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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Councilman Steve Madison fires back in Pasadena recall fight


By Brian Charles, Staff Writer

 Posted:   01/18/2013 06:51:28 PM PST
Updated:   01/18/2013 08:51:42 PM PST
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 sources.

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 historic stadium.

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.