A thick pall of smoke is mostly blotting out the sun in Torrance this morning, miles from the worst of the wildfires in Orange County where hundreds have lost their homes.
A layer of gray ash is coating cars, sidewalks and everything else.
And there’s a muffled, slightly subdued quality to the light and sound of this Sunday Southern California morning, lending an unreal edge to what has been a surreal last few days.
Welcome to Los Angeles in November.
Hopefully, things will have improved a week from now otherwise the air quality at Carson’s Home Depot Center will surely affect MLS Cup.
And just a week ahead of the second biggest event of the year at the stadium (the X Games are the biggest), the city of Carson is again contemplating a ticket tax at Home Depot Center.
If I recall correctly legal experts have differed in the past over the legality of such a tax being imposed (the HDC sits on California State University property, which didn’t, for instance, need any sort of planning permission from the city when the sports complex was built), but apparently it is now more than a possibility.
On one hand you can’t blame the city of Carson, which lacks much of a sales tax base, for eying the revenue stream. The HDC hasn’t done much to spur economic revitilization around the stadium (cleaning up graffiti on a KFC across the street appears the extent of it, sadly) yet makes planty of money for Anschutz Entertainment Group.
AEG, naturally, opposes the tax as the story points out:
Rod O’Connor, the general manager of the Home Depot Center, said that a 10 percent tax on tickets would be the highest in the Los Angeles area. He warned that one of the stadium’s two professional soccer teams – Chivas U.S.A. – has already been exploring getting its own venue and that any additional taxes might prompt event promoters to take their business elsewhere.
“This puts us at a disadvantage,” O’Connor said. “We feel strongly that the solution ought to be a fair solution that asks everyone to contribute a little bit, not something that is targeted at one business in our community.”
It’s an argument that might be a little more convincing if greedy AEG was more inclined to share the wealth themselves or at least give patrons a break from the likes of those crushing $20 parking fees.
And Chivas USA, struggling to broaden their fan base, is unlikely in this economic climate to make any move that would cost the club even more money, anyway.
Still, overall, the proposal feels more than a little like fiddling while Rome burns at this particular time, so perhaps that calls for an appropriately dark song to remind us of what’s really important:
Updated 1 p.m. Sunday
UCLA has just issued this press release:
“Due to several fires in Southern California resulting in poor air quality, Sunday’s NCAA Second Round match between top-seeded UCLA and San Diego has been postponed. The match has been rescheduled for Monday at 6:00 p.m. (PST).
The winner of Monday’s match will advance to face fourth-seeded USC in the round of 16.”