Friday, July 29, 2005

Lingle says stadium should
consider reducing fees
charged UH football team

Gov. Linda Lingle is asking the Stadium Authority to consider reducing rental fees for the University of Hawaii football team.

Speaking before the panel yesterday, Lingle said "community benefit" should be considered rather than just getting the most money for the state.

"By treating them as you treat any other commercial entity, you are projecting this idea that it is all about money," Lingle told the authority.

For the first time since becoming governor, Lingle has a majority of her own appointees on the nine-member board, including Marcia Klompus, Lingle's appointments scheduler, and the new Stadium Authority chairman, Kevin Chong Kee, a strong financial supporter of Lingle.

She urged the board to come up with standard rates to prevent the stadium manager from negotiating different rates for different groups. Lingle also told the board it should consider asking the Legislature for more money to operate the stadium, instead of making UH pay more.

"It may be time to talk to the Legislature about a new way of looking at this so all the burden is not shifted to the university when, in fact, all of us are enjoying the right to watch a game," Lingle said.

Herman Frazier, UH athletic director, attended the meeting and welcomed Lingle's remarks, saying the university already has started negotiations for this fall's football rental fees.

Last year, UH paid $800,000 to use the state-owned stadium, or 7.5 percent of gross receipts.

"We are trying to obtain the best deal we can for ourselves," Frazier said.

Lingle also said the state is exploring the viability of keeping the 30-year-old Aloha Stadium. "It may make sense for the state to look at a new stadium," she said.

Two years ago the Legislature appropriated funds to explore the issue, and a $300,000 study is expected to be completed next month. The study includes a survey of the stadium's structural integrity and how much more money is needed for repairs.

In the meantime, Lingle told the panel she was releasing $1.18 million to replace 2,800 chairs at the stadium.

"We are awaiting a report on the condition of the stadium, so it is premature to give an opinion of what to do now," Lingle said.

She did, however, have some advice for the Stadium Authority and stadium employees for the upcoming football game between the University of Hawaii and national champion University of Southern California.

"It will be a nationally televised game, and we should note how we present ourselves on national television, how the facility is operated, how the teams feel they are treated when they are here," Lingle said.

Office of the Governor
Aloha Stadium

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