I grew up a diehard Rams fan. I suffered through the 14-7 “Mud Bowl” NFC championship loss to the Vikings at the Coliseum in 1977. My recall of the Steelers’ John Stallworth grabbing a reception by pinning the football to his helmet is as vivid as my memory of today’s breakfast. Be it Jack Youngblood playing with a broken leg or Harold Jackson streaking long for a TD pass, I lived and died with my beloved Rams. At least until owner Georgia Frontiere broke my heart by moving the team to St. Louis.
I am a football fan. Not a fantasy league geek kind of fan, but the kind that follows the NFL closely, watches ESPN’s “SportsCenter” daily, and catches at least part of a game or two a week. I want football back in Los Angeles. It is comical that little Jacksonville has a team and the nation’s second largest city has none.
But that does not mean that I support waiving compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act to get it done.
If the Ed Roski stadium project is such a great opportunity, maybe the NFL should make it clear they want an NFL team in L.A. in Roski’s stadium. That has not happened. If the nation’s first LEED-certified stadium is as green as proponents claim, then why can’t they go through the CEQA process like everyone else? Because Roski’s crew is masterful at sidestepping environmental laws – see construction of the Staples Center a decade ago.
Instead, we have the Legislature and the Governor wrapping themselves in the glory of the NFL. It’s as if they have claimed some sort of divine intervention to allow pro-football to return to L.A. I can’t wait for the free Steve Sabol-narrated DVD about the “men and women that play the game!” for the Legislature with my next SI subscription. I can picture the football fanfare, with exaggerated claims like “the stadium will create 19,000 jobs.” Tears are coming to my eyes just thinking about it.
I live in Santa Monica. I’m pretty sure you need an approved EIR to add a bathroom to your house. Seriously, thanks to our friends at the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, we need an EIR to ban disposable bags in a city, but we don’t need an approved EIR for a 75,000-person stadium next to an already packed freeway. Once again, I just can’t quite make sense of it all.
Now that Roski has created yet more precedent by another end run around CEQA, let’s see if he can pull off getting football back to L.A. With our football luck, we’ll either get shut out again, or get stuck with those not so lovable losers, the Rams or Raiders.