Note to California good government reformers: is there a football angle on a constitutional convention?
The question is raised because of what we learned last week in Sacramento: if you want to make significant changes in the law in California, it helps to have football on your side.
Case in point was the sports and entertainment company AEG's successful bid for an exemption from state environmental laws that could have effectively blocked the building of a new football stadium in downtown LA.
AEG and its president and CEO, Tim Leiweke, got the exemption. (Now he has to find an NFL team to relocate to LA). But they also got something more: a permanent hole in the state's famous and controversial environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act.
Legislation that came out of the football push carves a big new exemption in CEQA -- permitting a governor to exempt certain large developments if they comply with green building standards and labor standards. This is a big deal, not only because it might make development easier in California but also because it gives new powers to governors, who will turn them into leverage on other matters (and -- things being how they are -- into campaign donations).
Before this, CEQA had seemed like a pretty solid obstacle to big development. But CEQA was no match for the forces of football.
Perhaps football would be interested in broad electoral, budget and initiative reform?