The $1.5 billion football stadium proposal for downtown L.A. gained a bit of an advantage when California lawmakers granted it the right to have legal challenges to its environmental impacts fast-tracked to appeals courts.
Of course, other developments, including a competing stadium proposal in City of Industry, have had similar advantages.
That hasn't stopped a group called Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition from challenging the fast-track legislation. Yep, only in L.A. will you see activists …
… filing a lawsuit over the right to file lawsuits! (We're going to sue them for even thinking about suing over these potential suits, damn it.)
Hells yeah. The coalition says Senate Bill 292, passed last year, ain't right. It states that the legislation is …
… an unnecessary and unfair attack on the community protections provided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A project of this size will have enormous environmental and other health impacts on surrounding communities, and a robust and constitutionally valid process is crucial to protecting community health.
They argue that it …
… violates two sections of the California Constitution – the section giving courts original jurisdiction, and that which prohibits special legislation where a general law is applicable.
Organizers say they're going to officially announce the lawsuit at 10 this morning at the offices of the ACLU (1313 W. Eighth St.).
Dan Stormer, one of the attorney's involved in the suit, says:
This bill is blatantly unconstitutional. It is an attempted end run around the constitution.
[Added at 12:58 p.m.]: Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the developer of the would-be stadium (and the owner of LA Live and Staples Center), sent this statement to the Weekly and other outlets:
… The press release trumpeting the forthcoming lawsuit suggests another effort to undermine the state's legislative will. A similar lawsuit was filed earlier this year seeking to strike down AB 900, the companion measure to SB 292. Prior to their adoption last year, both SB 292 and AB 900 were drafted and vetted by Legislative Counsel and the State Legislature. The Attorney General is vigorously defending the case against AB 900 and we expect the same to be done in the face of any challenges to SB 292. We are highly confident in the legality of these legislative measures and fully expect they will survive any legal attacks.
These measures are common sense legislation intended to put people back to work during these difficult times and fully protect and expand the public's participation in the environmental process. Suspect attacks on the legality of these laws demonstrate the very need for the protections they afford against those seeking to abuse the legal system to thwart or delay projects creating beneficial economic development.