Sat, Dec

AEG Stadium Waiver: Progressive Lawmakers Sell Out the People for Special Interests

DIFFERENT RULES FOR BILLIONAIRES — Make no mistake, the state legislature’s action [link] last week won’t just expedite development of a proposed downtown Los Angeles football stadium, it waives some requirements altogether under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the stadium is a good deal for taxpayers or is likely to produce promised benefits to the city’s convention center business. But there can be no disagreement that AEG got special treatment at the hands of our legislators:

● There is no requirement that the thousands of jobs promised in exchange for special treatment under the law will actually materialize, and no penalty if they don’t.

● The truncated judicial review process created to review any CEQA lawsuits against the downtown stadium project may be unrealistic and simply not work. If the process breaks down at certain points, it’s unclear how a legal challenge would be resolved.

● The law ties the hands of judges; even if they side with litigants on meritorious claims, their options for recourse will be limited relative to what the California Environmental Quality Act normally allows.

● The city alone, as the lead agency, can be held responsible for ensuring mitigation measures for traffic, pollution and displacement are adequate, implemented and enforced.

Lawmakers clearly went further than they had to go to do AEG a favor. As a consequence, groups such as the Coalition for a Safe Environment and Physicians for Social Responsibility have lost critical leverage to negotiate a community benefits agreement with teeth. Our so-called progressive representatives, among them Alex Padilla, John Perez, Mike Feuer and Bob Blumenfield, sold out.

Different rules for billionaires are not acceptable. This is not real CEQA reform. And neighboring communities may be harmed by the project’s negative cumulative impacts. Thanks for nothing, guys.

(Cary Brazeman, a CityWatch contributor, is a neighborhood council board member and founder of LA Neighbors United. Contact him at [email protected] or through www.LAneighbors.org .) -cw

Tags: AEG, Cary Brazeman, CEQA, California Environmental Quality Act, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Alex Padilla, John Perez, Mike Feuer, Bob Blumenfield

Vol 9 Issue 73
Pub: Sept 13, 2011