I just came from the press conference at LAPD headquarters about deploying "a sea of blue" to make customers feel safer at Dodger Stadium. There was certainly a sea of media. Twenty TV and and video cameras on sticks, another 10 or so still photogs, and at least a dozen reporters and columnists — plus aides to featured speakers Mayor Villaraigosa, police chief Charlie Beck and Dodgers owner (or co-owner, if you please) Frank McCourt. It's confirmation, if you needed any, that the beating of a Giants fan and the spreading perception of a violent tone at the stadium is a big issue that City Hall and the Dodgers hope to contain. The reporter questions were fired at McCourt, who said he has now heard the complaints about the threatening tone some feel at Dodger Stadium, but he dodged a probing question about whether he was aware of fan complaints before Bryan Stow was beaten and left in a coma. Mark sounds a cynical note over at LA Biz Observed, and here's some of what I picked up:
- "This is a very sad time," Villaraigosa said, and he called on Stow's attackers to "do the right thing" and turn themselves in.
- Villaraigosa and Beck said that offduty LAPD officers will now be in uniform at Dodger Stadium with the power to kick people out of the game and make arrests. "If you're coming to Dodger Stadium to make trouble...you will be arrested," Villaraigosa said, followed by similar language from Beck.
- The chief couldn't say what kind of behavior would get you ejected, which could be a sore point: I've seen the wrong guy get get tossed from games in L.A. by late-arriving, but showily decisive security more than a few times. Beck and the mayor said repeatedly the new deployment is about helping Dodger Stadium be more "family friendly."
- Beck said the Dodgers have agreed that season ticket holders will lose their tickets if their seats are used by troublemakers. Let's see if that actually happens.
- Overall, Beck said the Dodgers accepted all LAPD recommendations. Most steps would be in place by the time the Dodgers return home next Thursday, he and McCourt said. The Dodgers will pick up the costs.
- Beck said there will be a post-mortem analysis after every game and that he, not the Dodgers, will decide how much LAPD presence is needed. "We will be a constant presence," he said.
- Officers will enforce the Dodgers' no-tailgating policy, Beck said.
- Beck also stressed that the problem is bigger than Dodger Stadium and that the LAPD will have an increased role at other sports venues. "It's a public safety issue," the chief said.
- McCourt: "We're going to fix this issue."
Councilman Ed Reyes also took part in the press conference.
* Ouch: "We’ve got a minor league businessman running a major league team," Steve Lopez writes.
Also: The Dodgers announced a "drive-through" fundraiser for Stow at the stadium on Monday, April 11 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.