for at least 25 years (Bill Redekop, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/12).

     Ed Anderson, Maricopa County's "chief baseball official," is
under fire after flying to view big-league stadiums aboard a
plane owned by a "company that is negotiating a multi-million
dollar contract to oversee construction of a new facility in
downtown Phoenix."  Anderson believes there is nothing improper
about accepting the travel from Huber, Hunt & Nichols after they
already have a $60,000 contract to survey stadium sites and
provide estimates.  They are "currently seeking a contract
extension of $4-$5 million to manage construction of a
retractable-roof baseball stadium."  A public group claims the
trips Anderson took to Toronto, Dallas, and Cleveland to look at
their stadiums show an "overly cozy relationship that could be
dangerous to taxpayers."  Barbara Cooper, the interim county
administrator, said she cleared the trips and "didn't consider
this to be outside of ethical guidelines" (David Schwartz,
ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/12).