As expected, two California legislators on Friday introduced a bill to fast-track AEG’s planned downtown Los Angeles NFL stadium, forcing any environmental challenges to be resolved within six months. The twist: With just four days left in the legislative session, some legislators said they’d barely have time to read the bill before having to vote on it.
Defense against what it considered frivolous lawsuits was one of AEG’s main demands, especially after its stadium competitors in City of Industry got an even more sweeping get-out-of-lawsuit-free card two years ago. It looks like this one could see some opposition, though, particularly from legislators who don’t see why their cities’ stadium and arena plans shouldn’t be similarly fast-tracked: San Diego assemblymember Nathan Fletcher declared, “I oppose this effort unless it’s amended to apply to the entire state. Los Angeles isn’t the only city to undertake this kind of effort, and if the process is broken, the fix should apply to the entire state.” And Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento suggested that he’d prefer to see a statewide change to environmental laws as well, presumably so that the Kings could take advantage of it as well, if their arena plan ever gets off the ground.
All of which seems like a lot to untangle in the next four days, but if nothing else it could certainly lay the groundwork for a broader exemption next session.
In other Kings news, meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Johnson’s arena task force is set to turn in its final financing plan this Thursday, which means it’s time for the spin attempts to begin. First up: Developer David Taylor, who promised on Thursday that “if the arena is a go, there will be private investors, big-time investors” will build other projects — why, he might even build a hotel himself. Taylor, of course, is one of the developers hoping to build the arena itself — but a developer would never lie about the likely benefits of development just to win public subsidies, would he?