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Coliseum Lawsuit Letter

Coliseum Lawsuit Letter

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Published by Paresh Dave

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Published by: Paresh Dave on Jan 12, 2012
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01/12/2012

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t§:J
Procopio·
Procopio,
Cory,
Hargreaves
and
SavHch
lLP
January
10
,2012
SENT
VIA
EMAIL
ANDHAND DELIVERY
Mr. David Israel,President
of
the Los AngelesMemorial Coliseum Commission
Los
Angeles
Memorial Coliseum
Commission
LosAngeles Memorial Coliseum3939 S.FigueroaStreet
LosAngeles,
CA
90037
Theodore
J.
Griswold
Dire<:t
Dial:(619)
51
S-3277
E-mail
:
tcd
.
griswold
@
procopio
.com
Re: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission ("Commission") Potential "MasterLease"AgreementforColiseum and pending violations
of
CEQA otherpublic
participation
State
laws.
Dear Mr.Israel:
Our
officerepresentsU.S. Capital, LLC,aninterested
party
inthel
ong
term fate
of
theLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum
("Coliseum").
Wehave previously providedthe Commissioncorrespondence stating ourconcerns regarding its refusal to publiclydisclose the Commission's plans to transferthe exclusive rights and use
of
theColiseum to the University
of
SouthernCalifornia
("USC').
We remain
gravely
concerned
about
the Commission's stealthproposal which
eschews
the
State
public
interest
laws
that
guarantee
fmancial,
environmental
and
social
protection
of
public resources
in
exchange
for
more back-room
dealing.Thecurrent action
of
the Commissionignores publicmeetingslawsandpublicand
en
vironmentalreviewrequirements.disregardsthepublic interest
in
theuse andfuture planning
of
vital public resources,and makesnoattempt to seekfairvalue fortheuse
of
public resources
by
precluding any public biddingprocessfor thefutureuse
of
theColiseum.The privatedecision to negotiate an agreement with USC"significantly furthers a project inamarmer thatforecloses alternatives" without undergoingeitherCEQAreviewor public discourse regarding thepropriety
of
that decision. Wehavereviewed yourmeetinghistory and found thatat no time has this matter been raised foropendiscussionand considerationprior to theCommission's decisiontonegotiate with USC for anagreementto
tum
over themanagement
of
theColiseumtoUSC.
It
is also unclear whetherthemember entities
of
the Joint PowersAuthority
have
each approv
ed
the proposedcourse
of
action
by
the Commission.
We
have alsorequestedanydocumentationthat theCommissionhas developed thatindicates that there have beenany public disclosure or involvement in the proposed agreement. Your attorneyhas
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@Procopio'
Los
Angeles
Memorial ColiseumCommission
LosAngeles MemorialColiseum
January
10,2012
Page2responded that thereare no suchdocumentswhichprecedeyour confidentialnegotiationswith
USc.
Please
be
advised
of
the following:
Adecision
on
the proposedaction withoutthe benefit
of
CEQA
comp
lian
ce
would
violate
CEQA
mandatesand
be
subjectto immediate challenge tovoidthe decision.
The
failure to publicly disclose the considerations
of
Commission, the rationale
of
itsdecisions and purported benefitstothe people
of
Ca
lif
orniaviolates the Open
Meetings
Act,
Brown
Act and the public trust.
TheCommission
lacks the legislativeauthority
to
undertake theactionswhich
it
proposeswhich
would
abrogate
its
statutoryduties.
The
Corrunissionhas undertaken directional actionwhichforecloses the consideration
of
reasonable alternatives and commits theCommissionto aspecific course
of
actionwithout thebenefit
of
CEQA
review.
Each
of
theseissuescould be used in writ and other legal actionstooverturn the
Commiss
ion
's
decision
on
the negotiated agreement.
Our
rationale follows.
We
urge the
Commj~~
;on
toreverse itscurrent course
of
undisclosed action and
open
theconsideration
of
theColiseum
management
to
public
discourse andconsideration.
The
Decision
To
Relinquish
Management
Of
State Lands
To
A
PrivateEntity
Is
ADiscretionary
«Project"
Requiring Environmental
Review.
The
proposed
actionto significantly change the
day~to~day
operations
of
the Coliseumisa
"d
iscretionary
action"
by theCommissionthat requires environmentalrev
iew
undertheCEQA.
CEQA
applies to"discretionary projects proposed to
be
carried out
or
approved
by
publicagencies
....
" (§
21080
,subd. (a).)
CEQA
applies in situations where a governmentalagencycan useits
jud
gment
in deciding
whe
therand how to carry out
or
approve aproject. A projectsubjectto such
judgmental
controls is calleda"discretionary project"
(CEQA
Guidelin
es
§
15357).
It
is without questionthatthe Commission is exercising its judgmentalcontrol
over
apublic resource, and that decision could affect the
human
environment.
Any
activitysupportedin whole
or
part
by
acontract with a publicagencyisa"project" under
CEQA
(Pub.Res.Code §21065.) 'Project'
means
an activity which may cause either adirect physical
change
in the environment,
or
a reasonably foreseeableindirectphysical change in the environment, andwhichis
any
of
the following:(a)An activity directly undertaken
by
anypublic
agenc
y.
(b)
An activityundertaken
by
apersonwhichissupported,in whole
or
in part,through contracts,grants,subsidies,loans.
or
other
fonns
of
assistance from
one ormore
publicagencies. (c)Anactivitythat involves the issuance to
a person
of
alease,permit,license, certificate, orother entitlement
for
use
by one
or
more public agencies.
21065;see Cal.Code
II
828S
f
QOOO(l11l443744
.
01
 
I@
Procopio'
LosAngeles MemorialColiseumCommission Los AngelesMemorial ColiseumJanuary 10,2012Page3Regs,tit.
14
,§§15357 [defining"discretionaryproject"];
15
378 [defining "project"].)The term"project" "meansthewhole
of
an action"(Cal. CodeRegs.,
tit.
14,§15378,subd.(a)) and"
ref
erstothe activity whichis being approved andwhichmay besubjecttoseveraldiscretionary approvals by governmental agencies."(Cal. CodeRegs., tit. 14,§15378,subd.(c).)
See alsaCedarFair,L.P.
v.
CityaJSanta Clara
(2011) 194Cal.AppAth 1150.This position is consistent
with
the requirements
of
the California State Lands
Commission,
which
administerstheleasing
of
State lands. The State Lands Commission Guidelinesdictate:
"The
issuance
of
any lease, permitor olher entitlement/oruse
of
State landsby theCommissionrequires review forcompliance withthe California
EnvironmentalQuality Act (CEQA).The
tCTrnS
of
CEQA may
be
found
in
theCaliforniaPublic Resources Code(PRC),Sections
21000
etseq.,and intheStateCEQA Guidelines,California Code
of
Regulations (CCR), Title
14,
Sections
15000
et
seq.
Noproposed projectwillbe approved until the requirements
of
CEQ
A
have
been
met."Thestandardapplicablefor this Commission
is
no different.
The
Decision To
Pursue
A Significant ChangeIn
The
Management
Of
The
Coliseum
Property
Through
A Lease
To
USC
Without
The
Consideration
of
Alternatives
or
Potential Environmental Effects Would Violate CEQA.
In
order
fo
rthe Commission to avoid further liability caused
by
violations
of
theCalifornia EnvironmentalQuality Act ("CEQA"),wecommend the Commission to the CaliforniaSupreme
Court's
decision in
Save Tara
v.
City
o/West
Hollywood
(2008)
45 Cal.4th116.
The
issuebefore the Court
in
Save Tara
was
"w
hetherandunderwhatcircumstances an agency
's
agreementallowing private development,conditionedonfuturecompliancewith CEQA, constitutes approval
of
the project within the meaning
of
Sections21100and 21151"
of
theCalifornia EnvironmentalQuality Act("CEQA").
(Id.
at121.)Thesame issueaddressed
by
the California SupremeCourtin
Save Tara
is before this Commission now.
It
isundisputed that the Commission has conducted
noCEQA analysis whatsoever
withrespectto the proposed transfer
of
management
of
theColiseumfrom the Commissiontoa privateentity. Asresult, it is anticipated that the Commission's undisclosed,secret agreement with USC will
have
aclauseinit requiring the new management
of
the Coliseum toundertakeCEQAreview in the future.However, such acommitment is hollow in that the Commission wouldhave already turned the reins
of
heColiseumovertoUSC,and therewillno ability for theCommissionto actonthe management in the future.
118
285l0000011
1443744
.01

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