AirTalk for May 15, 2012

LA Coliseum panel approves deal to transfer control of venue to USC

LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM

Photo by Rick Samuelson via Flickr Creative Commons

The exterior of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission on Monday voted 8-to-1 to give day-to-day control of the Coliseum to the University of Southern California, thus essentially ending the public’s stewardship of the historic venue.

The vote is considered controversial for a number of reasons. For one, the 88-year-old stadium in South Los Angeles was built with public money to honor World War I veterans. Critics say handing it over to a private entity such as USC, which has called the property physically unfit for the university’s Trojan football team that plays there, is an admission of failure on the part to the scandal-ridden Coliseum Commission to efficiently manage the asset.

The facility needs expensive upgrades and USC has pledged $70 million towards a remodel, and will assume the $1 million annual rent payment to the state. The new lease would give USC the right to control the facility until 2054, when the assets are set to be transferred to the state, but the university wants the state to extend the lease through 2111. Coliseum Commissioner Bernard C. Parks was Monday’s only dissenting vote, saying the deal does not account for taxpayer money towards constructing and fixing the venue since it opened almost 90 years ago, in 1923.

Is the L.A. Memorial Coliseum Commission’s decision to give daily control of the Coliseum to USC a bad move?


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