Nov 30, 2011

Bogaard and Gordo: Community has a voice in Rose Bowl

by Bill Bogaard and Victor Gordo - November 30, 2011

In recent weeks, a debate has arisen in West Pasadena about possible temporary use of the Rose Bowl stadium for professional football in the event an NFL team agrees to move to Los Angeles. Seventeen years without a pro football team in the region suggests such a move is complicated and might not occur for several years, if ever.

But there are two efforts underway to bring pro football to Los Angeles, one by Majestic Realty for a stadium in the City of Industry and the other by AEG, the major sports and entertainment company that operates in downtown Los Angeles. Neither of these efforts has linked up with any NFL team, but both companies are working hard. Majestic has obtained all entitlements needed to begin construction and AEG has successfully negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the Los Angeles City Council.

If an NFL team does agree to relocate to Los Angeles, the new owner will need a temporary football stadium for home games while a permanent stadium is being constructed, and it seems likely the Rose Bowl will be approached.

Temporarily hosting an NFL team would inject tens of millions of dollars per year into our local economy, which would be a huge benefit to city finances and local businesses in this period of economic weakness. It could also potentially close the funding gap on the Rose Bowl renovation project now underway.

It would seem irresponsible on our part as community leaders to reject such a possibility out of hand. We recognize there is more to consider than the financial aspects of such an arrangement. For example, in keeping with our strong commitment to maintaining Pasadena's quality of life, protection of neighborhoods is among our top priorities.

City of Pasadena and Rose Bowl Operating Company staff conducted initial studies to determine the best process for recommending to the City Council an increase in the number of permitted displacement events; that is, events that attract more than 20,000 attendees. An Environmental Impact Report will be necessary to assess the impacts associated with such events. Any impacts must be mitigated or managed to protect neighborhood interests. With the additional studies and potential mitigation, the earliest the Rose Bowl could host an NFL team for one or more full seasons probably would be autumn 2013.

The beloved Rose Bowl, known as America's Stadium, is synonymous with Pasadena. Our community is renowned in large measure because of the stadium and its annual Rose Bowl Game. The obligation to maintain this treasure is obvious. The Rose Bowl renovation now underway is the result of a community commitment and effort and it must be completed on time and on budget.

After considering the pros and the cons, we support City Manager Michael Beck and Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn for studies that have been done, for those that are yet to come and for discussions with neighborhoods that surround the stadium and stakeholders throughout Pasadena.

At this point, the only sure thing is that if the NFL should in the future request the Rose Bowl as a temporary venue, we will continue to seek community input, a hallmark of our great traditions in Pasadena. With studies done and to be done, we intend to be fully prepared to consider all drawbacks as well as the potential benefits. In that effort, the public has a major role to play.

That's how we do it in Pasadena.

Bill Bogaard is the mayor of Pasadena; Victor Gordo is the councilman for District 5 and president of the Rose Bowl Operating Company Board of Directors.

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