A new game plan

A new game plan

Council straight-arms NFL in dash to make concerts a regular Rose Bowl feature  

By André Coleman 02/13/2014

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On Monday, the Pasadena City Council began a process designed to take any possibility of the NFL playing in the Rose Bowl off the table and introduced a possible “third tenant” in the form of concerts.   
The council voted unanimously to increase the number of displacement events — an event with an expected attendance of 24,000 people or more — from 12 to 18. The council also made it clear that the city will not enter into any agreement that would allow the NFL to use the stadium as a temporary home in 2014.

“The Rose Bowl is actively considering opportunities that have come in since the first of the year for music events and a soccer game and this gives us the opportunity to defer any consideration of the NFL for 2014,” said Mayor Bill Bogaard.” The goal here is to develop a program of activities that work for the neighbors and reduce the need to even consider the NFL.”

When asked if the increase in displacement events was the beginning of a process to eliminate any possibility of a team playing in the Rose Bowl, Bogaard said, “Yes, if things can come together on some new tenant or activity that is reliable. The goal is to go down that path and no longer consider the NFL.”

The Rose Bowl has long been talked about as a possible temporary home for a professional team relocating to Los Angeles while a permanent stadium was being built somewhere in Los Angeles County. The chance of that happening seemed to have improved earlier this year when a judge threw out a lawsuit filed by homeowners alleging that the city’s environmental impact report (EIR) on bringing a pro team to Pasadena did not accurately study the impacts of the additional traffic and noise. 

Last month, the NFL confirmed that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke had purchased a 60-acre tract of land in Inglewood, near the site of Hollywood Park, which has been closed to make way for residential development. The Rams left Anaheim for St. Louis in 1995 and the Oakland Raiders left Los Angeles a year later, leaving the NFL without a football team in the second biggest television market in the country.

The Rams’ current lease with the Edward Jones Dome contains an escape clause that will kick in at the end of the 2014 season. According to ESPN, if the stadium hasn’t been upgraded to one of the eight best venues in the NFL before that time, the Rams’ lease will then become a year-to-year proposition.

Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn has said repeatedly that no formal negotiations took place between the city and the league, but Councilman Victor Gordo, who sits on the Rose Bowl Operating Committee (RBOC) and serves as the liaison between the city and the Rose Bowl, said that the displacement events only address 2014’s possibility of an NFL team at the Rose Bowl, and added the right thing to do is to continue pursuing alternatives that build harmony between the stadium and the residents living in the Lower Arroyo.

“Rather than have the NFL go the way of the 710 [Freeway connector proposal] and remain a question that continues to divide this community, the responsible thing to do is pursue alternatives and see if there is a viable solution,” Gordo said.  

The vote to increase the number of events comes less than a week after the council voted to revamp its contract with the RBOC to increase communication between the stadium and the council. The new contract includes recommendations for three reports a year from the RBOC to the council and new policies for managing large events.

The RBOC has been battling for more than a decade to bring the financially troubled Rose Bowl into the black. In 2005, the council was split on entering negotiations with the NFL to bring a permanent team to the stadium, but later voted against it. The move prompted then-Councilman Chris Holden, now a member of the state Assembly, to take the issues to the voters who overwhelmingly defeated the measure when 84 percent of voters.

Despite the legal fight waged by neighbors to keep the NFL out of the Lower Arroyo, residents seem willing to allow more high-density events, even though they would also bring more cars and noise into their neighborhoods. 
“The neighborhood does not seem bent out of shape,” said Councilman Terry Tornek. “There are a lot of positive aspects to this. We have some serious moneymakers, including the group One Direction coming in for three shows. That is huge. I think it is a good test drive for what the Rose Bowl Operating Committee is calling a third tenant. You have the Tournament of Roses, UCLA and the third tenants would be concerts.”

Boy band One Direction has taken the music world by storm. Fans purchased 300,000 tickets in one day after the group announced dates for its 100-show concert tour sold in 2012, including a six-date sell-out of the 20,000-seat O2 Arena in London, which holds substantially less people than the Rose Bowl. 

Other events scheduled for this year include an international soccer match in July, which is expected to attract 70,000 people, according to a staff report.  Later this year, the stadium will also host Autism Speaks, an awareness event which in the past has been attended by more than 40,000 people. In addition, the stadium will once again host AmericaFest, the biggest Independence Day celebration on the West Coast.

“If you are dead set against the Rose Bowl [being used by the NFL] this is a good thing,” Tornek said. “I think it could be a good conversation to say ‘OK, no more NFL and what can we do for the Arroyo?’ The big picture is the Arroyo and that is what we need to figure out; how to manage the Arroyo. 

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posted by russmen626 on 2/13/14 @ 07:57 p.m.

Every January 1 (and sometimes January 2) a million or so people flock to Pasadena to watch the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game. Tens of thousands of those people arrive days early and remain for days afterward, making it necessary for the Pasadena Police Dept. to block out any personnel vacation time from December 26 through January 4. This means, among other things, no trips to visit family/friends over the holidays or enjoying a family ski vacation while the kids are out of school. But you know that when you hire on and it is a sacrifice you and your family make every Christmas season for as long as you work here.

Now, PPD staff, and therefore the City, are making additional demands on all police department personnel, requiring them to be available to work these "displacement events" even if they are on vacation at the time of the event. In a memorandum to police department personnel the PPD staff identified 11 Rose Bowl events that will require "significant staffing" of police personnel. Those dates are:

May 17 (Amgen Bicycle Tour); July 4 (America Fest); July 23 and 29 (soccer matches); August 7 and 8 (concerts); September 11, 12 and 13 (concerts); November 22 (UCLA/USC football); November 28 (UCLA/Stanford). Also, it is anticipated there will be four additional dates to be named later for additional concerts.

The official department position is that personnel may continue with the current practice of signing up for vacation time as available, but if any of the above dates fall within that vacation time the vacationing employee is subject to mandatory recall if it is determined that the police staffing level is insufficient for that particular event. The exact wording on the memorandum is, "Dates identified as needing significant staffing mean that employees are subject to being ordered to work on those dates and must be available on the identified day. Any employee taking vacation that may fall within those identified days must be available for that event."

You can't make this stuff up and it would be laughable if it weren't true. The short sightedness of this policy has far reaching affects that go beyond staffing levels at Rose Bowl events. For example, the department is setting employees up for disciplinary action if an employee refuses to leave his/her family on their Maui trip so he or she can hop a flight home to work the One Direction concert. Besides being totally inappropriate in the treatment of department personnel, it is also a direct violation of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA).

End of Part One

posted by Doc Walters on 2/15/14 @ 04:46 p.m.

Part Two

The MMBA governs labor-management relations in California local governments such as city governments and mandates that management meet with labor organizations to meet and confer on all things employment related, including vacation issues. Violations of the MMBA can have significant civil sanctions and ramifications.

What I find most interesting about this mandate is that it is completely unnecessary. The Rose Bowl has a long history of hosting major events and this type of policy has never before been necessary. And, if additional personnel are needed the City can contract with other local law enforcement agencies like they have in the past. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept., Irvine P.D. and Glendale P.D. all come to mind. And, there is always the option of hiring more personnel so insufficient staffing is not an issue.

I suggest that someone at the City Manager's Office or the City Attorney's Office make a call to the PD and suggest they drop this silly mandate before it ends up costing the City a lot of money.

posted by Doc Walters on 2/15/14 @ 04:47 p.m.

Were there ever a reason for unions, this is one. If I'm not mistaken (and I have been a couple of times past ~ ), the union(s) that represent(s) the law enforcers in this corner of LA County (should) already have up-to-date, extensive files on the capabilities, training, and availability of their respective officers. As a program, finding temporary replacements for vacationing officers could actually draw from any (qualified) public law enforcement agency in the County.

For the above Rose Bowl events, the police union could voluntarily sustain from among its extra-territorial sister departments a volunteer's list that could easily be drawn upon for temporary seasonal replacements (ONLY, of course, for these semi-private corporate, RBOC - sponsored events). The "migrant" volunteers on this surrogate security list (overtime is overtime, whether it's the Operating Company or the CoP primarily footing the bill) should also receive special training as "official" Rose Bowl replacement LEOs. As an added bonus, after graduating, PPD could even give them a handsome little diploma (or similar qualifying document) to fill any empty space on their home-office wall.

In any event, if what DW complains about above is a true hardship problem for the PPD's rank-and-file, it's only because somebody somewhere else in power wants it that way.


posted by DanD on 2/16/14 @ 09:45 p.m.


You make good money. Shhhhhhh, take your pension and be quiet. Also, what did you expect from the command staff that you have? Inexperienced boobs, including the guy sitting at the top.

posted by Paul G on 2/17/14 @ 02:18 p.m.

City hall follow MOUs or laws? That's never going to happen.

We have a 300k city manager, two 210k assistant city managers and yet the rose bowl lost millions, power plants are exploding and the police departments "shoot at black" program is still in full effect.

Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Council is doing a FINE job.

posted by ScarySpice on 2/17/14 @ 05:22 p.m.

Wait one moment, Spice! The "shoot at black" program was fixed with the Office of Independent Review report on the shooting that occurred two years ago. Did you not read it? Oh, wait. This report was never given to the public as promised, or it was never completed. Hey, is this the same independent review group that keeps the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in check? Pasadena should hire Lee Baca as Police Chief, he would fit right in.

posted by Paul G on 2/18/14 @ 12:23 p.m.


posted by Paul G on 2/18/14 @ 12:23 p.m.

Paul G. I agree.

posted by Vivavilla on 2/18/14 @ 07:53 p.m.

Paul G. I agree with the comments about the Office of Independent Review report.

posted by Vivavilla on 2/19/14 @ 07:32 a.m.

I hate when that happens.

posted by Paul G on 2/20/14 @ 03:22 p.m.
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