Wed, Aug

Leiwieke for Governor

POLITICAL TRICKS - Tim Leiweke, president & CEO of the sports and entertainment companies known as AEG, and the point man on the Los Angeles football stadium, pulled off the political trick of the year last week.

He not only won a special exemption from state environmental laws for his plan to build a stadium in a downtown LA. He helped open up a major new hole in the law itself - a hole that will ease other big projects and change the political balance of power in the state.

The law's big winner, in fact, may not be football. Leiweke still has to convince a team to come to LA, and that won't be easy.

No, the big winner was the governorship, and its powers.

The new law enables the governor, with certain large developments that meet certain environmental and labor standards, to grant exemptions to the California Environmental Quality Act - CEQA.

Such a provision gives a huge political hammer to any governor interested in using it.

For one thing, anyone who might contemplate a major development in California will have to up their donations to governors and potential governors.

For another, the governor will be able to play in local and regional political and government with an even stronger hand than he (or she, maybe one day) currently has.

Using leverage to get a desired political outcome is a Leiweke specialty. Perhaps, once he's built the stadium, the sports and entertainment executive should try his hand at a job that he just made easier.

(Joe Mathews is Journalist and Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. This column was posted first at foxandhoundsdaily.com)

Tags: Governor, Tim Leiwieke, Leiwieke, CWQA, environment, downtown LA, Los Angeles, downtown stadium, football stadium, Los Angeles football stadium

Vol 9 Issue 73
Pub: Sept 13, 2011