Clipper Arena and Olympic Infrastructure On Hold

State Senator Steven Bradford backed a bill that would potentially speed up the building process for the Clippers' Arena and the proposed Olympic transit system. But Senate bill SB 789 life-span was short. Within a week, the state senate shelved the bill after learning there weren't enough advance votes that would allow it to pass.

The lack of votes can be attributed to what one legislator from Sacramento called the measure's "billionaire justice." The term refers to high-end developers getting special passes in the form of lowering the California Environmental Quality Act requirements for those developments. Other special benefits would include "reduced court-decision timelines for potential lawsuits against the Clippers’ arena," according to the L.A. Times.

The lack of support for this type of bill is rare. Since 2009, the state has approved similar legislation for stadiums in downtown Los Angeles and sports arenas in Northern California. Developments of this nature are seen as economic boons to the area's economy. Bradford, who represents Inglewood, states that the only difference between those bills and SB 789 is that the latter bill "directly benefits the black and brown community."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was not in support of the bill because the Olymmpics project developers did not need the bill's benefits, nor did they want it. They requested that Bradford remove their projects from the bill.

The Clippers were in support of the bill because it would allow them to move forward without interference from competitors, namely Madison Square Garden Co. and AEG. Another measure is on the table, one that would decrease lengthy court decisions for development projects costing more than $100 million. Developers would be required to pay construction workers union-level wages and meet certain environmental protection standards. The Clippers prefer SB 789.

Companies that support SB 699, the other measure, include Facebook and a developer with plans to construct two high-rise buildings in Hollywood. That measure would have to pass both houses by September 15 or it could also end up with the same fate as SB 789.


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