Tim Leiweke, president & CEO of the sports and
entertainment companies known as AEG, and the point man on the Los Angeles
football stadium, pulled off the political trick of the year last week.
He not only
won a special exemption from state environmental laws for his plan to build a
stadium in a downtown LA. He helped open up a major new hole in the law itself
– a hole that will ease other big projects and change the political balance of
power in the state.
big winner, in fact, may not be football. Leiweke still has to convince a team
to come to LA, and that won’t be easy.
No, the big winner was the
governorship, and its powers.
The new law
enables the governor, with certain large developments that meet certain
environmental and labor standards, to grant exemptions to the California
Environmental Quality Act – CEQA.
provision gives a huge political hammer to any governor interested in using it.
For one thing, anyone who might contemplate a major development in California
will have to up their donations to governors and potential governors. For
another, the governor will be able to play in local and regional political and
government with an even stronger hand than he (or she, maybe one day) currently
Using leverage to get a desired
political outcome is a Leiweke specialty. Perhaps, once he’s built the stadium,
the sports and entertainment executive should try his hand at a job that he
just made easier.