LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The City Council today threw its support behind an effort to give Los Angeles Dodgers fans a chance to own the ball club.
The council approved a resolution calling on Congress to make such an ownership change possible. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who is running for Congress and introduced the motion, said she is not proposing the city of Los Angeles take ownership of the team, but rather to let fans invest during a public offering.
Hahn first proposed the idea during the divorce proceedings between team owner Frank and Jamie McCourt last October.
“Never, I think, before in history has it been such a possibility that the Dodgers actually would be put up for sale,” Hahn said. “The time is right. Let’s allow the fans to reconnect with their Dodgers and be one of their owners.”
Major League Baseball rules forbid new public offerings of teams, so federal legislation would be required, and a public offering would require approval by Congress.
Legislation titled the “Give Fans a Chance Act” was introduced in 1999 and 2001, but never approved.
Hahn said there are other good examples of fan or public ownership, including the NBA’s Boston Celtics and NFL’s Green Bay Packers, which she said have had sellout crowds for 20-plus years and won several championships.
If an initial public offering was successful, MLB would still have to approve the sale to a board of directors.
Hahn said she anticipates resistance from MLB to Congress approving a public offering.
Hahn has close ties to the Dodgers. Her father, Kenneth Hahn, helped broker the team’s move from Brooklyn as a Los Angeles County Supervisor in 1958. Her brother and former mayor James Hahn was the team’s first honorary bat boy.
“I’ve been a little disappointed in the McCourts and how they’ve run the Dodgers. It’s broken my heart,” Hahn said.
Councilman Ed Reyes asked the council to delay the vote, saying he wanted more time to give the McCourts the space to handle the team’s financial troubles.
Hahn reiterated that a public offering would be years in the making, and Reyes’ motion to postpone the vote was defeated.
“We’re not demanding that it be sold to us. We’re not pounding our fists on the table. It’s not our style,” president of the OwntheDodgers.com Stanley Stalford said. “What we’re saying is, just please allow us the right to sit there with the billionaires and bid on our team.”
By Richie Duchon | City News Service