To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pasadena residents ready to recall Councilman Steve Madison for NFL vote 


 By Brian Charles, SGVN
Updated:   11/23/2012 09:29:24 PM PST
  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 Councilman.

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.

A website was launched this week in support of the recall effort - recallstevemadison.com.

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 permanently."

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.