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California in Brief | SACRAMENTO

Coliseum auction proposal rejected

May 16, 2008|Patrick McGreevy

The state Senate on Thursday narrowly rejected a proposal to sell the state's interest in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with Southern California lawmakers uniting to fight the idea of putting the historic structure up for auction.

Sen. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater) proposed the sale, saying that the 84-year-old Coliseum has "outlived its usefulness" and the land, which includes the Sports Arena, could fetch up to $400 million for California's coffers.

"We are debating the budget over the next month or so," Denham told his colleagues. "This is one opportunity to bring in revenue."

Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), who grew up near the Coliseum, said that selling it to developers, even after it has been rejected for use by the NFL, is unthinkable.

"I think it's outrageous for one member to put in a bill to sell an historic property in another member's district, period," Kuehl told Denham.

Although the NFL has rejected proposals to locate a team at the venue, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles) noted that the Coliseum is used for USC football games and international soccer contests.

The bill, SB 1133, was defeated by a 21-16 vote.

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-- Patrick McGreevy

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