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Play Fair Farmers Field on KPFK’s Uprising Radio: “Despite Community Opposition, LA City Council Unanimously Approves Downtown NFL Stadium Project”

Play Fair at Farmers Field was featured on KPFK’s Uprising Radio this morning. Click HERE to listen to the interview. More info HERE.

In the interview, Play Fair at Farmers Field representatives announce their plans to file a preliminary injunction this week as part of the coalition’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California Senate Bill 292, which granted special privileges for the Farmers Field and Convention Center modification project.

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Coverage of the SB 292 Lawsuit Announcement

This morning the Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition announced a lawsuit against the State of California challenging the constitutionality of the law that granted special privileges for the Farmers Field and Convention Center modification project. The lawsuit, filed this morning, targets California State Senate Bill 292 (SB 292), a law passed in 2011 that sends all environmental challenges to the Farmers Field project directly to the Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit follows the adamant opposition of the members of the Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition to SB 292, viewing it as 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.  The health of more than 260,000 people living in the zip codes surrounding the site is at stake.

See below for coverage of the lawsuit announcement:

via LA Streets Blog

Op/Ed: Touchdown Pass or Lost Yardage—What Will It Be AEG?

by Richard Jackson and Rishi Manchanda

As places celebrating athletic discipline and active lives, professional sports stadiums should energize physical activity and empower health.  Unfortunately, the sports-entertainment giant Anshutz Entertainment Group’s (AEG) proposal for a football stadium and new Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles will hurt surrounding communities.  The proposed stadium will permanently change the landscape–and harm the health–of downtown Los Angeles.

As physicians, we know our patients’ health is shaped more by where and how they live than by what pills they take. The residents near the proposed development already suffer from hypertension, diabetes and obesity at substantially higher rates than in other parts of the City and County.

In response to worries about the potential negative impacts of this project, community groups worked with local residents and a reputed consulting firm, Health Impact Partners, to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of AEG’s proposed Farmers’ Field downtown development.

The study reveals that the Farmers Field project has the very real potential to increase air and noise pollution, to unfairly displace low income residents, and to pose public safety threats to long term residents of the communities of South Park, Pico Union and Central City areas of downtown.   Fortunately, the assessment contains community and evidence-based recommendations to reduce these threats to health.

AEG promised the world that Farmer’s Field will be “the most environmentally responsible sports and entertainment district in the world.” Thus far, those promises appear empty, including a promise that the stadium will be carbon-neutral and that between 18.5 and 27 percent of patrons would arrive on transit, foot or bike.

Unfortunately, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared by AEG and required under state law does not cite any local examples of active transportation shares anywhere near this ratio: Rose Bowl’s share is 5% and Dodger Stadium’s is approximately 2%.  The DEIR does not analyze the use of transit to STAPLES Center, which is immediately adjacent to the proposed stadium.  Further, many of the mitigation measures described in the DEIR are inadequate, unenforceable, or improperly deferred until after the close of the environmental review process.

When we plan developments around just automobiles, we are casting bad health policy in permanent concrete. Los Angelenos deserve to see clear, specific plans for how AEG intends to significantly increase public transit ridership and decrease car trips.  These measures are required by the California Environmental Quality Act and by the state legislature under SB 292.  AEG could look to the Pac Bell Stadium in San Francisco as a successful model for increasing rates of active transportation.   In response to local residents’ and businesses’ concerns about traffic and parking, San Francisco required the development and approval of a Transportation Management Plan.  The plan included the construction and promotion of existing and new transit services and an ambitious marketing campaign called “Your Ticket Home,” which provided incentives to utilize transit and walking.    San Francisco is rightly proud of Pac Bell Stadium; it is frequently sold out.  It has 40,800 seats, with only 5,000 parking spaces.  With 50 percent of fans arriving a block from the stadium via light rail and a regional commuter train, the parking lots are rarely full to capacity.

Doesn’t Los Angeles also deserve the benefits of excellent transit access to our sports stadium?  AEG must commit to measures that make taking public transit to stadium events easy, safe and affordable.

With this investment in a new Convention Center and downtown stadium, the City has a chance to make a long overdue pass and score a touchdown that benefits the health and livelihood of all Angelenos. But the current plans for Farmers Field will lead to lost yardage when it comes to our city’s health and a future of dreary, congested asphalt.

If AEG takes steps to reduce the number of car trips to events, limit air pollution, and preserve affordable housing, the new stadium will encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles in the surrounding neighborhoods and for all event patrons.  A compact stadium design with space for parks, community gardens and farmers’ markets could truly integrate the new development into an active neighborhood.

AEG should give Los Angeles a Stadium and a public asset that all Los Angelenos can be proud of, especially the local residents. Los Angeles fans deserve a winning team, the greenest stadium possible, and a truly healthy and vibrant community.

Richard Jackson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA and recent host of the PBS series, Designing Healthy Communities.  He is also a Board Member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.

Rishi Manchanda is the founder of HealthBegins, an Assistant Professor at Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science, and was formerly the Director of Social Medicine and Health Equity at St Johns Well Child and Family Centers.

KPCC Covers the Release of the Play Fair at Farmers Field Health Impact Assessment

This morning, the Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition held a press conference to release a Health Impact Assessment report on how the proposed Farmers Field and Convention Center Project would affect local, primarily low-income residents.

The release of the report was covered by KPCC’s Brian Watt.

via KPCC:

Study: The downside of Farmers Field
by Brian Watt

A new study highlights the potential negative impacts of AEG’s proposed football stadium for downtown Los Angeles. Human Impact Partners conducted the study, with the support of a coalition that includes the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Physicians for Social Responsibility–Los Angeles.

The study focuses on the stadium development’s displacement and housing affordability, employment, public safety, and access to open space.

Becky Dennison of the Los Angeles Community Action Network says recent history has shown the development could reduce affordable housing in surrounding neighborhoods.

“We looked at the data from 2000-2010 as Staples Center came on line and then later L.A. Live,” Dennison says. “The race and demographic information in these communities shifted substantially toward upper income, much whiter population and folks were really pushed out of these communities.”

Anschutz Entertainment Group released a draft environmental impact report on the proposal known as Farmers Field. It maintains the stadium wouldn’t likely reduce affordable housing in the Pico Union neighborhood. But Dennison argues that report fails to consider housing losses in nearby parts of downtown and South Los Angeles.