Maybe they’ll call it the Tammy Kim Amphitheater.
After the second marathon session in a week on the topic, a divided and bleary-eyed City Council voted 3-2 at midnight on February 21st to endorse a 14,000-seat amphitheater for the Great Park and continue negotiations with Live Nation Entertainment to operate the venue.
Councilmembers Larry Agran and Kathleen Treseder voted NO.
Councilmember Tammy Kim joined Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Mike Carroll in supporting the 14,000-seat plan. (Khan accepted the maximum allowable donation from Live Nation to her recent re-election campaign but swatted down calls for her to abstain from the discussion and vote, which would have been required if the donation had come after January 1st of this year, when a new law took effect.)
Kim began the meeting by making a motion for a smaller 8,000-seat venue, saying that she had decided that her job is “protecting citizens” from undue noise and traffic and that the residents of Irvine clearly want a smaller amphitheater. “It’s what I believe is right for the residents,” she said. Just one hour later, Kim reversed course and voted for the 14,000-seat plan.
Treseder refused to support Kim’s motion because it invited Live Nation to be part of the 8,000-seat project. Treseder said she would not vote for a plan that included Live Nation, which is under federal investigation for price gouging and anti-trust violations. Meanwhile, Councilmember Kim repeatedly referred to Live Nation as “the gold standard.”
Treseder also echoed Councilmember Agran’s blistering criticism of Live Nation’s latest contract proposal, listing provisions that move almost all of the $150 million in building costs to the City and Irvine taxpayers. One of the items in Live Nation’s proposed contract with the City would give the company the ability to sell naming rights to the new venue and keep all of the proceeds.
After her motion failed, Kim voted without explanation against Councilmember Agran’s alternative motion for the smaller amphitheater, without Live Nation. (Treseder was the only Councilmember to support Agran’s motion.)
Then, Kim — completely ignoring her original statement about wanting to support Irvine residents’ calls for a smaller venue — inexplicably provided the swing vote to move forward with the 14,000-seat plan with Live Nation.
Also at the late-night meeting, the Council voted 3-2 against a motion by Kim to establish a convoluted 13-member citizen commission to draw a proposed Council districting map as part of a ballot measure to transition the City to district elections.
Agran, Khan and Carroll voted against the move, expressing concern that the commission established by the City Council would needlessly complicate and politicize the process. They voted instead to hire an experienced and independent company — National Demographics Corporation — to draw proposed districts based on demographic data and public input through a series of outreach hearings and community meetings.
The marathon Council meeting finally ended at 1:30am.
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