Well, that was embarrassing - a parade of former sports stars (how could you Kareem!), a bunch of pandering elected officials (on and off the council), at least two billionaires, and of course AEG head Tim Lieweke all appearing in support of the downtown stadium/convention center project. "Roger Goodell, LA is open for business, bring football back to L.A," Lieweke told the council (via City Maven tweet), and as you might expect no one was about to challenge the big man. As I've pointed out for many months, the AEG plan is fraught with questions and concerns. It's not a disaster, but the timing is troublesome. The city, which is in a truly dismal fiscal situation, should be focused on restructuring and paring down debt, not wasting its resources on a small-scale economic event (the number of jobs created by this are not huge and they're certainly not imminent). Even though taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook for construction, per se, there's no telling what might happen down the road. (I'm willing to bet serious money that the city winds up with a bill running into the many millions.) Now, if L.A. were flush with cash, this unusual arrangement might be worth the risk. At a time of $200-million-plus deficits, however, the argument is far less persuasive. But the folly that played out this morning wasn't about persuasive arguments - it was about legacy building, pure and simple. Holding off on a deal until there's a new owner of AEG - what any reasonable businessperson would want to do - was simply unacceptable because the major players involved, especially the mayor, wanted the stadium deal consummated on their watch, no matter what. So that's what we saw this morning: No-matter-what governance. Embarrassing all the way around.
Final score: Leiweke 12, L.A. 0.