Vote Moves SoCal Stadium Forward
Oct 14, 11:53 PM EDT
Vote moves SoCal stadium forward
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The California Senate has voted to allow developers of a proposed 75,000-seat football stadium in the Southern California city of Industry an environmental exemption that allows construction to move forward.
If signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bill that was approved Wednesday on a 21-14 vote, would nullify a lawsuit by residents in the neighboring city of Walnut, who claimed that Industry approved the project without sufficiently reviewing its environmental impact.
Officials with developer Majestic Realty Co. have said that they would begin approaching NFL teams about moving to the area when the current season ends.
Lawmakers voted after Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg failed to broker an agreement between Industry and developer Majestic Realty Co. and the residents' group.
Industry and the developer rejected the group's demands that a roof be added to the open-air stadium to cut down on noise and light pollution and that ramps be built leading directly from the freeway to the stadium grounds, amid other concessions.
The bill approved by the Senate cleared the Assembly last month amid lobbying by stadium developer and labor union officials who argued that the venue's construction and operation would bring jobs to the region suffering from high unemployment.
The city of Walnut settled a separate lawsuit that it had filed over the stadium proposal. The deal granted Walnut $9 million, an annual cash payment of up to $500,000 and other concessions.
Re: Vote Moves SoCal Stadium Forward
Would this be part of Stimulus I, or the proposed Stimulus II package?
Re: Vote Moves SoCal Stadium Forward
Updated: October 22, 2009, 2:39 PM ET
L.A. stadium environmental bill signed
INDUSTRY, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday he had signed a bill allowing the construction of a 75,000-seat stadium that developers hope will lure an NFL team back to the Los Angeles area.
Schwarzenegger said he signed the environmental exemption bill last week but saved the announcement for a press conference in Industry, where the stadium would be built about 15 miles east of Los Angeles.
The bill would nullify a lawsuit filed by residents in nearby Walnut over the project's environmental impact.
Schwarzenegger called the lawsuit frivolous as he addressed a crowd of union members wearing hardhats. Across the street, a dozen protesters held signs saying "No Stadium."
"This is the best kind of action state government can create -- action that cuts red tape, generates jobs, is environmentally friendly and brings a continued economic boost to California," Schwarzenegger said.
Majestic Realty Co. is heading the stadium project after helping develop Staples Center, the downtown Los Angeles home of the NBA's Lakers and Clippers and the NHL's Kings.
Majestic has targeted seven teams as candidates to move to the Los Angeles area: the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco *****.
The firm has said the teams are in stadiums that are either too small or can't be updated with luxury box seats or other revenue sources an NFL club needs to thrive.
Schwarzenegger said the stadium would generate more than 18,000 jobs.
Majestic guaranteed parking lot attendants and concession stand workers would be paid middle-class wages, said Maria Elena Durazo, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
"This is true economic development," Durazo said. "It's going to benefit everyone in our community."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press