USC control of the Coliseum approved

The Coliseum Commission voted 8-1 Monday to give up day-to-day control of the historic facility to neighboring USC. Commissioner Bernard Parks, the City Council member who has been skirmishing with the commission for years, voted no. The Coliseum was built with public money in the 1920s and has been managed jointly by the city, county and state. From the LA Times web story:

The new lease would give USC the right to control the facility until 2054, when the Coliseum Commission is set to dissolve and the assets are to be transferred to the state. The university wants the state to extend the lease through 2111.

USC would put $70 million into stadium upgrades under the deal, and take control of the Coliseum's revenue. The university would also assume the $1-million annual rent payment to the state, which owns the land under the stadium and the companion Sports Arena. A state report in 2005 valued the complex at $240 million to $400 million.

Sports industry experts have said the lease gives USC all the benefits of owning the stadium without forcing it to buy the facility. Coliseum Commissioner Bernard C. Parks, an outspoken opponent of the lease and Monday's lone "no" vote, said the deal fails to account for all the money taxpayers have spent building and repairing the facility since it opened in June 1923.

"Most of it is exclusively to benefit the university," said Parks, who is also an L.A. City Councilman. "We should have negotiated this with more interest to the community, and in the interest of the taxpayers."

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