On Thursday, Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition will announce a lawsuit against the State of California challenging the constitutionality of the law that granted special privileges for the Farmers Field and Convention Center modification project. The lawsuit targets California State Senate Bill 292 (SB 292), a law passed in 2011 that sends all environmental challenges to the Farmers Field project directly to the Court of Appeals.
The lawsuit follows the adamant opposition of the organizations in Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition to SB 292, viewing it as an unnecessary and unfair attack on the community protections provided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A project of this size will have enormous environmental and other health impacts on surrounding communities, and a robust and constitutionally valid process is crucial to protecting community health.
The attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick LLP, and Robert D. Newman, Attorney at Law, argue that SB 292 violates two sections of the California constitution – the section giving courts original jurisdiction, and that which prohibits special legislation where a general law is applicable.
Pedro Ares, a resident of South Los Angeles living about a mile from the project and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said, “This project will have a huge impact on this city and my community. I’ve lived in this community for over 50 years, and I’ve seen how rapidly it is changing. This stadium will affect parking, housing prices, traffic, air quality and so much more. We should be taking as much time and giving residents as many opportunities as possible to ensure that we protect the rights of those who will be impacted by the project. We shouldn’t be giving special treatment to any developer to speed up the process.”
According to Dan Stormer of Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick LLP, “This bill is blatantly unconstitutional. It is an attempted end run around the constitution.” Barbara Schultz of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles added, “It blocks access to the trial court for the citizens of this city who want to challenge a project that fails to mitigate the serious harm to their health and their neighborhoods.”