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Herb Wesson 'guardedly optimistic' about NFL and Farmers Field

March 26, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • "I still feel that it's alive," Herb Wesson says of Farmers Field.
"I still feel that it's alive," Herb Wesson says of Farmers… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

The president of the Los Angeles City Council is “guardedly optimistic” that AEG’s Farmers Field project still has a heartbeat and that a downtown stadium will ultimately be the home of an NFL team.

“I still feel that it’s alive,” Councilman Herb Wesson told The Times on Tuesday, adding he is “on bended knees, praying.”

“It’s been very frustrating with the stops and starts,” said Wesson, who represents the 10th District and was instrumental in approving a deal for a privately financed stadium and an expansion of the Convention Center. The deal between AEG and the city expires in fall 2014.

“We think we can see the finish line, then [the NFL] moves it back another 10 yards. But we have to keep trying. I believe Los Angeles is the place for a team. We can’t bully our way into it. When you look at the Farmers Field project, it’s the only project in town that’s pretty much shovel-ready.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the concept of constructing a football stadium at Chavez Ravine is viable, as are other options such as City of Industry and Hollywood Park.

Wesson said that putting a football stadium next to Dodger Stadium “would just delay this for many more years.”

Earlier this month, AEG founder Philip Anschutz pulled his company off the sales block and parted ways with AEG president Tim Leiweke, who spearheaded the Farmers Field project from the start.

Putting a positive spin on what many observers see as a setback,  Wesson said: “Tim Leiweke has done a phenomenal job, and he’s great for Los Angeles. But there’s something about having a billionaire discuss and negotiate with other billionaires that I think puts us in a better position.”

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