Thursday, August 19, 2010

Around Town: How LCF can save Bell and the Dodgers

Ever since the July public health report revealed that La Cañada Flintridge has the longest life expectancy in the region, I’ve been worried.

I worry because a long life means more taxes.
I worry because more taxes will raise the price of Dodger tickets.
I worry because the Dodgers will always break your heart.

My longevity-enhanced mind races through the possible scenarios to rescue the city of Bell and the Dodgers. Perhaps a complaint-in-intervention in the McCourt divorce, by season ticket holders, to urge a quick sale to Mark Cuban or Eli Broad? Not likely. Complaints-in-intervention are disfavored in family law cases. It has something to do with standing.

Perhaps a class-action lawsuit against the city of Bell and the Dodgers for not playing ball? There would be challenges to the definition of the class of plaintiffs. Ticket holders? Seniors?

Living in La Cañada may be a class act, but it’s not a class action. No, this is a job for City Hall.

Perhaps an eminent domain action by the city of La Cañada Flintridge to seize both Dodger Stadium and the entire 2.5-square-mile city of Bell? Too risky. Even if we got past the judges, what would the jury do?

Suddenly, the solution appears! As Gene Maddeus recently noted in the L.A. Weekly (Dodger Dog, 8-5-10), “the McCourts paid no income taxes, thanks to a quirk in the tax code affecting owners of sports franchises…” What does the Bell City Council have in common with the McCourts? They never spend their own money.

No taxes? No down payment? That’s why our LCF City Hall should seriously consider the following three-step plan to save the Dodgers and the city of Bell:

Step one: LCF should annex the city of Bell. Not contiguous? Not a problem. Just look at some of our congressional districts. There must be a national park between us somewhere, or a Caltrans-owned highway. LCF could provide all of Bell’s necessary services (police, fire, city manager) and still make a profit. Empty slots in the local elementary schools? We’ll fill them with kids from Bell. Not enough traffic tickets? Bring back Deputy Smith. Send him to Bell.

Step two: LCF will use the profits from managing the city of Bell as collateral on metered parking lots in both cities. No free parking.

What? Parking is free in LCF? As Maddeus notes, “Under the McCourts, the price of the average Dodger ticket has gone from $18 to $30. The parking fee has gone from $8 to $15, high enough that neighbors have complained about fans parking on local streets and walking into the stadium.”

If it’s good enough for Frank McCourt, it’s good enough for La Cañada Flintridge. No more free parking.

Step three: Leverage the parking lots. Get a loan. The city of LCF will buy the Dodgers with the loan. We won’t spend any of our money and we’ll get a tax break. Imagine all those sales property taxes flowing directly back into our coffers under “the tax code affecting owners of sports franchises…”

I know what you are thinking. LCF can save the city of Bell, but can it save the Dodgers? The Dodgers may be doomed. There’s talk of trading Matt Kemp, no one has seen Manny for weeks, and Russell Martin is on the disabled list.

Here's how LCF can save the Dodgers:1. Fire Ned Colletti because of the mean things he said to Matt Kemp.

2. Rehire Orlando Hudson and Juan Pierre and put them on the cover of the free magazine they give you when you pay the exorbitant parking fee.

3. Retain Jeff’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage to open one tiny stall on the Loge level to sell kosher Dodger Dogs. World peace may be an unintended consequence.

4. Make shirts that say “Los Doyers” instead of “Los Dodgers.” (“Los Dodgers” is really lame.)

5. Keep Joe Torre, but change his name to Torres on the shirt.

Oh, yeah. Pitchers. We need more pitchers.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. She points out that this column is parody and does not constitute legal advice. E-mail her at

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