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AEG Submits Stadium Proposal, Briefs Mayor's Blue Ribbon Panel

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011, at 02:14PM
Farmers Field Gensler

On February 1, AEG announced a $700-million naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance to call the company's proposed NFL stadium and events center Farmers Field.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's NFL Blue Ribbon Commission held its first meeting today, gathering business leaders from across Los Angeles to weigh in on AEG's newly-submitted proposal to build an NFL stadium and events center next to L.A. Live and Staples Center.

After the closed-door session, First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner told reporters that the commission has a long job in front of it.

"There are certain things that I can speak to with confidence," said Beutner, who is a co-chair of the commission. "The timing of the city and its ability to move quickly is not one of them."

The ten-member panel heard a presentation from AEG CEO Tim Leiweke on the proposal his company submitted to the city the previous evening (PDF from City website).

Leiweke has repeatedly stated that the plan to build a $1 billion events center and $350 million Convention Center expansion will require no public money, but the topic remained a hot one during questioning after the commission meeting. Beutner said that the commission intends to make the viability of the $350 million in proposed bonds a focus of its study.

While Beutner said that AEG's stated goal of receiving protection from environmental lawsuits was not a topic of the meeting, he acknowledged that there can be problems with California's environmental review process.

"CEQA can be used properly to make sure the right work gets done and to make sure environmental issues are addressed, but I've also seen it used improperly," he said.

The Blue Ribbon Commission is only one of several city bodies starting to work on the stadium proposal. While the commission may suggest deal points, the city's official negotiations will take place via the working group led by the Chief Legislative Analyst's office.

A final decision on the deal will be in the hands of the fifteen City Council members. Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the proposed stadium site, said Thursday that the commission members are welcome to come speak during public comment when the item comes up for debate. "Ultimately, we're the ones who cast the vote," she noted.

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