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Location Is Everything, Especially for Leiweke

I go away on vacation for a week and come back to find Tim Leiweke playing a shell game with the media about where the Anschutz Empire is going to build a new football stadium.

It seems pretty obvious to me. I’d put it in the parking lot that has already been set aside for the USC sports arena--that’s never going to be built.

Leiweke wants secrecy, and you can imagine how far reporters would get trying to call USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett or President Steven Sample for comment.

No one seems to be getting much use out of the Belmont Learning Complex, and it makes a lot more sense to have football fans exposed to the methane gas and hydrogen sulfide for three hours once a week, than students six hours every day.

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In fact I’m sure there are studies that will show this might improve the quality of life for some football fans.

Personally, I would be pushing for Catalina and the wonderful fact that there would be 26 miles of water separating the site of a football stadium from Raider fans.

Just consider the tailgating tradition that could be unique to L.A., riding in a boat to the game alongside swimming Raider fans, maybe stocking the local waters with a couple of great white sharks to make it more interesting, or breeding Raider fan-loving piranha.

The obvious place for a new stadium is Malibu, because those people will be the only ones who can afford the tickets to the Taj Mahal stadium that the architectural firm NBBJ is presently dreaming up for Leiweke.

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Someone mentioned that the San Fernando Valley has lots of space for a new football stadium and since NFL owners want to get as far away from the Coliseum as possible, that might be a good idea. But with secession looming we’d just lose another football team.

A friend suggested The Playboy Mansion, figuring that would guarantee sellouts. As a reporter, I figured I better go there and study the layout. In fact I spent a lot of time there to make sure I had the measurements correct.

“We’ve also had the experience of hosting a number of sporting events here like the Playmate Playoffs,” said a spokesman, who wanted to know if I was going to be there on behalf of the Anschutz Empire to interview potential cheerleaders.

Well, if Leiweke doesn’t have to tell the truth all the time, why should I?

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I KNOW it is supposed to be some kind of big mystery what team we will be getting (San Diego Chargers) and where this downtown stadium will be located (I would think South Park, in the area of the TransAmerica Center).

And I guess I can understand why Staples Center-price gouger Philip Anschutz would want to keep the location of his new stadium secret until he ties up all the land at a cheap price because he’s a billionaire and he doesn’t want to become just a millionaire.

In fact I gave this some thought before guessing the stadium will be built in South Park because I’m not sure I could sleep knowing I might have contributed somehow to making Anschutz just a millionaire.

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But then I remembered what I paid for that last Diet Pepsi at Staples Center, and I’d like to see this guy take care of his monthly bills after a night out in his arena.

And frankly I’m not sure it’s really that big of a deal who knows where the stadium is going to be built, because it was no secret when we were going to get a new Coliseum, or a new stadium at Hollywood Park, or a new stadium in Carson, and I don’t recall any rush to buy the surrounding land and get rich off a sports bar or restaurant.

However, it has become some sort of game among local media, politicians and businessmen--everyone trying to nail down what site Leiweke has in mind.

One reporter even took the novel approach of asking Leiweke directly, and when Leiweke was asked what site he had in mind, he mentioned two: “An area surrounding Dodger Stadium and an area around the rail yards near Union Station in downtown.”

This is what I came back to Monday morning, Leiweke talking as if no one was going to take notice that he was going out of his way to provide misleading information. He mentions two sites, and yet he has eight teams of experts analyzing and studying just one site, and I know for a fact that site is not “an area surrounding Dodger Stadium,” and “an area around the rail yards near Union Station in downtown.”

If Leiweke is going to try to steer people away from South Park, I suggest he start spelling his name LIE-weke, and tell the truth.

No one will believe it.

A JUDGE last week ordered former baseball player Ken Caminiti to speak to students about drugs as part of his sentence for cocaine possession. Wouldn’t it have made more sense if the judge had ordered the guy with the drug problem to stay away from kids?

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PHIL MICKELSON five-putted in the Players Championship. I can only remember taking four putts on any one green before picking up the ball.

TODAY’S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Jbeaubrummell:

“I notice every time there is some big sporting event (i.e. NCAA tournament) they send you on vacation. I guess it’s sort of like hiding the family embarrassment in the closet until the guests have gone home.”

How do you explain them letting me out to cover the figure skating championships?

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com.


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