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:

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An Analysis of AEG’s proposed Community Benefits Program for Farmers Field

Recently AEG released a document that the company is referring to as a Community Benefits Program.

The document is tied to the development of Farmers Field and, according to Martha Saucedo, Executive Vice President of External Affairs for AEG, is intended to “extend the economic benefits of this project to the surrounding communities and fund improvements that enhance the quality of life and make our community a better place to live and work.”

Click HERE to read a detailed analysis of AEG’s proposed program. A close reading of the document reveals that the proposal, though intended to “maximize the benefits of the Project to the surrounding community”, is really a document of loose goals with very few actual requirements that falls short of community benefits agreements often associated with projects of this scope.

One clear example is that there is no living wage requirement, only a goal, and no enforceable means for achieving the goal.  The document actually states, “Whether or not the Living Wage Goal is being met at the five and ten year reporting periods, the Event Center Owner shall be considered to be in compliance with this Section if it is compliance with the remaining provisions of this Section.”  There are no other provisions in this section, besides reporting.

The Community Benefits Program is just one of many documents associated with this project.  The Final Environmental Impact Report has yet to be released, which is supposed to provide mitigation measures for environmental health concerns, of which there are many in a project of this size.

Coalition Files Lawsuit against State of California Over Legislation Granting Special Privileges For Downtown Stadium Project

Media Advisory
Not for Release until 10AM, August 30                                 
Contact: Becky Dennison, Los Angeles Community Action Network 213.840.4664

Coalition Files Lawsuit against State of California Over Legislation Granting Special Privileges For Downtown Stadium Project

What:   Press Conference announcing a lawsuit challenging California State Senate Bill 292, which grants special privileges for the Farmers Field and Convention Center modification project.  Both plaintiffs and attorneys, including Spanish speakers, will be available for interviews.

WhenThursday, August 30th at 10:00 AM

Where: ACLU of Southern California Press Room, 1313 W. 8th St. Los Angeles, CA 90017

On Thursday, Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition will announce 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 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 organizations in 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 attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick LLP, and Robert D. Newman, Attorney at Law, argue that SB 292 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.

Pedro Ares, a resident of South Los Angeles living about a mile from the project and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said, “This project will have a huge impact on this city and my community. I’ve lived in this community for over 50 years, and I’ve seen how rapidly it is changing. This stadium will affect parking, housing prices, traffic, air quality and so much more. We should be taking as much time and giving residents as many opportunities as possible to ensure that we protect the rights of those who will be impacted by the project. We shouldn’t be giving special treatment to any developer to speed up the process.”

According to Dan Stormer of Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick LLP, “This bill is blatantly unconstitutional. It is an attempted end run around the constitution.”   Barbara Schultz of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles added, “It blocks access to the trial court for the citizens of this city who want to challenge a project that fails to mitigate the serious harm to their health and their neighborhoods.”

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via LA Times: “An NFL return to L.A.? There’s a lot of smoke but still no fire”

In “An NFL return to L.A.? There’s a lot of smoke but still no fire,” Los Angeles Times writer Sam Farmer suggests some doubts about whether or not the NFL will return to Los Angeles in 2013:

Will any teams submit that application in the 2013 window?

Doubtful. Why would a team rush to submit an application, thereby poisoning the water in its current market, before the L.A. picture was fully in focus? Focus comes only when the downtown option has cleared all of the necessary hurdles.

AEG’s Tim Leiweke believes he can get everything checked off his list before the application deadline in five months. He has momentum with the city and a track record of getting venues built, but that’s still a tall order.

Click HERE to read the entire article, which was published in the Los Angeles Times on August 28, 2012.