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Sunday, January 20, 2013
Councilman Steve Madison fires back in Pasadena recall fight
Pasadena City council
member Steve Madison asking questions regarding the possibility of an
NFL team using the Rose Bowl at the Pasadena City Council meeting on
Monday, November 19, 2012.
PASADENA - Amid a
vigorous recall effort, Pasadena District 6 City Councilman Steve
Madison fired back Friday with a letter defending his support for
temporary use of the Rose Bowl by the NFL.
In the letter, Madison said his vote was made out of fiscal
prudence and not, as some have suggested, because of his law firm's
relationship with the NFL.
"Mayor (Bill) Bogaard, five other council members and I
approved the (Environmental Impact Report) because it would be fiscally
irresponsible to rule out this possible future temporary use," Madison
wrote in the letter. "Now Pasadena can listen should the occasion ever
arise, with no obligations whatsoever."
Madison is a partner in Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
The firm has represented the Cleveland Browns the Washington Redskins,
the Baltimore Ravens and the Green Bay Packers in matters related to
copyright laws, Madison said.
Earlier this week, the supporters of Madison's recall released
a letter citing ties between NFL teams and the councilman's law firm.
"The firm has an extensive `sports litigation' department led
by Madison's law partner who is identified as the `chief outside
intellectual property, litigation and licensing counsel to the NFL,"'
Michael Vogler, of Committee to Recall Steve Madison 2013, wrote in a
letter sent this week.
In the letter Vogler asked Madison "to disclose just how much his business has been paid by the NFL."
Vogler said Madison has a conflict of interest
on matters between the city and the NFL and said the District 6 city
councilman "is no longer qualified to represent the individuals and
families of West Pasadena."
Vogler, who has led the recall movement since it began in November, said the choice is clear.
"If you want the NFL in the Rose Bowl keep Steve Madison,"
Vogler said Friday. "If you don't want him, you have to replace him with
someone who is trustworthy."
The recall proponents must collect about 2,800 signatures, or
20 percent of District 6 residents, to put the recall on the ballot.
They have about four months to gather the signatures.
Madison said he had Steve Churchwell, the former general
counsel for the California Fair Political Practices Commission, review
the relationship between Quinn Emanuel and the four NFL teams.
Churchwell found no conflict of interest exists, Madison said.
But Vogler said he remains suspicious of the firm's ties to the teams.
"Just because it's not illegal, it doesn't mean it's not unethical," Vogler said.
Madison came under fire in November after he and seven members
of the Pasadena City Council voted to accept an EIR on temporary use of
the Rose Bowl by an NFL team.
Pasadena District 7 City Councilman Terry Tornek cast the lone dissenting vote.
City officials have pushed to include the Rose Bowl among
possible contenders to become an interim home for an NFL team, if one
returns to Los Angeles. The stadium could host a team for up to two
season while one of two proposed stadiums is built as a permanent home
for an NFL franchise. There are plans to construct a stadium in downtown
Los Angeles and a proposal to build a stadium in City of Industry.
There are no current talks between the NFL and the city of
Pasadena, according to Madison. And any possibility of the NFL returning
to Los Angeles has been put off until 2014, according to league
However, the city wants its stadium to be in play if the NFL makes a return to Los Angeles.
Pasadena recently approved $30 million in additional debt to
help close a funding gap of close to $50 million on the Rose Bowl
renovation project. The city backs those bonds and in the end Madison
said he fears Pasadena may have to dip into its General Fund to pay off
the debt service.
"The high cost of the
Rose Bowl renovation/preservation is straining Pasadena's finances, and
could impact city service like police, fire and traffic management,"
Madison wrote in his letter Friday.
The EIR and the mere mention of an NFL team unleashed
vociferous opposition from the residents who live closest to the
Complaints of traffic, rowdy fans and scrutiny of the revenue
estimates - which the city pegged at $5 million per year - led the list
of criticisms by opponents of allowing the Rose Bowl to be a temporary
home to a pro football team.
Madison said any move to support or oppose placing a team in the Rose Bowl on a short-term basis is premature.
The NFL hasn't cleared the way for any team to move and no
team has openly said it has considered a move to Los Angeles. Madison
said the city approved the EIR as a preliminary step to allow Pasadena
to talk with the NFL, if the time ever comes.
"If there is a deal that is beneficial to Pasadena and our city, we do want to be able to listen," Madison said.
But if the NFL deal ends up not nearly as sweet as the
analysis in the EIR predicts, or if the NFL insists on unreasonable
terms for use of the stadium, Madison said he is more than willing to
turn the NFL down.
"I would not hesitate to reject the NFL again, as I did in
2006," said Madison, who led opposition to the 2006 effort to bring a
permanent NFL team to the Rose Bowl.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected the 2006 ballot initiative.