The California Science Center board of directors put off a vote Wednesday that could have surrendered museum parking to USC in a deal to give the keys of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum to the private university.
Board members conceded they have heard the outcry from museum supporters who were angry the deal could take away parking, as well as its revenues, from the California Science Center and California African-American Museum.
“We’re going to go back to the drawing board,” said the board’s chairwoman, Fabian Wesson. “There will be no action today.” A revised summary of the agreement would be posted later, and a new meeting is scheduled for June 25 at 9 a.m.
Board member Anthony Williams said the panel has heard the comments from dozens of members of the community over the last week, excoriating the panel’s negotiators for the concession they made to USC in a proposal.
“We want to make sure you understand that we are listening to you," he said. "As a result of listening to you, we have a lot of work to do.”
Marvin Holen, a trustee of the California Science Center fundraising foundation, which had criticized negotiators for threatening to take away most of the museum’s parking during large Coliseum events, welcomed the postponed action.
“This whole process has been in the closet.... And finally we’ve pried open the door of the closet. So now the public ought to have a chance to hear and see and feel what’s going on,” Holen said. “Our issue, the foundation’s issue, is accessibility of parking, so all the children you see around you, mobbing this great institution, have this great opportunity to come and be here. Without parking, they can’t be. Not in Los Angeles.”
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Holen said he is pleased Gov. Jerry Brown has begun to take direct interest in the issue. Holen said the governor dispatched representatives to sit in on the discussions.