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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

     The CA Supreme Court yesterday rejected a challenge to the
expansion of Jack Murphy Stadium by a 5-2 vote, according to
Philip LaVelle of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE.  Top city
officials "hailed" the move as further "judicial endorsement" of
government use of lease-revenue bonds, "a popular method of
paying for major projects without two-thirds voter approval, a
requirement for traditional municipal debt."  The decision "opens
the door" for the delayed expansion project to begin -- "provided
City Hall receives the approval, currently being negotiated, of
Padres management."  City Manager Jack McGrory said if an
expedited construction schedule begins by early January, the
project could be completed by September 1, in time for the
Chargers' '97 regular season.  McGrory said San Diego's '98 Super
Bowl plans are still in tact (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/17).

     The City of Denver said Ascent Entertainment Group has
"ignored" six financial options for the proposed Pepsi Center,
while Ascent President Charlie Lyons countered that the city has
"broken its word" to the keep the talks secret, according to Lynn
Bartels of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS.  The city "publicly released
its latest proposal" to show it has made concessions to Ascent,
owners of the Nuggets and Avalanche.  Bartels reports the city
went public "to counter a growing opinion that Denver wasn't
working with Ascent" and was "forcing" it to the suburbs.  Ascent
President Charlie Lyons: "I've kept my side of the agreement."
Denver Mayor Wellington Webb wants Ascent "to help cover the
money Denver would lose if the team moved from city-owned
McNichols Arena to the Pepsi Center.  In a letter to NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman, Webb wrote, "We have reviewed Ascent's
plan of finance and we know that these options are feasible,"
adding he wanted to know by Friday "how we can move this deal
forward" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/16).

     A poll of 1,000 "high-propensity" L.A. resident voters shows
that "three-quarters oppose spending public money to build a
hockey and basketball arena -- or a hotel and entertainment
complex -- near the Convention Center downtown, and more than a
third would prefer to see the new arena built in Inglewood rather
than L.A.," according to Jodi Wilgoren in the L.A. TIMES.  The
poll, funded with $15,000 from three Inglewood-based
institutions, was commissioned by Councilperson Nate Holden, who
is viewed as "one of the most vigorous opponents" toward the
downtown project.  83% surveyed said local residents should vote
on whether the city should subsidize a new arena; "only" 31%
would like to see an arena downtown; while 38% "favored" a
competing site near Hollywood Park in Inglewood; and 31% did not
know.  L.A. Times Acting Poll Dir Susan Pinkus said the Holden
survey didn't ask "the most basic question," of "Should a new
arena be built at all?"  Pinkus also "criticized" the methodology
of the pollster, Claremont-McKenna College political science
professor Fred Balitzer, saying that "using prepared lists of
voters rather than random phone numbers skews the sample."
Balitzer defended his method: "High-propensity voters are a
window into the life of the electorate" (L.A. TIMES, 10/16).

     The Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) decided Wednesday to
proceed with the sale of bonds to pay for a new $168M Bucs
stadium because they "believe they will win their legal war" with
former Tampa Mayor William Poe, according to Joe Henderson of the
TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Poe has appealed to stop the stadium deal.  TSA
also approved a contract with Huber, Hunt & Nichols to build the
stadium.  The contract "calls for an initial guaranteed maximum"
price of $156M on the stadium, plus "about" $12M in architects
fees and other charges.  Huber, Hunt & Nichols will receive a $7M
fee which is equal to 4.5% of the project and can earn a $250,000
bonus if the facility is completed by September 19, 1998.  The
TSA also paid HOK $4M "to pay back charges owed" the
architectural design firm (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/17).

     An anti-stadium group, led by the Libertarian parties in
both Wisconsin and metropolitan Milwaukee, have asked U.S.
District Judge Thomas Curran to issue a preliminary injunction to
block the Brewers stadium project until their challenge to the
legality of the stadium tax is decided (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
SENTINEL, 10/17)....In Philadelphia, the city hopes to release
recommendations on stadium deals for the Phillies and Eagles by
the spring.  David Cohen, Mayor Ed Rendell's Chief of Staff:
"We've got our teams ... through the year 2011.  They ain't
leaving" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/17)....John Thompson, the
Browns "Big Dawg," is set to purchase a PSL for the new football
stadium.  Thompson: "I'm going to buy one, although $250 [the
cheapest PSL] is all I can afford" (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER,
10/16).