The forces behind downtown L.A.'s proposed stadium got their way in the state assembly today, it seems.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, the people behind Staples Center, are asking the legislature for a fast-track approval of its plans and for at least some protection from lawsuits over its environmental impact report.
State assembly speaker John Perez is carrying their day with SB 292, approved today by the assembly.
It would, in the words of Perez's office, allow for ...
expedited environmental reviews -- fast tracking job creation in the community while constructing a carbon-neutral stadium that will prioritize transit more than any other NFL stadium.
According to the bill's language, it would ...
... Establish specified administrative and judicial review procedures for the administrative and judicial review of the EIR and approvals granted for a project related to the development of a specified stadium in the City of Los Angeles.
Perez says it passed the assembly "with overwhelming bipartisan support."
It goes to the senate next and then, if it's approved, it'll head to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature or veto.
Be on the lookout for last-minute shenanigans Friday, however, the last day of the current legislative session. It's a time when last-minute changes are added so that as little debate as possible (often none, actually) can be aired before the public. Midnight is the deadline for that.
AEG proposes to build a $1.3 billion stadium atop the city-owned West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center.
Farmers Field will be the most far-reaching environmentally friendly stadium in the United States. This bill requires that the percentage of attendees arriving at stadium events by public transit and other non-vehicle means will be 10 percent better than any other NFL stadium in the country.
The proposal to put a stadium in the middle of an area that includes LA Live and Staples Center is not without opposition, however.
Update: First and goal. On Friday afternoon, the last day of the legislative session (and the deadline to do this), the state senate passed the fast-track bill. It's now up to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign it.
[Added]: AEG was pretty blase today and really just shrugged the whole thing off.
... We're just kideen. The company issued a statement declaring "TOUCHDOWN FOR FARMERS FIELD!" in like 80-point type.
AEG CEO Tim Leiweke:
After eight months of conversations, negotiations and compromise with elected officials, today we reach another milestone for the development of Farmers Field. From the beginning, we said there were four things we needed to achieve to prove that downtown Los Angeles is the right location for Farmers Field and return the NFL to Los Angeles. Today's vote sends a very, very strong message to the NFL that Farmers Field will happen.
He goes on to promise (their caps, not ours): "WE WILL BRING THE NFL BACK."