Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pretty soon I may have one less criticism of the Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner is a free tabloid distributed in the Washington metropolitan area.  It was a brilliant repositioning of the formerly Suburban Journal publications, which published zoned additions for most of the suburban counties.  By becoming a "Washington" paper, they repositioned their place in the advertising market, opening up new segments and becoming more attractive to larger firms.

Anyway, the paper is owned by Philip Anschutz, a Coloradan who has made his wealth in oil, railroads, and telecommunications (he came up with Sprint, using the railroad right of way of the Southern Pacific [SPRint]] to lay lines), and in turn invested in other fields such as entertainment, where AEG, or the Anschutz Entertainment Group is a global player with interests in arenas, sports teams, concert production (they bankrolled what was supposed to be Michael Jackson's concert series in London), and other activities.

Through AEG, the company seeks tax incentives and other financial considerations from local and state governments to support their activities.

The company is heavily invested in Los Angeles and is seeking to bring a NFL football team to Los Angeles, and they have asked for financial consideration and reduced environmental review requirements--California's CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act's assessment process is incredibly rigorous and yes, long--in order to bring this about ("State bill coming to protect AEG football stadium project," Orange County Register).

Meanwhile, the local Examiner is quick to editorialize against tax incentives and other financial support of development interests in the Washington metropolitan area.

While some of those kinds of projects are bad and deserve criticism and to be scuttled others are justifiable in the neoliberal-Growth Machine economic and political environment that is the reality that we are dealing with.

But in any case, the Examiner is hypocritical for not disclosing its corporate conflicts of interest with regard to such editorial positions.

... anyway, Mr. Anschutz is putting AEG up for sale.  See "AEG, owner of the Kings and Staples Center, is up for sale: Philip Anschutz puts his AEG sports and entertainment empire on the market in a potential blockbuster" from the Los Angeles Times.

I don't know if that would change the quest for an NFL team for LA, but it will take away one of my abilities to criticize the local paper's editorials.

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