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Saturday, November 24, 2012
Pasadena residents ready to recall Councilman Steve Madison for NFL vote
Pasadena City council
member Steve Madison asking questions regarding the possibility of an
NFL team using the Rose Bowl. A large crowd attended the Pasadena City
Council meeting Monday, November 19, 2012 to protest the city adopting a
new city ordinance that would allow more than double the number of
events at the Rose Bowl each year. (SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini)
PASADENA - Political
retribution for support of the recently adopted Rose Bowl Environmental
Impact Report came swift for Steve Madison, as residents in the Arroyo
Seco began plans Friday to recall the Pasadena District 6 City
Madison voted Monday along with six other Pasadena City
Council members to certify an environmental impact report and change a
city ordinance, all of which clears the way for the NFL to temporarily
play at the Rose Bowl.
The City Council's move faced strong opposition from
homeowners in the upscale neighborhoods surrounding the famed stadium.
And now Madison could be the first political casualty of that decision.
"We intend to serve Mr. Madison with recall papers in the next
10 days," said Michael Vogler, the 12-year Pasadena resident who is
spearheading the effort.
Madison's city council district encompasses much of the Arroyo
Seco and Rose Bowl parking lot, along with the San Rafael and Linda
Vista-Annadale neighborhoods that are home to many of those opposed to
the NFL playing temporarily at the stadium.
"Mr. Madison is willing to sell our precious weekend and
family time to the highest bidder," according to the website. "Mr.
Madison must be replaced with a representative committed to protecting
our quality of life."
Madison said the recall comes as no surprise to him, and that rumors of a recall swirled before the City Council's vote on Monday.
"This is really about politics and not the issue at hand," Madison
said. "These are the same people who opposed me last year in my
reelection. These are the same people who talk openly about opposing my
run for mayor."
Madison plans to run for Bill Bogaard's post in 2015.
Vogler said he has 10 days to serve Madison with a recall
notice and then 120 days to gather the necessary signatures to move
forward with a recall election.
Pasadena residents have long resisted an arranged marriage
between the Rose Bowl and the NFL, despite the fact that the stadium has
played host to five Super Bowls.
In 2006, voters rejected a plan to permanently house an NFL team in the Rose Bowl.
Last time, "86 percent of the District 6 constituents voted no on the NFL and here we are again," Vogler said.
For his part, Madison ultimately opposed the plan to permanently place an NFL team in the Rose Bowl.
"We are talking about a temporary use," Madison said. "We are
never going to have an NFL franchise housed in the Rose Bowl
In 2006, Madison voted in support of the EIR to explore the
possibility of the Rose Bowl hosting a
team. But Madison balked at the
deal presented to the city by the league, which would have all but ceded
control of the stadium to the NFL, he said.
Madison even campaigned against the 2006 ballot measure to bring NFL to the Rose Bowl.
The city has not opened negotiations with an NFL team, and city officials don't expect a team in the stadium by next fall.
But given the financial issues with the Rose Bowl renovation,
city officials said they were compelled to pass the EIR and amend the
previous limit of large events at the Rose Bowl, increasing the
threshold from 12 to 25.
The stadium renovation finds itself in a financial hole approaching $50 million.
The funding gap and cost overruns have forced city officials
to reconsider aspects of the now $195 million renovation. The financial
quagmire also caused the City Council to entertain bringing the NFL to
the Rose Bowl on a temporary basis.
"The larger question is who is responsible for the bungling,"
Vogler said. "The residents don't have to pay for the mismanaging of
retrofitting the Rose Bowl."
The changes approved Monday would allow for discussions with
an NFL team, if one chooses to relocate to one of two proposed permanent
stadiums in Los Angeles County.
The Rose Bowl would serve as an interim home for a team moving
to Los Angeles as either Farmer's Field in downtown Los Angeles, or the
stadium in City of Industry is built.
According to the EIR, an NFL team in the Rose Bowl could
generate upwards of $5 million per year in net revenue for the city.
That infusion of cash couldn't come at a better time.
"I am a resident and if that is all I was, I might say `no I
don't want anything,"' Madison said. "But when you sit on the City
Council and you understand the needs, and have a fiduciary
responsibility, you might have a different opinion."
Madison supports an audit of the Rose Bowl renovation. He also
wants to study whether the city could use revenue from NFL games to
fund conservation efforts in the Arroyo. He said he also wants to see
whether the city can police an NFL game given some of the binge drinking
observed during the Nov. 17 USC-UCLA football game.