CNS–The commission that oversees management of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has two new members, one of whom attempted to dissolve the panel last summer, it was announced. Real estate developer Rick Caruso was appointed to the Coliseum Commission by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, while newly elected 2nd District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas took the seat of his retired predecessor, Yvonne Burke. While serving as a state senator earlier this year, Ridley-Thomas sponsored a bill that would have dissolved the Coliseum Commission and replaced it with the so-called Exposition Park Authority, shifting the balance of power into the hands of state officials.
The commission has three seats each for members appointed by city, county and state officials. The Exposition Park Authority would have been made up of five state appointees, the 2nd District county supervisor, the 8th District Los Angeles City Council representative and two members of the public, "based upon their level of financial contribution." Justifying the move at the time, Ridley-Thomas said, " … I have the responsibility to push for more for my constituents rather than simply allowing the status quo to continue to breed missed opportunities and dysfunction and even worse, economic stagnation, at their expense."
The bill had been prompted by holdups in negotiations between the Coliseum Commission and USC, the stadium's primary tenant. Those talks eventually resulted in an agreement in February to keep Trojan football at the historic venue. Both the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council opposed the measure, calling it illegal, and it never made it to Schwarzenegger's desk.
City Councilman Bernard Parks, whom Ridley-Thomas defeated in a runoff election for the 2nd District supervisorial seat last month, also sits on the Coliseum Commission.