It’s official: Los Angeles taxpayers will not be footing the bill for security around the Coliseum while the Rams use the venue as their home arena for the next three years.
In all the excitement over the team returning to Los Angeles after an awkward, 20 year trial separation, it seems the small matter of who would pick up the check for police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers staffing the games was largely forgotten.
That changed in August, when a lawsuit filed by former city councilmember Dennis Zine alleged that the city had improperly provided security at two preseason games, constituting an unauthorized "gift of public funds."
Earlier that same month, however, four current councilmembers including Mitch O’Farrell, Herb Wesson, Nury Martinez, and Curren Price, sent a letter to Rams owner Stan Kroenke asking him in the most polite way possible to pony up the cash to keep the area in and around the stadium secure. "It is imperative that the costs be fully covered and that only off-duty officers be employed," the letter states.
Well, less than 24-hours after a truly humiliating opening game against the 49ers, Kroenke has evidently accepted those terms, agreeing to pay for security at future home games and to reimburse the city for the costs accrued during the team’s two preseason games.
A statement from Mayor Eric Garcetti noted the importance of limiting security responsibilities to off-duty officers, "keeping patrol officers on the streets where they belong."
"Stan Kroenke and the Rams organization made it clear to me from the start that they intended to be partners with the City and good neighbors to the people of Los Angeles and the region," Garcetti said. "The commitment they made today, to cover the cost of game-day impacts to the City — including police, fire, and sanitation support at and around the Coliseum — is a win for all Angelenos."
The Rams will continue to play at the Coliseum for the next three seasons, while work continues on the team’s massive new stadium in Inglewood.