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L.A. to NFL: We Prefer Combat Off the Field

June 19, 2002

Re "Football Stadium Plan Withdrawn," June 15: If Chicago can call itself "The City That Works," then L.A. can call itself "A City of Special Interests That Bicker Constantly Instead of Getting the Job Done." Over the past year I've seen more political infighting than I can possibly stand. What makes this so infuriating is that the city and its people suffer.

The L.A. City Council is bickering with the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau over the convention center business. The county is bickering with the city over a downtown redevelopment plan. The Valley wants to secede. Hollywood wants to secede. With Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on the county board it doesn't seem as if our transit system will ever get completed, a stadium built or our downtown revitalized.

Why is the county bickering with the Anschutz Entertainment Group over a downtown stadium plan (which ultimately killed the project)? Hello, Coliseum, are you listening? The NFL said, "No." Arrrrggghhh!

Nix our city-county government and give someone the reins. We need a Rudolph Giuliani, a Richard Daley. We need leadership--now!

Tony Hoover

Los Angeles

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So, Philip Anschutz and team appear to punt on third down. Is it a bluff, a razzle-dazzle end-around play to scare the city into going along with their plan? Mayor James Hahn seems to think so, but let's hope he is wrong. Opponents of the sugarcoated "no public funds involved" plan are right to be wary. First, using eminent domain to corral property needed for the stadium is a dubious use of that government prerogative at best. Second, floating a huge municipal bond issue to help finance the project is providing public funds, no matter how the pro-stadium advocates claim that it would be paid back via ticket and sales taxes. Bettors call that "betting on the if-come," always a dangerous venture.

Look who is clamoring for an NFL franchise: politicians who regard it as an ego-stroking prestige factor, Anschutz and associates who stand to make big bucks, wealthy corporations and individuals who can write off the cost of elaborate luxury boxes (escaping taxes lesser mortals must pay) and a faction of sports fanatics, most of whom will be lucky if they can afford to attend one game per season. Meanwhile, average fans won't even be able to watch home games on TV. Blackouts, you know.

Ken Fermoyle

Woodland Hills

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Thank you, Tim Leiweke and the AEG, for publicly announcing now that you are going to pick up your marbles and go home to Denver. Nothing could be better to hear. The people of Los Angeles don't need to fatten the coffers of the Anschutz group through the building of an NFL-style stadium just blocks away from our existing landmark, the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The NFL has not publicly stated in the last 10 years that it would like to be in Los Angeles, so let it woo us for a while. Let's play pro football again in a remodeled and updated Coliseum, which is the sports landmark and icon of Los Angeles. Let the AEG choke on the downtown land it owns and let the fat-cat NFL owners go dictate to some other city.

Mike Kreinman

Brentwood

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