The interests of scandal-plagued Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and the park full of museums it shares real estate with are colliding at local and state political levels over control of their mutual lifeline to attendees: parking.
The cash-strapped commission agreed in May 2012 to lease day-to-day control of the Coliseum to the University of Southern California (USC), whose football team plays there, but control of the parking is still being fought over with other Exposition Park tenants and their supporters.
Robert Stein, a member of the board that runs the park, told the Los Angeles Times what is at stake: “If they (USC) take over the parking structure, they're virtually closing down the museums, because there's no place to park.”
The California Science Center operates the 160-acre Exposition Park, state land south of downtown Los Angeles at the gates of USC. The park is home to the Science Center, where the shuttle Endeavor is a permanent exhibit, the Natural History Museum, the African-American Museum, EXPO Center, IMAX and the Rose Garden.
It leases a chunk of real estate to the Coliseum commission, which includes representatives of city, county and state government. The commission manages the Coliseum, a historic former Olympic venue where the USC Trojan football team now plays.
Originally, USC wanted control of the parking lots it shares with park museums as part of a deal with the commission. That generated a lot of political heat and was rebuffed, but as part of the deal tentatively struck, the school wants the state to give it control of 70% of the parking spaces on 25 days, mostly prime weekend dates. The museums would lose 1,400 spaces on each of those days. USC also wants a big discount on parking fees when the Coliseum hosts special events, which would further erode museum revenues.
Current law directs the Science Center to “manage or operate its parking facilities in a manner that preserves and protects the interests of itself and the California African American Museum, and recognizes the cultural and educational character of Exposition Park.”