In an effort to make the Rose Bowl more profitable, the Pasadena City Council voted unanimously this week to hand management of the stadium to an appointed board of community leaders and officials.
The council is expected to give final approval to the change at next Monday's council meeting. The vote this week was 5 to 0, with Councilmen Bill Crowfoot and William M. Paparian absent.
The Rose Bowl's neighbors said they will work with the board despite their fears that the quest to generate more money will bring more raucous concerts and other events that will disrupt the calm of the area.
Under the new arrangement, the nonprofit Rose Bowl Operating Co. will have the power to approve all Rose Bowl events as long as they do not require waivers of city ordinances. Currently, the City Council approves all Rose Bowl events.
The company will also have the authority to approve contracts of less than $75,000.
The City Council will still have to approve any events that require waivers of ordinances, as well as contracts of more than $75,000.
Under current regulations, there can only be 12 events per year that draw more than 20,000 people. Ordinances also regulate noise levels and establish curfews for stadium events.
The Rose Bowl has earned more than $1 million in profit in the last two years on standard events, said Assistant City Manager Edmund F. Sotelo. Last year, when the Rose Bowl was the site of eight World Cup games, the stadium earned an additional $2 million.
But City Manager Philip A. Hawkey and other city officials say the Rose Bowl, if aggressively managed, should be able to make more money for Pasadena.
Rose Bowl Operating Co. Chairman Alfred F. Moses said this week that the board will look at an aggressive outreach program, as well as the possibility of contracting with a private company to operate the stadium.
The idea behind the company is to have a body that will be able to devote more time than the City Council to managing the Rose Bowl.
"The council could only pay attention to it episodically," Councilman Rick Cole said. "It doesn't get the sustained business-like attention."
The operating company is also supposed to be better insulated from the political pressures that have limited use of the Rose Bowl.
But that insulation is pretty thin, considering that the City Council appoints and can remove members of the operating company's nine-member board. (Two seats are vacant.) The council also approves the board's budget.
"It'll be interesting to watch it," Mayor Kathryn Nack said. "I hope they will have the autonomy to move without having to go back and forth to the council."
The seven council members appoint one member each to the operating company's board. UCLA, which plays its home football games at the Rose Bowl, and the Tournament of Roses Assn. have representatives as well. Currently, three of the board members live near the Rose Bowl.
Even if the council gives final approval to the transfer of management power as expected next week, a key issue remains to be worked out--what will be done with profits generated by the stadium.
One line of thinking is that the profits should be plunged back into the stadium area, including the lush parkland used by neighbors.
Others say the money should be used to fund services citywide. That was done for the first time last year, when the City Council voted to spend $1 million of the city's World Cup profits on anti-gang and other city programs.
Earlier this week, the parties involved in the debate pledged to work toward a compromise.
"It's time for all of us to join together in a shared vision for the Rose Bowl," said Steve Bridges, president of the Linda Vista/Annandale Assn.