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Senate opposes ceding control of parking at Coliseum

May 10, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • USC fans cheer at the game against Hawaii at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last year.
USC fans cheer at the game against Hawaii at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum… (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles…)

SACRAMENTO -- State lawmakers are jumping into the middle of a dispute over who should control state-owned parking lots at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The state Senate voted unanimously Thursday to prohibit the California Science Center from delegating to USC the power to operate the center’s parking lots at the Coliseum.

SB 695 by state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) also prohibits the center from selling or entering a long-term lease of the parking lots, the Coliseum and the Los Angeles Sports Arena without legislative approval.

Earlier this year, civic leaders including Steve Soboroff objected to a proposed long-term lease with USC as part of the private university’s plan to take control of the Coliseum. Soboroff said at the time it could be “the end of the museums” if the parking lots were used by USC staff and students and the university could set prices for the public.

Wright said Thursday that the Science Center has no power to delegate control of the parking lots to USC, as it would under a proposed agreement. The parking is also used by patrons of California African American Museum and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The Science Center has leased portions of Exposition Park to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, which in turn leased the Coliseum to USC for its college football games.

The bill was opposed by USC, which contends “this authorization would provide guaranteed income to Exposition Park in amounts that match the highest amount of revenue ever generated from the parking lots,” according a an analyis provided by legislative staff.  

A USC representative did not provide a comment Thursday. California Science Center President Jeff Rudolph also declined detailed comment on the legislation.  “As a department of the California state government, we have no position on the bill,” he said.


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