Industry stadium executive makes L.A. stadium battle personal

I will get to week in review later, but for now I wanted to bring to your attention a story in the Orange County Register where Industry Stadium spokesman John Semcken took the battle between their plan and AEG’s downtown plan to another level.

In particular, Semcken criticized AEG chief operating executive Tim Leiweke’s credibility.

“Tim’s a bad guy,” Semcken said of the man he once worked side-by-side with to create Staples Center. “He can’t build the building.”

In the early stages of this battle, it appeared the two sides would jockey for an NFL team and may the best man win. Now, it would appear that Ed Roski’s team is fightin’ mad about AEG’s downtown plan. It also points to the clear concern of Roski’s team that a downtown stadium is, on the surface, more appealing to most people – and probably the NFL.

Semcken, and others, have legitimate concerns about AEG’s plan that includes a skeptical look at AEG’s alleged price tag of building a stadium and whether or not downtown can accommodate such a large scale production. But will his personal criticisms of Leiweke overshadow those concerns, and, possibly, serve to make them look petty?

In related news, did you see the collapse of the Metrodome over the weekend? If you haven’t, watch the video. Amazing stuff.

The Vikings, along with the San Diego Chargers, are considered to be the top two teams most likely to move to Los Angeles. Both want new stadiums, and if they don’t get them, could be prime candidates to move to swanky new digs in L.A.

But this may change things. With the roof collapse, this could ensure the Vikings their new stadium, and thus take them out of the running for the L.A. plan.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Vikings executive says Leiweke, Roski groups have both contacted the team

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The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports today that vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley said both AEG as well as Ed Roski’s group have both contacted the team about potentially moving to California.

Roski has plans approved for a football stadium in Industry, while AEG’s Tim Leiweke has recently bolted onto the scene, stealing the headlines with a downtown stadium proposal.

According to Bagley’s quote in the article, it appears Roski contacted the team in the past, but Leiweke was the most recent to reach out to the team.

The Vikings have long since been on the radar as one of the potential teams available to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. The Vikings want a new stadium and if that doesn’t come to pass, they may be looking for new digs elsewhere.

The Vikings are down to the last year on their lease and decisions must be made soon.

Other teams that have been rumored as candidates for Los Angeles are the Buffalo Bills, the San Diego Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the St. Louis Rams, and the Oakland Raiders.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Leiweke asks for $1 billion from taxpayers to pay for downtown stadium

After AEG’s Tim Leiweke spoke to L.A. business folk Tuesday about using the L.A. Convention Center to help build an NFL stadium, some people aren’t reacting to it as he might hope.

The big hiccup? Ed Roski’s Industry stadium is privately financed while Leiweke is asking for, oh, something like $1 billion from taxpayers.

L.A. Observed has a video up. And you can put Ron Kaye on the side of Roski’s plan vs. Leiweke’s downtown idea.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Your weekly weekend roundup and crystal ball (a.k.a. Internet) look

I am not sure what news could overtake the bittersweet emotions of the Angels losing three out of four to the Rangers, moving to seven games out of first place, and trading 8-year Angel veteran Joe Saunders while getting a great pitcher (and hometown hero?) Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Haren went to Bishop Amat High School and owns a home in West Covina, so in a way, he heads home by being traded to the Angels and can become something of a hometown favorite with them.

And in a similar twist of fate, Saunders is traded to Arizona where he owns a home in Phoenix. If that is solace to Saunders who fell just short of tears when speaking to reporters is unknown.

As for the remainder of the weekend news from the Tribune, look no further than the links below. (Actually, if you browse the website for a bit you will find many tales of lore and city road construction projects. These are just some highlights.)

- For 80 years the El Calvario Community Center in El Monte provided classes, daycare and tutoring to neighborhood children and teens. But when the center closed down nearly three years ago, it began providing quite the opposite – a hideaway for methamphetamine users.

- Baldwin Park will reconsider its vehicle impound policy after the Police Department took a woman’s car for 15 days – even though she was in the passenger seat and willing to drive her car away from a police checkpoint.

- Majestic Realty Co. CEO and chairman Ed Roski Jr. said he remains committed to returning professional football to the region and building a state-of-the-art NFL stadium near the junction of the 60 and 57 freeways.

- Anyone who has an opinion about a Navy proposal to clean up most of the contamination it left near Morris Dam during torpedo tests has one last chance to share it with government officials.

- Duarte is going to take legal action against Azusa over a recently approved plan to mine part of the Azusa Rock Quarry near Duarte’s border.

As for the week ahead, special council meeting in Azusa tonight at 6:30 pm. at the Azusa Light and Water Conference Room, 729 N. Azusa Ave., will discuss purchasing a new police vehicle and a new contract with the Azusa Chamber of Commerce.

Glendora’s council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, 116 E. Foothill Blvd., will look at, among other items, fees for city services.

Also Tuesday, San Dimas City Council will consider a request for the Five Cities 10K run on Nov. 6.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Weekend roundup and a brief glimpse into the future

For those of you busy watching the World Cup over the weekend, I got your local news for you right here.

How the free environmental pass to the Industry Stadium is affecting others.

A state water agency approved a set of tough new environmental regulations for the Los Angeles River on Friday that cities say could cost them billions.

San Gabriel Valley officials met Friday with the top state assembly Democrat to discuss a budget proposal that could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to local cities.

In the wake of the death last week of a 15-year-old girl, organizers on Friday for the second time called off an unrelated rave expected to draw 5,000 partiers.

As for what’s to come this week, San Dimas and Glendora both have city council meetings tomorrow.

On Glendora’s agenda
is a request to change the City Clerk’s administrative assistant position to Deputy City Clerk and increasing the position’s salary by about $11,000 a year. The city hopes this can help to innovate and better services from the department.

The San Dimas City Council and Planning Commission are having a joint meeting to discuss the ongoing City Hall renovation project and the potential NJD Project Development in the northern foothills.

Two final items of note. Congratulations to my all time favorite baseball player Tim Salmon. Salmon, who has the most career home runs at 299 without ever appearing in an All-Star game, was the MVP of the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game in Anaheim Sunday.

Secondly, for your viewing pleasure and to stay fresh on Internet lingo, this is so double rainbow.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Environmental groups worried about another NFL stadium exemption

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Environmental groups are revealing the opponents’ apparent playbook.

Concerned that another group may be seeking relief from state environmental laws, the environmental lobby is circulating a letter this week urging legislators not to support an exemption for a potential stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

The Sierra Club California and Planning and Conservation League are among nearly 70 groups warning legislators that AEG shouldn’t be granted the environmental exemption it seeks, according to the letter (pictured). (

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Tim Leiweke, CEO and president of AEG, which operates the Staples Center, announced in April, along with prominent sports agent Casey Wasserman, their hopes of building an NFL stadium in downtown L.A.

Tina Andolina, the legislative director for the Planning and Conservation League, said her group has been told and heard that AEG was seeking an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act. She said the company was citing an exemption granted to local billionaire Ed Roski last year as precedent.

Last year, the state legislature approved an environmental exemption for Roski’s $800-million stadium in Industry. The bill, signed by the governor in October, nixed a lawsuit against the project, which had already completed an environmental impact report.

It’s unclear whether any legislator was willing to author the exemption bill. But Andolina said she believes it’s a real possibility.

“I take these threats very, very seriously,” she said. “We did not see the Industry bill, tops 42 hours, before it was passed.”

A message for an AEG spokesman wasn’t returned.

Note: For more coverage on the prospect of the NFL in L.A., check here.

Email: james.wagner@sgvn.com | Twitter: @jmswgnr @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

NFL stadium battle moves online with new website opposed to downtown concept

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Two months ago, local billionaire Ed Roski Jr.’s grand plans of returning the NFL to the Los Angeles region encountered an interesting twist. A former business partner, Tim Leiweke, and Casey Wasserman announced they were exploring their own idea of building a $1 billion NFL stadium next to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

As some predicted, Roski (pictured) wasn’t the only one gunning for an NFL team in L.A. And some of that jockeying for position has now moved online.

A new website and Twitter account in opposition of the downtown stadium concept were recently started. The site, nostadiumatstaples.com, is a collection of news stories and items relating to the Leiweke-Wasserman plan. It covers everything from questions about L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s tickets from Staples Center owners to the mayor’s hopes of luring Comic-Con to the L.A. Convention center (which could be torn down as part of the downtown stadium concept). Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, which owns and operates the Staples Center, is a political ally of Villaraigosa.

It’s unclear who runs the website or Twitter account. The website was created on May 30, according to a website registry. And the tweeting didn’t start until June 1. Here’s who is behind it, according to a vague description on their website:

We are a group of concerned citizens of the Los Angeles area bringing you current news information regarding the possible development of a 80,000 seat stadium at the Staples Center.

A Twitter message to the group wasn’t immediately returned. And a call to a Roski representative wasn’t either.

Roski, CEO and Chairman of Majestic Realty Co., has said he won’t build his shovel-ready 600-acre, 75,000-seat stadium in Industry until he lands a team.

Note: For more coverage on the prospect of the NFL in L.A., check here.

Email: james.wagner@sgvn.com | Twitter: @jmswgnr @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Majestic’s letter (yes, the actual one) blasting Walnut

Forgive us.

Thanks to a mishap, we didn’t post a copy of a letter pertaining to a story we wrote. Last week, the company hoping to build a National Football League stadium complex in the City of Industry presented this letter to the Walnut City Council, which has sued the developer. The letter refuted, among other things, claims made against the company, Majestic Realty, and its project.

An issue emerged the day following Wednesday’s city council meeting. After this newspaper filed a public records request for a copy of the letter Thursday, Walnut said it was consulting its attorney concerning the release of the letter, which included a confidential attachment, because of its pending litigation. (The attachment, according to the letter, documented Walnut’s settlement items in the now-terminated negotiations with Majestic.)

Majestic, however, provided this newspaper with a copy. And now, so do you. (See the text of the letter after the jump.)

Walnut has ten days from the public records request to make a decision of the release. So, we’ll see what emerges. But here are two facts to consider: The letter was presented at a public meeting and the first page of it was read publicly.
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