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Bid to recall Pasadena councilman hinges on Rose Bowl stance

Steve Madison voted for an ordinance that allows officials to enter negotiations with the NFL about bringing a pro football team to the stadium for up to five years.

January 12, 2013|By Joe Piasecki, Los Angeles Times
  • Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison faces a recall after he voted for an ordinance that cleared the way for negotiations to bring professional football to the Rose Bowl.
Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison faces a recall after he voted for… (Robert Laberge, Getty Images )

A Pasadena councilman is facing a recall campaign for backing an ordinance that cleared the way for negotiations to bring professional football to the Rose Bowl.

Recall proponents on Thursday filed a notice of intent to circulate a petition to recall Councilman Steve Madison, said City Clerk Mark Jomsky. Under state election code, Madison has until Thursday to file a statement on why he should not be recalled for inclusion on the recall petitions.

City Council members voted Nov. 19 to increase the number of large events that can be held annually at the Rose Bowl, which already is used for UCLA home football games and the annual Rose Bowl game.

The move, supported by Madison, allows city officials to enter negotiations with the NFL, an effort that could bring a pro team to the Rose Bowl for up to five years while a permanent stadium is constructed in downtown Los Angeles.

Many homeowners near the stadium fear that NFL games at the Rose Bowl would result in traffic jams, noise and environmental damage, while also attracting unruly fans at the expense of recreational users in the surrounding Arroyo Seco.

A coalition of four neighborhood groups filed a lawsuit on Jan. 3 seeking to overturn the council's decision, claiming a related environmental study violated the California Environmental Quality Act.

A draft of the petition filed by resident Michael Vogler claims Madison "no longer represents the interests of his constituents" and "must be removed from office." The document also accuses Madison of "willfully placing his interests above the interests of his constituents."

For his part, Madison said a recall election would be "completely unjustified and a waste of taxpayer money."

The council's Rose Bowl vote "commits us to absolutely nothing," he said. "I would not hesitate to reject a proposal from the NFL if our community did not see benefits."

Madison cast the deciding vote against a previous NFL proposal in 2006.

"My home is affected when there are [college football] games at the Rose Bowl. I don't like it any more than anybody else. But I can't rule out an arrangement where there would be a handful of games that would provide tremendous benefit to the city," he said.

Consultants hired by the city project that hosting NFL games could bring in $5 million to $10 million each year for the city-owned stadium.

Meanwhile, the City Council voted Monday to issue $30 million in bonds to help cover cost overruns for ongoing renovations at the Rose Bowl. The estimated price tag for the project has ballooned from $152 million to nearly $195 million in the last two years.

joe.piasecki@latimes.com

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