Hundreds of people, including members of three high school football teams, dozens of construction workers and former Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, packed City Hall Friday for the first full council discussion of a proposed downtown NFL stadium.
The City Council chamber was standing room only by mid-morning, and about 200 people were forced to stand in the City Hall Rotunda and outside in a forecourt along Spring Street.
Anschutz Entertainment Group wants to build a $1.2 billion football stadium, convention hall and two parking structures on city-owned land downtown. City officials recently released a draft agreement between the city and AEG that details how the plan would be financed, including $275 million of city-issued bonds.
A committee of five members has been holding public hearings on the plan this week.
Council President Eric Garcetti said the hearing would be the first time many citizens would hear the details of the plan.
“We’re here to ask … today if they build it what will come,” Garcetti said. “How many jobs will be created? How will the city’s budget be protected?”
Venice High School football coach Derek Fulwilder brought about 30 of his players along to show support for bringing an National Football League team to Los Angeles.
“The age of most of these kids is 15 or 16, about the time since we last had a football team in this city,” Fulwilder said.
“This is the second biggest media market in the country, and we don’t have a professional football team. How un-American is that?” he said. “Some people say baseball is America’s pastime. I beg to differ.”
Members of the Dorsey and Roosevelt high school football teams were also at City Hall.
The city’s chief legislative analyst, city consultants and AEG President Tim Leiweke planned to give presentations on the plan and answer questions from the council.