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Tempest in the Rose Bowl: Pasadena councilman’s vote sparks recall effort

The Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl
Andres Aguila/KPCC

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West Pasadena resident Michael Vogler has spearheaded a campaign to recall City Councilman Steve Madison, thanks to a dispute over use of the Rose Bowl.  Last November, Pasadena City Council members voted 7-1 to allow expanded use of the Bowl for major events, from 12 per year to 25. This paves the way for an NFL team, should one move to Los Angeles, to take up temporary residence in Pasadena while waiting for a stadium to be built for them.

But the move has angered nearby residents and others who regularly use the Bowl grounds for soccer games, picnics, running and other activities.  NFL games would cut down on time for public use of the grounds, and neighborhood residents fear the traffic, unruly fans and environmental headaches that would ensue on game day.  On his website, Vogler writes that Madison “sold out the people that he was elected to represent by voting for a plan which will allow the NFL to play at the Rose Bowl” and that he’s “willing to sell our weekends and precious family time to the highest bidder.”  

There have also been accusations of conflict of interest; Madison works for a law firm who has represented NFL interests in the past. Madison has pushed back, filing a rebuttal that labels the recall effort a “misguided” attempt to “circumvent the will of the voters” who elected him.  The Rose Bowl is in need of expensive repairs, he points out, and Pasadena could use the injection of revenue from NFL games. But it seems Madison may have a fight on his hands to keep his city council seat.  Supporters of the recall must now gather 2,800 signatures to force a vote, 20% of the approximately 14,000 registered voters in the district.

Are you a regular user of the Rose Bowl grounds?  Would you be willing to give up some of the time you spend there to make room for an NFL team? Should a city councilman be subject to recall for casting an unpopular vote?


Michael Vogler, attorney, secretary/treasurer for the Committee to Recall Steve Madison

Steve Madison
, Pasadena City Councilman, District 6