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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

L.A. City Council Has More Important Issues to Address

November 03, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

The Los Angeles City Council voted, 10-3, Friday to enter into the public record that the Raiders are not welcome back. Considering the bad feelings Al Davis left behind when he returned his team to Oakland, I'm surprised the Raiders scored a field goal.

But as much as I might share the Council's skepticism of Davis, there were a couple of problems with the vote's timing.

One is that Davis has not yet asked to return to Los Angeles. I'm sure many people aren't welcome here--Saddam Hussein, for example--but, until they actually try to come, shouldn't the City Council spend its time on issues such as schools, crime and that congestion on Broadway that makes it hard for me to get to the office?

More significantly, the vote was taken a mere three days after a group representing Los Angeles made its pitch to NFL owners for an expansion team.

There are reasons the owners might prefer Carson if they decide to put a team here instead of Houston, foremost among them that they wouldn't have to run the obstacle course presented by L.A. politics.

They've been there, done that twice before when they had the Rams and Raiders at the Coliseum and they look forward to doing it again the way they do their next prostate exam. The last thing City Council members should be doing now is reminding the NFL of how meddlesome they can be.

There is something else for the City Council to consider. It's possible Davis will prove in court that he has rights to the L.A. territory, or settle with the NFL to that effect, and decide to bring the Raiders back.

If so, it will be in the best interests of the City Council and its constituents to deal with him. They are part owners of a stadium, the Coliseum, that could use a tenant on Sundays during the NFL season.

Davis' problems here weren't all of his making. He was wrong to take his team out of Southern California, but he was right to leave the Coliseum because promises to him by his landlords, including the city of Los Angeles, were broken.

One councilman who seems to have a grasp of all the issues is Nate Holden, maybe because he and Davis often bump into each other in the gym where they work out. In response to some of his colleagues' arguments during Friday's debate, Holden reportedly could be seen shaking his head and muttering, "You just don't know."

Indeed, the majority of members seemed so unaware of the implications of their vote that they made Holden seem rational. That's not something you see every day at City Hall.

*

For once, I agree with the coaches, who have UCLA ranked fourth, instead of the writers, who have the Bruins ranked third. . . .

Only in spurts have they looked like national champions. . . .

One way to look at their failure to dominate is that the Bruins have so much talent they believe they can turn it on whenever needed. . . .

Or maybe they aren't all that talented. . . .

They've been good enough to win all their games, which means they are pretty good, but they haven't been as impressive in doing it as Ohio State, Tennessee or Kansas State. . . .

Either way, if the Bruins continue to play as they have the last couple of weeks, they'll finish with at least two losses. . . .

If nothing changes in the BCS rankings, the Rose Bowl could match the unbeaten Pac-10 champion, No. 3 UCLA, against an unbeaten Big Ten co-champion, No. 8 Wisconsin. . . .

That would have been the Jan. 1 game in Pasadena even if the Rose Bowl hadn't become part of the BCS. . . .

We interrupt this column to bring you the news that the L.A. City Council has voted not to welcome the Kings to the Staples Center until they score a goal. . . .

The Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation's Second Life Dinner is scheduled for Sunday night at the Hyatt Newporters and the Campanella Golf Classic for Monday at Pelican Hill. . . .

Among those honored at the dinner will be former Dodger catchers Mike Scioscia, Steve Yeager and Rick Dempsey. . . .

Scioscia became No. 1 in the line of succession for the Dodger manager's job Monday, when he accepted their Albuquerque offer. . . .

With Davey Johnson in the dugout, it's never too early to start thinking about that. . . .

The Cubs' deal with Rod Beck for two more years, keeping him out of the free-agent market, makes it's even more imperative for the Dodgers to sign Jeff Shaw. . . .

This just in: The L.A. City Council has voted that the Clippers are welcome to continue playing in the city but can no longer use the name Los Angeles.

*

While wondering if maybe Bourbon Street isn't such a great address for Kerry Collins, I was thinking: Al Davis must really be letting Jon Gruden coach the Raiders, the guys at your garage would be like Jeff Gordon's pit crew in a perfect world, read it and weep--the NBA season would have opened tonight.

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