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If Not a Football Stadium, Warehouses for Grand Crossing

A reality check on the proposed NFL Grand Crossing Stadium. Taking time and making space to smell the roses.

Today, Weeks Roses went on the auction block. So say reliable sources of the esteemed wholesale grower with its hybridizing operation at the Cal Poly Greenhouses. To everyone who has ever dedicated their working life to make the world more beautiful, I dedicate this post to you.

In 1996, the former fighter pilot, John Semcken III took on primary responsibility for identifying, analyzing and negotiation a site for a sports and entertainment complex to house Los Angeles’s professional sports teams. This intimate involvement with the creation of the Staples Center means he knows that of which he speaks.

In a candid conversation with Mr. Semcken this afternoon, the vice president of Majestic Realty was asked if the land the project is proposed to sit on does not become a stadium, will it be allowed to lay fallow waiting for the economy to improve. A quick chuckle was followed by a swift reply, quite to the point, “I don’t think so.”  If it were not for the stadium option being a real contender, “ground would have already broken.” on the entitled alternative.

My experience with former military is that while tact may not be a strength, honesty is. What the two projects represent are stand alone, competing visions with incompatible land use elements. It will be one or the other. Neither is not an option.

Setting aside the value to the company, the value of $762 million a year in economic activity is significant. 12,000 construction jobs lead the economic stimulus, followed by an anticipated $323 million in salaries divided by 6,735 full-time jobs are estimated to follow. 

Comparing the Grand Crossing stadium's projected impact to the already entitled project with industrial components, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) concluded that the NFL-inclusive project would generate 71,000 less car trips per week. The maximum number of days for the intense use of the stadium  is 45.

My vision of reality is I would rather be impacted on 45 days than during all 52 weeks of the year. 

A councilperson’s reality is not just the physical impact on the community, but as fiduciaries, on the financial impact in revenues generated on behalf of the community. Other writers have thoroughly gone over this. Some people will never believe that anything other than bad happens from change. I am not one of those.

I believe change can be good when care is shown in implementation. In giving up what has been a long-standing view of bucolic paradise, it is my strong desire that a new way is found to express our heritage. 

We have a rich history of agricultural activity in the San Gabriel Valley. My vision, not just on this project, goes beyond the architecture and activities. What I dream of is greater celebration of our climate through horticulture (plantings) and public art.

There are many visions of paradise. But don’t all have gardens?  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carol A. Herrera May 17, 2011 at 04:22 PM
John Semcken made a presentation to the Four Corners Coalition meeting held at AQMD on Monday and the members of the Coaliton will be considering a Resolution to support the New Stadium at it's next meeting on June 13. This is an opportunity for extraordinary ecomonic development for this community and surrounding cities, and it is time to stand up and send that message to the NFL. The Four Corners Coalition is made up of the four counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernadino and Riverside, and the cities that are in proximity to the four county borders. Carol Herrera, Diamond Bar Councilwoman Treasurer, Four Corners Coalition
Lydia Plunk May 17, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Councilwoman Herrera- Thank you for not just dropping by- but leaving a comment with info of interest. Blessings- Lydia
Julia Nelson May 18, 2011 at 07:45 PM
I'd rather have 52 weeks of traffic and noise during business hours when I'm away at work than 45 days of traffic and noise when I'm trying to relax at home.
Steve May 18, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Grand Ave, and the 57/60 freeways can't handle the stadium traffic period. That's it in a nutshell. A week doesn't go by where there is isn't some kind of horrible accident along that stretch of freeway. Putting a stadium there would be a complete disaster. The stadium belongs in Los Angeles, next to that other fine sports arena, The Staples Center. I really don't think that building an NFL stadium right next to an expensive bedroom community is a good idea at all, nor do the majority of home owners that live in this area.
Michael May 21, 2011 at 03:12 AM
Great point Julia! I'm less concerned with trucks traveling down Grand at 3 PM when I'm at work- but our weekends are precious time. I don't want 45 "intense use" weekends, out of 52, wrecked with traffic as people try to get to a Raider's game, rap concert, or monster truck jam.
Richard Michael May 24, 2011 at 05:10 AM
Flowery, bucolic language is very soothing, but the writer makes statements about the future as if they were facts. "The maximum number of days for the intense use of the stadium is 45." Is this by contract? In other words, is it enforceable? Who are the parties to the agreement? "A councilperson's reality is not just the physical impact on the community, but as fiduciaries, on the financial impact in revenues generated on behalf of the community." On behalf of what community? What are the revenues? Won't the complex, as an entertainment destination, generate revenues for the complex itself, wholly contained within in the City of Industry for sales tax revenue?
Richard Michael May 24, 2011 at 05:10 AM
Continued ... Every elected official in California takes an oath: "... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California ..." -- California Constitution, Article 20 Miscellaneous Subjects, Section 3. "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy." -- California Constitution, Article 1 Declaration Of Rights, Section 1. What about the impact on the property rights and quality of life of the residential neighbors immediately adjacent to the project? Isn't a council member's primary duty to his oath? I don't have a crystal ball, but experience and history suggest that rosy projections, without enforceable contractual obligations, never come to pass.
Lydia Plunk May 24, 2011 at 06:31 AM
Concerning property rights- they are not unencombered. They are shared by small and large landowners alike. Conditional Use Permits are enforceable contracts. The entire process of entitlement is about framing entitlements with enforceable contracts. Businesses not in compliance can be shut down. Not just before doors open, but afterwards. Planning law requires the affects on existing neighborhoods to be considered. Which leads us back to the question- Are warehouses with the truck traffic they generate benefit the community more than a limited use stadium ? The property under discussion is previously entitled. That is baseline legal fact. Ignore it and we are very likely to learn that warehouses are not just or the Monday -Friday normal hours variety. Because vacant land is not free to the owner- it is likely to happen sooner rather than later should the stadium fall through or be delayed beyond the patience of the property's owner.
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Have you ever been near Anaheim Stadium or the Honda Center when a big event is going on? I had to pick up my daughter after the Lady Gaga concert at the Honda Center in March and it took more than an hour to get near it to pick her up off site. It was a nightmare of traffic in an area that was DESIGNED to have big traffic. I've been mired in traffic after an Angel game that wasn't even sold out. I've been a mile outside Anaheim Stadium during a monster truck event and various concerts and the roar was tremendous. Imagine that monster truck or music sound amplified by the mountains surrounding the Industry stadium. I don't hate football or rock. I've attended my share of football games and big outdoor concerts since the '70s. They don't belong in residential neighborhoods, and it's not worth putting up with them to get a nice track at Lorbeer and a few traffic lights. Warehouses over the hills and trucks getting on freeways? Yeah, that's more like it.
Richard Michael May 24, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Where are the "inalienable rights", recognized in the California Constitution, of "all people" to acquire, possess, and protect property encumbered? Any so-called "law" (really just statutes and codes) that is not in the Constitution is inferior to and subject to it. The rights of the people are above and superior to the Constitution. The California Constitution recognizes that people "have" rights that existed before the existence of the Constitution. The City of Industry owns the land on the which the project is planned, so it's not even a question of the competing rights of people who own property. Are you saying government's (Industry's) desire to use it's property trumps the people's rights? Governments have no rights. Governments are creations of the people. Governments are servants of the people. Governments are bound to follow the Constitution that created them. Actions of governments outside of the limited grants of power that the people gave them is, by definition, unlawful. Corporations, similarly, have no rights. Corporations are legal fictions chartered by States to operate in commerce.
Lydia Plunk May 24, 2011 at 07:24 PM
You state your position well. Where we differ is how we see the inconvenience of venue vs inconvenience of trucking infrastructure. I agree. Getting into and out of concerts and sporting events can get stressful. Where we disagree- is I see that hassle magnified atleast 5 days a week- without any control over the hours impacted.
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 07:46 PM
This difference is that you have a few trucks at a time driven by professional drivers leaving a facility and getting on the freeway and vice versa. They're not hundreds of motorists not quite sure where they're going cutting through Diamond Bar to bypass the freeway to get to and from a venue, causing gridlock and locking me into my condo complex. They're not thousands of football fans cheering and drinking for hours or music fans roaring along with the loud music or monster trucks. Twenty-thousand people leaving at the same time will muck of the streets worse than warehouse traffic. A lot of the warehouse traffic will be during business hours when most people are at work. The stadium noise and traffic will come when us working people of Diamond Bar have put in our long weeks and are trying to relax at our homes that we did not buy in Anaheim or Los Angeles because we did not want to live near a big sports venue. We the people near the stadium did not have a voice in its approval because the Legislature handed over an environmental impact certification and our legislator's wife works for the stadium owner. I have been to many stadium events in Orange County and Los Angeles and not once have I said, "Gee, I wish I lived in this neighborhood." I've driven around Industry "neighborhoods" at night and guess what: all the businesses were closed. No traffic! No one around.
Lydia Plunk May 24, 2011 at 07:47 PM
You may want to check with your attorney. Corporations are legal "persons". There are something in excess of 5oo amendments to the original Calfornia Constitution. Other than to say codes and statues must be consistent with the constitution as amended. it serves no purpose to go further on that point. Property taxes are one example of an encumbrance, a responsibility. The private property is within the jurisdiction of the City of Industry. Local governments are charged with land use planning. Get that thrown out on constitutional grounds and you will have made a point- while removing the very structure that gives local residents any input into the proecess. For the record- I have no vested interest in this project other than as a taxpaying citizen of a city to be affected. This blog is volunteer time- on this subject- unless there is breaking news- I have no further comment. My time is better spent in the garden, with my loved ones and plying my trade.
Lydia Plunk May 24, 2011 at 07:54 PM
When you asked- what were you told about the vacant land? What change in a new EIR do you expect would have been different than what was already passed?
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 08:48 PM
I understand that development will take place on the property, that it will not remain vacant land. And I'm willing to take warehouses over the stadium. When I talked of the EIR, there was one done several years ago for the property. Normally, when a new project is proposed, a new EIR must be conducted. However, the landowner was able to get a special state law passed that stated a new EIR was NOT required. So whatever environmental findings were made are out of date. Would a new EIR have made any difference? We'll never know, because in this case, money talked, and what walks is being spread all over us.
Lydia Plunk May 24, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Julia, You sound to be a very thoughtful and reasonable person. I hope that however this turns out, you make it through the construction phase and find peace with whatever neighbors come. For what it is worth, the EIR conclusions are out of date only if conditions have changed. I do believe that if underlying conditions had changed there would have been no exemption. If anything is to be blamed for the exemption- it is the economy. This is anecdotal- but I haven't seen any studies suggesting it isn't true on a macro level. My friends and relatives are moving not because they don't like living here. They are leaving because of a lack of jobs, high tax rates and high cost of living.
Michael May 24, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Julia, you are so right. A proper EIR would be SIGNIFICANTLY different: trucks going from the site to the 60 FWY from 7AM to 6PM vs. 71,000 cars cutting through Walnut from the 10 FWY on the weekends and AFTER business hours. Plus, most professional truck drivers are not drunk- a measurable percentage of people leaving an NFL game are impaired- Google it. Warehouses don't have BLIMPS or loud HELICOPTERS flying over them either, trucks don't emit light pollution like a stadium, and drivers usually don't riot, shall I continue? I wouldn't worry about this stadium being built though, the NFL told John Shempken to stop using the Los Angeles name- I think that says it all.
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Yes! I forgot about the blimps and stuff. They're pretty loud, too.
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 10:24 PM
We'll never know if EIR conditions are out of date, because a new study wasn't done. After a 30-plus-year career of newspaper reporting and editing, I don't know that I could ever trust a developer or city official when the money starts flying.

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