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STATEMENT OF COUNCILMAN EDWARD R. ROYBAL
TO LEGISLATIVE HEARING
May 16, 1958
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee:
I was not present to vote on the final ordinance, but had the opportunity to cast my vote against the proposed contract on
September 16, 1957. When I arrived in Los Angeles from my visit to Israel, I was questioned at the airport regarding the Dodger
contract. Since I had not seen the final draft adopted by the Council, I could not take a definite position, but did say that
I would not have voted for the contract if it contained some of the provisions discussed on September 16th. In reading the
contract and carefully considering all its aspects, I came to the conclusion that it is one of the worst contracts that the
City of Los Angeles has ever entered into.
The first thing that surprised me in the contract was the fact that the Council had made a finding of fact in agreeing that
the property in question was no longer required for the use of the City. I was informed that this finding was not based on
a study of the land use in that area. Chavez Ravine had been a sleepy community of more than 4,000 people. It had two public
schools, their churches, their stores, and their clinic. It had a definite use a few years ago. The Housing Authority bought
their property under eminent domain and gave them an amount insufficient to make a purchase elsewhere. They were told then
that this was for the public use, and today these people find that their property was taken from them at a ridiculous price
to be turned over to a big
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business concern. When public housing was finally scuttled in the City of Los Angeles, the people of the City were again told
that this land could be used for a public purpose only. The land use in Chavez Ravine has not yet definitely been determined
and I believe that this should have been done before the contract was entered into.
I was very much interested in the 40 acres of land that was to be used for recreational facilities, but disappointed after
reading further that the ball club is under no obligation to provide personnel for the operation thereof and that the ball
club shall continue to use any facilities suitable for parking during the time that the ball park has scheduled an event at
said baseball stadium. I believe that a recreational area of this type is very much needed today, but it will be needed even
more 20 years from now when under the terms of the contract, "title of such 40 acres shall be conveyed to the ball club forthwith
without further consideration." The City, however, keeps the mineral rights, but the contract also states that "one-half of
all monies payments, royalties, or other consideration received by the City from said mineral rights or any of them in whole
or in part, shall be placed in a special trust fund and such funds shall be expended soley for the purpose of providing and
maintaining recreational facilities to promote the youth program of the ball club." We are permitted to keep the oil and mineral
rights in one paragraph and they are taken away in another, for the land that is to be developed by one-half of the oil royalties
is the same 40 acres that will belong to the ball club within 20 years.
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It is understood under the terms of the contract, that any violation of the terms of the agreement with reference to the recreational
facilities shall not invalidate or affect any transfers of land which may theretofore have been made pursuant to the agreement.
One of the most incredible things about the contract is that we agreed to exchange 300 or more acres within a short distance
from the City Hall for 10 acres of Wrigely Field, and to use our best efforts to eliminate or modify any deed restrictions
on the property. We also further agreed to use our best efforts to acquire the additional land at a reasonable price, that
is, land over and above the 169 acres already owned by the City, and to convey title of approximately 315 acres to the ball
club. If the Dodgers need 98 acres for a stadium and parking, whey give them 315? If they are going to play baseball, why
do we agree to change the zone to C3?
I believe that the people of the City of Los Angeles should vote "NO" on Proposition B, and give the Council an opportunity
to re-negotiate a contract that makes sense, one that will keep the Dodgers in Los Angeles and at the same time agree to a
contract that is beneficial to the ball club and to the people of the City of Los Angeles.