Measure M Backers Tout High Ridership Among Rams Fans

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Backers of the proposed extension and increase in a countywide sales tax to fund transit projects pointed Tuesday to the success of the Metro Expo Line, and its heavy use by fans attending Los Angeles Rams games, as an example of transportation improvements the levy would fund.

Standing in the shadow of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, supporters of Measure M said about 25 percent of people attending Rams games get to the stadium by Metro transit, most notably the Expo Line light rail.

“Twenty-five percent of Rams fans taking Metro to the games means 20,000 fewer people clogging freeways and parking lots, and that means less traffic for us all,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It shows that the success we’ve already seen by extending the Expo Line to Santa Monica is only increasing, and it shows what we can achieve by voting yes on Measure M.”

Measure M would add another half-cent transportation sales tax in Los Angeles County, on top of the existing half-cent Measure R sales tax already in place. When the Measure R tax expires on July 1, 2039, the Measure M tax would increase to one cent, and remain in place permanently.

The measure, if passed by two-thirds of voters, is expected to generate $120 billion over the first 40 years.

Some of the dozens of upgrades proposed under Measure M, dubbed the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, include:

— the Airport Metro Connector at Los Angeles International Airport;

— extending light rail lines throughout the county;

— adding rapid transit bus lines, including along the Vermont Corridor and Lincoln Boulevard;

— widening the Golden State (5), Santa Ana (5) and San Diego (405) freeways and widening or adding HOV lanes to many others;

— street repairs;

—    a downtown streetcar project; and

—    new bike paths and lanes.

Opponents of the measure — including the mayors of Norwalk, Beverly Hills and El Segundo, claim the tax would amount to a “blank check” for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority with no accountability.

“Measure M postpones transportation projects for the blue-collar neighborhoods, but projects for affluent communities move to the front of the line,” according to a ballot argument submitted by opponents of the proposal.

“MTA has a poor record of safety and a history of prioritizing wealthy communities, violating civil rights and disenfranchising the poor and the people of color who need effective transit the most.”

But the supporters who gathered today insisted the measure will result in improvements in communities throughout the county, reducing traffic delay by 15 percent a day while creating 465,000 jobs and funding street repaving and pothole repair throughout the region.

Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer and vice president of football operations for the Rams, said the popularity of Metro “has become a hallmark of our Rams community.”

“We’re tackling an age-old problem for sports teams: How do you get people to stay until the end of the game?” he said. “Take away the traffic.”



USC Urges Fans to Comply with New Tailgating Rules

September 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

With the first home game coming this week, USC officials are urging fans to comply with new security rules at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

All patrons will be subject to new metal detector screening, said USC sports information director Tim Tessalone.

Bags that are carried into the stadium must have clear plastic sides and be no larger than 6 inches wide, 6 inches deep and 12 inches long, USC officials said.

Or, fans can carry in whatever fits inside a 1-gallon resealable food bag. People may also carry a small clutch purse, about the size of a human hand, with or without a strap. Bags containing medical devices are exempt but are subject to search.

Blankets and seat cushions are still OK, the school said.

Some security fences and gates have been moved, and construction of the new soccer stadium southeast of the Coliseum means the loss of some tailgating space. Gates 4, 16 and 19 are in different places now, Tessalone said.

The school is asking fans to consolidate their parties to make room for everyone.

USC is coming off a 52-6 drubbing at the hands of No. 1 Alabama, and hosts Utah State at 11 a.m. Saturday.


Two Straight Wins for Rams at Home

August 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Jared Goff threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Malcom Brown with 10 minutes, 30 seconds to play to give the Los Angeles Rams a 21-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL preseason game Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Goff, the first player chosen in the NFL draft, completed all three of his passes on the drive for 34 yards, with Brown rushing twice for 25 yards.

The touchdown was the only score Goff produced in his eight possessions, which included kneeling to kill the clock to end both first half and game.

Goff completed eight of 12 passes for 82 yards.

The Chiefs (0-2) appeared to be driving for the winning score late in the fourth quarter, but third string quarterback Aaron Murray bobbled a snap in shotgun formation, with undrafted rookie safety Jabriel Washington recovering at the Rams’ 22-yard line with 1:49 left.

Kansas City regained possession with 1:22 remaining on its 31-yard line, but Murray threw four consecutive incomplete passes. Goff kneeled down twice to kill the final 1:01.

Running Back Malcolm Brown has gained 154 yards in the Ram’s first two preseason games, with 1 touchdown leading all Rams with production. (Photo by Fred Zermeno)

Running Back Malcolm Brown has gained 154 yards in the Ram’s first two preseason games, with 1 touchdown leading all Rams with production. (Photo by Fred Zermeno)

There were 80,782 tickets distributed, lower than the record breaking 89,140 tickets issued for the pre-season opening win last week over the Dallas Cowboys. Actual attendance figures are not announced for NFL games, but the crowd appeared smaller.

Bicycle patrols around the perimeter of the Coliseum were increased in an attempt to reduce the time for fans to enter the stadium. There was also a different setup at some concession stands in an effort to decrease waiting times, according to Joanna Hunter, who handles corporate communications for the Rams.

Only one arrest was made outside the Coliseum, police said. The arrest for suspicion of public intoxication was made in connection with a disturbance with alcohol involved, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief William Scott told City News Service, adding that the department works hard to “prevent things from happening.”
“ It was a good night,” he said.

Back inside the Coliseum, things didn’t go as smoothly on the field.

Goff’s first possession ended after two plays when he tripped and fumbled after taking a snap from behind center, with Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe recovering. Cairo Santos kicked a 32-yard field goal four plays later, giving Kansas City a 17-14 lead.

The Rams got two first downs on Goff’s second possession, but he fumbled the ball out of bounds on a third-and-four play with Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen credited with a sack for a seven-yard loss.

The third possession was just one play — Goff kneeling for a one-yard loss on the final play of the first half.

The Rams were forced to punt after three plays on Goff’s fourth possession. The Rams picked up a first down on the fourth possession on Goff’s 26-yard pass to rookie tight end Temarrick Hemingway, but punted four plays later.

The Rams had a total of one first down on Goff’s final three possessions.

The Rams (2-0) scored touchdowns on both possessions starter Case Keenum was quarterback.

Running back Todd Gurley ran three yards for a touchdown on the Rams first possession, a five-play, 81-yard drive that included a 41-yard pass interference penalty by Kansas City free safety Ron Parker on Rams receiver Kenny Britt.

The appearance was the first of the preseason for Gurley, the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year in 2015, who was given last Saturday’s preseason opener off.

Keenum threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Pharoh Cooper on the Rams’ second series, giving them a 14-7 lead.

Keenum completed four of five passes for 53 yards.

The Chiefs scored two touchdowns and got a 32-yard field goal from Santos in the four possessions starter Alex Smith was at quarterback.

Kansas City drove 75 yards on 13 plays on the game’s opening possession, with Smith completing six of seven passes for 65 yards to set up Spencer Ware’s two-yard touchdown run.

Smith threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin 10 minutes, eight seconds before halftime, three plays after completing a 37-yard pass to Chris Conley.

Nick Foles — released by the Rams July 27 after starting 11 games for the team last season when it was based in St. Louis — replaced Smith with 3:23 left in the first half.

Foles drove Kansas City to the Rams 1-yard with 10 seconds remaining in the half when his pass intended for Albert Wilson was incomplete in the end zone. With five seconds left, Chiefs coach Andy Reid opted for a field goal, with Santos’ 19-yarder increasing the lead to 20-14.

Foles completed 10 of 13 passes for 56 yards on his first series and 18 of 22 for 133 yards overall.

The Rams will be on the road for their next two games, first taking on the 2016 Super Bowl Champion Broncos Saturday in Denver, followed by the Vikings Sept. 1 in Minneapolis.

They return to the Coliseum Sept. 18 when they go up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Rams Win in First NFL Game in Coliseum Since 1994

August 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The long-awaited return of the NFL to Los Angeles finally came true Saturday night when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-24 in the first game in the LA Memorial Coliseum since 1994.

Long-starved for NFL play close to home, 89,140 tickets were distributed for Saturday’s game, the most for a preseason game in the United States, according to the NFL.

The league does not announce the actual attendance figure.

The preseason opener for both teams got off to an inauspicious start for the Rams as Dallas’ Lucky Whitehead returned Greg Zuerlein’s opening kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown.

The Cowboys offense scored touchdowns on both of their first two possessions as rookie quarterback Dak Prescott threw 10- and 32-yard touchdown passes to Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams.

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum during a preseason game Saturday. (Photo by Fred Zermeno)

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum during a preseason game Saturday. (Photo by Fred Zermeno)

However, the Rams defense kept Dallas out of the end zone for the rest of the game, with the Cowboys’ only other points coming on Dan Bailey’s 44-yard field goal 3:47 before halftime.

Rams starting quarterback Case Keenum played the first three series, guiding the team on a 75-yard, eight-play touchdown drive on their second possession, with Benny Cunningham running the final 14 yards for the score. Quarterback Jared Goff, the first player chosen in the NFL draft, entered the game 9:45 before halftime. His first pass was incomplete and second was intercepted.

In comes Sean Mannion, who played one game for the Rams last season when they were based in St. Louis after being selected in the third round of the 2015 draft. The third-string quarterback threw three touchdown passes in the second half, including two in the fourth quarter, helping the Los Angeles Rams overcome a 17-point deficit.

“It was a great evening,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “To come here and see the fans’ support, not only from our fans, but the Cowboys’ fans made it a great competition.”

Both coaches decided not to play their team’s biggest names — Rams running back Todd Gurley and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

“There’s always good things that happen in your first preseason game and there’s always so many things that you have to learn from,” Fisher said.

“We’ve got our work cut out. We’re not close to being regular-season ready. Our defense against the run, we’ve got to get that fixed.”

On Sunday, the Rams announced that rookie free agent safety Brian Randolph will be sidelined for the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL suffered on a kickoff during the team’s preseason opener Saturday.

Rookie free agent and Westlake High School alumnus, receiver Nelson Spruce has a knee sprain and will probably “miss a week or two,” Coach Fisher said.

“We’re still doing more tests,” Fisher told reporters at the team’s training camp at UC Irvine. “From what I understand, surgery is not going to be necessary.”

The last time NFL teams played at the Coliseum was on Dec. 24, 1994, when the Los Angeles Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 19-9, before a crowd announced at 67,642. The Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995 after playing in Los Angeles for 13 seasons.

Saturday’s game marked the first time the Rams were the home team at the Coliseum since Dec. 16, 1979, when they lost to the New Orleans Saints, 29-14, before a crowd announced at 53,879.

The Rams then defeated the Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in road playoff games to reach Super Bowl XIV, which they lost to Pittsburgh in their only Super Bowl appearance during their initial time in Southern California.

The Rams played their home games at what is now Angel Stadium from 1980-94 before moving to St. Louis.

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