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Council OKs Measures to Help Lure NFL Team to Los Angeles

June 22, 2002|SEEMA MEHTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Although private investors have backed out of building a downtown football stadium, the Los Angeles City Council approved several measures Friday aimed at luring the NFL back to town.

The council voted 9 to 1 to establish an ad hoc committee of council members and a working group of city agency staff members to evaluate stadium proposals.

The Community Redevelopment Agency was ordered to scour the 36 blighted areas it is revitalizing throughout the city for potential stadium sites, and to assess the benefits and impacts of a new stadium.

The moves come a week after Anschutz Entertainment Group President Tim Leiweke announced that he and his partners were abandoning plans to build a 64,000-seat, $450-million stadium in South Park. Many of the motions approved Friday were prompted by that proposal.

"This isn't the first time the NFL has been discussed around this horseshoe," said council President Alex Padilla, who will chair the ad hoc committee. "And it's not going to be the last."

The committee will provide a public venue where such matters can be thoroughly analyzed, he said.

Councilman Jack Weiss was the lone dissenter. He said the proposals were a mistake.

"I don't think we should set the wheels of government in motion at all to help the NFL pick our pockets," he said.

"Let's face it: That's what the NFL is good at. They're good at bleeding cities dry.

"The NFL ought to come to Los Angeles and explain to us why it is worth our while to have a football team here," Weiss said.

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