Gov. Brown fast-tracking new L.A. stadium

September 28, 2011, 8:03 pm
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I dont think Jerry Brown is going to go see Moneyball, and I have no knowledge that he has an opinion either way on Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill or Philip Seymour Hoffman.Unless perhaps as potential political donors.But I can infer with some safety that if he did go, it wouldnt be for the baseball back story. He made it pretty evident when he was the mayor of Oakland that the Athletics didnt move his needle much.Okay, thats not fair. They didnt move his needle at all.He saw no value in considering creative alternatives for the As ballpark issue while the mayor of Oakland. The town was destitute, as it is now, with school closures as the latest body blow to a city that has taken about all it can. And as mayor he didnt commit much effort to figuring out how to make such a plan work.And now, as governor of California, he has signed two bills that will help hasten the reality of an NFL stadium in L.A. Whod have guessed?His logic in Oakland? Boiled to its truthful essence, he saw no political will or benefit for it, and he is far less careful at selecting the windmills at which he will tilt than he was 30 years ago.But now that he has regained the governors chair after routing the free-range boss Meg Whitman, he has found the wisdom in stadium construction for a football team in Los Angeles.Somewhere, Billy Beane is aiming both middle fingers at him with considerable malice.Or maybe not. Maybe the As were so hell-bent on the myth of San Jose that a working plan for Oakland spearheaded by Brown would have offended Johnny (The Spectre) Fisher and his real estate agent, Lew Wolff.But when you hear helpful phrases from the governor like Its time for big thinking and big projects that put Californians back to work, and it is imperative for the state to cut the red tape that could delay projects like this for years, you cant help wonder why that logic didnt work in Oakland.The difference is, it doesnt have to. For Jerry Brown, at an age where legacy shopping is important, its about timing and location. The timing is he isnt going to be a player in politics much longer, and the location is Los Angeles instead of Oakland. There are benefits to him in helping a stadium grow in Los Angeles that there clearly were not in Oakland.This does not make Brown unique. Any politician in his place would probably arrive at the same conclusion for the same reason even the really loony ones.Still, The Billy Beane Story would be much different if he couldnt use the Coliseum as an excuse for not pursuing free agents and resigning free agents-to-be. Hes already dropped that one on Josh Willinghams agent, and frankly, if thats the new battle plan, then he may as well just head for the hammock.Should Brown have been more aggressive about an Oakland stadium? An open question. The A s seemed reluctant, the city seemed broke. But creative men like Jerry Brown are required for tasks like that, and Brown didnt expend any energy, charm or brain cells in seeking that solution. He simply didnt regard it as important.But now, despite showing no particular interest in football, he has hastened the process by which Los Angeles gets its football stadium thereby offering the deliciously perverse scenario in which the Raiders decide to move to L.A. and become a tenant in a Jerry Brown-endorsed stadium.So no, we dont expect the governor to race right out and see Brad Pitt play a fictionalized version of Billy Beane in a fictionalized movie of a kind of fictionalized season. Hes not a baseball guy.And as he must surely be aware, Billy Beane isnt a Jerry Brown guy, either.