UPDATE: DA investigates Walnut

The District Attorney’s office is investigating the Walnut City Council for allegedly violating the state’s open meeting laws when it approved four items relating to the proposed NFL stadium.

Why is it an issue? Because the four actions taken, shown below, weren’t on the agenda.

1. Pass resolution opposing NFL stadium

2. Authorize the city staff to sue Industry if it doesn’t allow a time extension for review of the environmental report

3. Draft a letter of opposition against the stadium to be sent to area state, county and federal officials.

4. Develop a citizen taskforce to review the environmental report, was on items that weren’t listed on the agenda.

The DA’s office received two complaints on topic, including one received today by open meeting activist Rich McKee. The DA said the other complaint was received on Thursday, but would say who submitted.

These two complaints come just weeks after the DA submitted a stern warning to the city for violating state open meeting laws over the same topic: the NFL stadium.

I asked Mayor Joaquin Lim today about the connection between the original DA warning and the new complaints.

“The first DA letter has already been addressed, the DA said the case was closed, and I don’t think it is worth bringing it back up,” Lim said.

More to come later…

“No doubt” that NFL is coming to town

So it looks like there is “no doubt” that there will be an NFL team playing in Los Angeles by next season. Do you believe it?

Also, during a meeting with John Semcken, vice president of Majestic Realty, Semcken said that he has met with many local politicians in the SGV to try to get their support.

“How many of them have asked for free tickets,” I asked him.

Almost every single one of them. But instead, Semcken said that he offers them a suite, which will run about $300,000. Of course, they decline. But if they didn’t? Now that would be a good story.

One step closer to bringing NFL to the SGV

Well, it took a little prodding by billionaire Ed Roski, but Ben Baeder is reporting that the NFL is now showing “a little enthusiasm” in the proposed NFL stadium in Industry.

NFL calls Roski stadium proposal “interesting possibility”
By Ben Baeder, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 06/12/2008 01:43:32 PM PDT

INDUSTRY – It looks like billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr. has made a significant gain on his proposal to build a football stadium on the east side of the city.

National Football League officials, who initially had little reaction to Roski’s proposal, now call the plan “an interesting possibility” after a sit-down meeting earlier this week with officials from Roski’s Majestic Realty Co.

“At their request, the Roski group provided us an update on their stadium project,” wrote NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email to this paper. “Mr. Roski’s site certainly seems to present an interesting possibility. The permitting and construction processes seem to be more defined than other sites we have seen.”

Majestic proposed the stadium in April, and McCarthy at the time said NFL staffers were “monitoring all stadium-related developments at this time.”

Majestic Realty Co. Vice President John Semcken, who is the lead for the project, said the NFL brass are now showing a little enthusiasm.

“They have seen the plan now,” he said of a meeting he had Monday at the NFL headquarters in New York. “They’re very impressed.”

The plan calls for a stadium and retail complex on a 600-acre plot north of the Pomona (60) Freeway and west of Orange (57) Freeway. It is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Semcken said a stadium on flat ground would probably cost about $1.5 million to build. But Majestic’s planners think they can build the stadium for $800 million by installing the
complex against a hill, using the ground – and not expensive steel and concrete – to support most of the seats.

Day laborers in Azusa

During my early morning 7.5 mile run today through Irwindale and Azusa, I noticed a Day Laborer sign where nearly a dozen men were lined up. My running partner told me that he has seen that line get as big as nearly 40 people.

What I found interesting is that the city condoned it. Why else would they have a sign and provide what looked like bus stops for these workers? It is a very different attitude than we hear from residents that complain about day laborers at places such as Home Depot.

Sports saves or sinks?

Reporter Dan Abendschein has an interesting story in today’s paper about the benefits of sports industry to the local economy.

Depending on who you talk to, that industry can either boost local economy or simply do nothing at all.

Of course, the local tie is developer Ed Roski’s bid to build an $800 million NFL stadium in Industry.

What side are you on?

Sports in the greater Los Angeles region is a $2.1 billion industry, according to a study released by sports promoters Wednesday.

That $2 billion industry employs about 3,385 people in full-time jobs, according to the study. That’s less than the 4,500 employed by the county’s mining industry, according to Jack Kyser, the chief economist of the Los Angeles Economic Development Commission.

“Those are very small employment numbers,” said Kyser.

The study, conducted by UCLA graduate students, looks at professional sports, college sports, horse racing and other annual sporting events in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

“This is one of the strongest sports markets in the country, and the study shows what kind of an impact it has on the local economy,” said David Simon, president of the L.A. Sports Council.


The impact of sports on a local economy is a subject that has long been under debate. Developers and sports team owners, eager to capitalize on public funds, have long touted the benefits of the sports economy.

Economists have been split on the issue: most agree that building a new stadium where one has already existed does not help the economy.

A 2004 study by economists Edward Coulson and Gerald Carlino suggested a new stadium brings benefits to a neighborhood, by raising local property values and bringing in customers to local restaurants and businesses.

The question for cities is whether it pays for the government to invest in sports.

Read the full story here.

“Are they insane?”

As expected, concerns about the amount of traffic a football stadium could bring to the area if built in Industry are coming to fruition.

Note this letter that ran in our Opinion section today:

A stadium at the Pomona (60) and Orange (57) freeways? Are they insane?

Walnut already is complaining about the Mt. SAC traffic.

Anytime after 4:30 p.m., it takes me 20 to 30 minutes to get from Valley Boulevard to the 60 Freeway; normally, it only takes me 6 minutes.

From Brea to the 60, anytime after 3p.m., it’s a good 40 minutes and normally it’s only 10 minutes.

Who will pay for the repairs of our roads? Of course, us! Not the rich one who is putting in this stadium!

Have you ever tried to get north or south on the 57 Freeway when the Angel Stadium or the Honda Center, where the Ducks play, are having an event? This is a very bad idea!

Jean Jernigan


Roski to stop by Tribune’s office

Billionaire developer Edward Roski, who is proposing to build an NFL stadium in Industry, is going to stop by the Tribune’s office today to pitch his idea to the Editorial Board. I’ll be sitting in the meeting as well, and I will ask him any follow-up questions that have come up since he launced his proposal to build this $800-million stadium on Thursday. The meeting is at 10 a.m.

Are there questions that you want me to ask?


I just got this email, which confirms that the plans are in the works to bringing this stadium to Industry. Check out the Web site link. It gives the location, the timeline, and what the stadium will look like:

In advance of tomorrows 10am news conference at Staples Center (see below advisory), the website for Los Angeles Stadium has gone live.

Please visit this websitefor a sneak peak at stadium renderings, location and design elements. As you can see, Mr. Roskis plan is viable and will impact/benefit the entire LA region.