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Holden May Seek Initiative on Arena

October 11, 1997

Saying a proposed downtown sports arena is still not a good deal for Los Angeles, City Councilman Nate Holden said Friday he is considering launching his own initiative drive to give the public a chance to vote on the project.

At a news conference, Holden blasted council colleague Joel Wachs for agreeing to a new financial deal with the developers, who own the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. As a result of that agreement, Wachs decided to exempt the proposed arena from an initiative drive he was planning.

But Holden questioned Wachs' motives, saying the councilman had been "deceptive."

"What did he do? He crossed a few more Ts, dotted a few more I's, and called it a good deal," Holden said. "That's a lie."

Wachs defended his position, saying the new financial agreement dramatically reduces a taxpayer subsidy and will be a much less risky venture for the city.

"We got the greatest arena deal in the country with no subsidy from the general fund," Wachs said.

Under the new deal, which must be approved by the City Council, the developers would guarantee repayment of $58 million in municipal bonds and pay for a piece of property the city was going to donate to them.

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