L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan said Wednesday he will fight an
effort to lure the Raiders to a new 65,000-seat stadium at
Hollywood Park in Inglewood, CA, and concentrate on improving the
L.A. Coliseum. While acknowledging that the possibility of a new
stadium in L.A. is not likely, Riordan thinks the Coliseum can be
a competitive venue: "I'm not going to give up on the Coliseum.
... With all of the environmental and other problems, it's hard
to think of another really good site in the City of Los Angeles."
Riordan said the city could improve the Coliseum site with
"renovation, the addition of luxury boxes and improved safety in
Exposition Park." Riordan brokered the deal to keep the Raiders
at the Coliseum in 1991, and thinks the Coliseum Commission needs
to prove to the NFL and Al Davis that the promised upgrades will
be delivered: "They have an open mind. They haven't said no.
But they effectively keep saying 'show me.' And we think we can
show them." NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello said the
league thinks "their is still a chance the Coliseum can be
improved," but is still looking at possibilities for a new
stadium. Aiello: "We haven't ruled out anything and we'll
continue to talk to Mayor Riordan on these issues as we continue
to try to see a new stadium built in Los Angeles or a stadium
that meets the needs of the teams." Hollywood Park Inc. board
member Harry Ornest: "The mayor and other politicians aligned
with the Coliseum are desperate. ... The whole world knows that
Raiders attendance is adversely affected because of the
outmodeled, ill-placed Coliseum" (Mark Katches, L.A. DAILY NEWS,
MA Gov. William Weld told reporters yesterday that a
possible $700M megaplex in Boston with both a convention center
and sports stadium is "stronger than ever before now that you
have the possibility of the Patriots and Red Sox playing in the
same facility being actively discussed" (Richard Kindleberger,
BOSTON GLOBE, 12/22). Weld said a convention center should be
the top priority when the MA Legislature reconvenes in January
(Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 12/22). However, Weld said he
would sacrifice the stadium being a part of that complex if that
was the only way to reach an agreement on a convention center.
Weld: "I am in favor of anything at this point, anything."
Supporters of the megaplex might have a hard time pushing through
a stadium as part convention center as both MA House Speaker
Charles Flaherty and MA House Ways and Means Committee Chair
Thomas Finneran have opposed spending money on a sports stadium
(BOSTON GLOBE, 12/22). Flaherty led the opposition to a failed
bill last year that proposed a stadium study (Primack, BOSTON
SUMMIT? Weld and Boston Mayor Tom Menino are discussing a
possible summit between state and local officials in January to
help get an agreement on the megaplex. Flaherty supports the
idea: "I think it is time to bring all the parties together and
hash it out" (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/22).
Fairfax County, VA, residents who discovered that a proposed
ballpark for a possible MLB expansion team could be in their
backyards weren't overly enthusiastic. On Tuesday, county
officials identified 12 locations where a stadium might be built
if the area is awarded an expansion team. The reaction from
neighbors and even owners of those sites ranged from
entrepreneurialy optimistic to angry. Mike Davini, who sits on
18 acres nearby a proposed site, would welcome a stadium if
there is something in it for him: "It would be fine as long as
they pay us for the inconvenience." Areas included in the
proposal include an area adjacent to the large shopping mall
complex at Tysons's Corner. County officials want a stadium to
be near current or planned public transportation lines and will
try and avoid sites with wetland or pollution problems. The
county is expected to narrow the search to two or three sites
within a month (Bates & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 12/22). VA
resident groups have successfully opposed other major
developments in the past, including a new Redskins stadium in
Alexandria and Disney's America theme-park in Haymarket.
The area around Yankee Stadium was included as part of one
of six "empowerment zones" across the country that will receive a
$100M federal development grant for neighborhood improvement.
Officials hope the grant, along with tax breaks, will lure
business to the area and create economic development. Both the
city and state have agreed to match the funding (Christopher
Policiano, N.Y. POST, 12/22).