FARMERS FIELD: The Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition, a group of environmental activists, anti-poverty groups and law professors, has sued the state of California to challenge the constitutionality of a state law opponents say gives special treatment to Farmers Field developer Anschutz Entertainment Group. AEG plans to build a downtown L.A. football stadium next to its L.A. Live entertainment complex in hopes of attracting an NFL team to the city. Senate Bill 292, signed into law last year, speeds up environmental review of the estimated $1.1-billion project, in part by bypassing initial review by the Los Angeles County Superior Court of any challenge and sending the case directly to the state Court of Appeals.
SPORTS TV: Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN unit has reached a $5.6 billion deal with Major League Baseball giving it television, radio and digital programming rights for an additional eight years. The contract, which reportedly nearly doubles what ESPN is now paying, starts in 2014 and extends ESPN’s rights through 2021. It includes one annual wild-card game plus additional regular season and special games. There also will be rights to produce a new, daily baseball studio show, additional hours for the “Baseball Tonight” show and other new programming. Rights for coverage on ESPN Radio, ESPN International and ESPN Deportes also will expand. ESPN has been broadcasting MLB games since 1990.
WASTE HAULING: Two Los Angeles City Council committees are recommending that the city’s waste hauling services move toward an exclusive franchise system. The Energy and Environment Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Waste Reduction and Recycling are in favor of a Bureau of Sanitation proposal that would divide the city into 11 collection areas in which franchise agreements would be given to a limited number of haulers. The recommendation went against a proposal by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who wants a non-exclusive franchise system enabling more haulers to operate and be able to negotiate directly with business customers.
POT SHOP BAN: Local medical marijuana proponents have filed signatures to force a referendum they hope will overturn the L.A. City Council’s July ban on medical marijuana stores. A coalition of medical marijuana patients, dispensary owners and workers say they have filed 50,000 signatures from Los Angeles voters with the City Clerk’s Office, nearly twice the number required to qualify a referendum. If the city clerk validates enough signatures, the referendum should appear on the March 2013 city primary election ballot. It’s estimated that Los Angeles is home to about 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries.
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