Last fall, I wrote about the California Legislature’s effort to exempt the proposed football stadium in the City of Industry from further environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). I didn’t follow up on that post, but the Legislature ultimately approved the exemption in a special session in the fall. Now, Los Angeles Times journalist Patrick McGreevy reports that the stadium’s developer, Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty, treated three key California lawmakers — including the bill’s sponsor — to “hard-to-get tickets to Lakers playoff games” this year. (Here’s another unflattering perspective on the events that led to that bill’s passage, from the San Jose Mercury News).
While it’s surely impossible to show a direct connection between the gifts and the legislators’ votes, it’s hard to see what the state gains by allowing this type of gift-giving.
All that aside, this legislation was unprecedented and dangerous. With another potential stadium developer now seeking a similar exemption from environmental review under CEQA, we’re only beginning to see the mischief this type of law can create, with others asking for equal treatment.
[Update: I misidentified the LA Times reporter who covered this story. It's corrected now.]