Water vs. Football

The press reported recently that an L.A. businessman wants to build a 75,000 seat football stadium in the City of Industry. Now that local objections to the project have been settled, the state legislature plans to waive environmental and planning rules for the new structure, arguing that the stadium is a job-creating machine. A bill granting that waiver, which bends the rules every other builder must comply with, passed the state Assembly earlier this month and now awaits approval from the Senate.

I don’t get it. How can the state legislature even propose to “bend the rules” to complete a stadium for a mere Sunday afternoon sporting event but they can’t “bend the rules” to get water to one half of the state’s population?

No government in the history of civilized society has turned off a water supply for its people until now. Because of a protected fish, water pumps have been turned off, drying food-producing fields, killing jobs in Central California, and threatening water supply for all of Southern California. Water rates are skyrocketing and mandatory conservation, even water rationing, is the order of the day.

Are special interests standing up to fight to complete the state’s water system by seeking environmental short-cuts? I haven’t seen it yet, however, they were reportedly supportive of short-cuts for the promise of jobs to create a new football stadium. And what about the other designer environmental laws, such as AB 32 global warming? And SB 375 greenhouse gas reductions? Apparently the ref didn’t see it. Governor Ronald Reagan may have signed CEQA into law, but even The Gipper would acknowledge an “offsides” here.

In any event, it shouldn’t be water vs. football. It should be water and football, and roads and bridges, and schools, and you name it. Bottom line: if an environmental exemption is appropriate for a football stadium, it’s appropriate for all major infrastructure projects that can create jobs in this tough economy. Touchdown! Game won!

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