NFL@L.A.: Gov. Jerry Brown
September, 27, 2011
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The NFL moved a step closer to returning to Los Angeles on Tuesday but a step back if you expected a team to be playing here as early as next season.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday to expedite legal challenges to Farmers Field, Anschutz Entertainment Group's $1.2 billion proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
Basically, the bill would allow legal challenges to the stadium's environmental impact report (EIR) to be heard immediately in the California Court of Appeal, which would then come to a decision within 175 days.
While this is a huge victory for AEG because the expedited process would bypass the Superior Court and avoid the protracted litigation AEG has been fearful of, it doesn’t change the fact that it will still take close to six months for any case to be decided.
AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke expects to file the EIR for Farmers Field by June 1. Leiweke would like to break ground that day but that’s not going to happen. Once the EIR is filed, the clock begins on legal challenges and if one is filed within 30 days it will likely not be decided on until November 2012.
“Assuming we file the EIR June 1, it will be 175 days maximum from there,” Leiweke said. “Those 175 days includes 30 days for us to respond, but we won’t take 30 days to respond, we’ll be ready to respond in 10 days, so we think 175 days could be 155 days. It is what it is and we agree with the process. It allows everyone a voice if we did something wrong in the EIR, then there is going to be timely process to allow people to come in and question us and we’re prepared to live with that.”