The mayor of L.A. and its City Council are supposed to be a judge and jury for the people when it comes to development, city services and other issues facing this vast metropolis. But sometimes you wouldn't know it.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has become an outright advocate — via YouTube (video after the jump) — for the building of an NFL stadium downtown, before the plan's specifics have even put before the City Council.
Sort of like a judge saying someone is innocent before charges have even been filed. Here's what Mayor V. has to say in a YouTube video touting the stadium proposal:
“This project will be 100 percent privately funded, but not by me. What do you think I am Mayor Bloomberg?”
The mayor here is carrying water for Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Staples Center-running, billionaire-controlled concert that wants to build an NFL stadium on public property — the Convention Center — and wants to get a green light by spring.
Now, this thing might be kind of cool. We actually like the idea on a few levels. It gets us excited. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The blueprints need to be aired in public. We need to find out the details and determine through our leaders if this is indeed right for L.A.
Concerns have been raised about the $350 million in bonds AEG states it needs from the city (AEG honcho Tim Leiweke has said it will guarantee they'll be paid off with non-taxpayer funds) and about the possible giveaway of the profitable Convention Center to a private entity.
There are also matters such as environmental impact, traffic and whether the people of L.A. really want a stadium in the city's dense core.
All of these issues need to be weighed by a somewhat impartial judge and jury. But that's not what we're getting there.
Villaraigosa mind as well be on AEG's payroll, because they couldn't have hired a more high-profile lobbyist to push this thing through City Council.
“One last thing,” Villaraigosa says, “NFL — are you ready for L.A?”