Looking for elbow room

first_imgINDUSTRY – A squabble between two competing roller derby promoters has spilled off the banked track and into City Hall.Promoter Bob Sedillo claims city officials are shutting his group, the Los Angeles T-Birds, out of the Industry Hills Expo Center.It’s an allegation that city officials brush off like a poorly tossed elbow jab.“Nobody is mad at anybody,” Mayor Dave Perez said.Earlier this week, Sedillo spoke at a City Council meeting to ask Industry officials to allow him to host roller derby events at the center.He is awaiting an answer.Sedillo believes city officials are angry at him for involving the city in a trademark dispute he had with fellow promoter Lou Sanchez earlier this year over the use of the T-Birds name and trademark.There’s recently been a roller derby resurgence, and both Sedillo’s and Sanchez’s teams happen to use the San Gabriel Valley as their home base.Sedillo owns the rights to the T-Birds name, having purchased it from longtime owner Bill Griffiths earlier this year. The T-Birds are associated with the popular weekly televised events on KTLA Channel 5 in the 1960s and 1970s, and thus instantly recognizable to the older generation of fans, Sedillo said.Sedillo claims Sanchez – a former skater – was using the T-Birds label to promote events at the Expo Center without his permission. A civil court judge eventually found in Sedillo’s favor.During the suit, Sedillo presented the Expo Center with paperwork informing the city and center management about the ongoing legal action.He thinks he made city officials mad.Now he wants to use the center, and he thinks the city is getting revenge by shutting him out.“We went in there and asked to use the center and we were shot down,” Sedillo said. “We just wanted to be treated like everybody else.“If we apply for a day the center is not being used, and we’re willing to pay, why shouldn’t we get a chance to have the venue?”The center is owned and controlled by the city, and Sanchez frequently uses it to host his own roller derby promotions.Perez said no one in city government is shutting out Sedillo.“The only thing is that we have two competing groups that both want the Expo Center,” Perez said. “We’ve got to respect Mr. Sanchez, who has been using it for a while now. We’re willing to talk with the T-Birds, no problem.”Despite the legal action. Sedillo and Sanchez both said they have no hard feelings and are willing to join forces.“We should just get together,” Sanchez said. “This is how all of us did it back in 1960s, together as friends.“But it got so big, we couldn’t handle it and we had to give it away to other people. Maybe this is our second chance.”Roller derby, also trade-marked as Roller Derby, and later known as Roller Games, started in Chicago in 1935 and remained popular nationwide – especially on television – until the 1970s. It has fallen on hard times in the past 30 years, according to Loretta “Little Iodine” Behrens, who helped pioneer the sport in the 1950s and publishes the Web site Derby Memoirs.Teams start and stop operations, and fighting between clubs and promoters has crippled recent efforts to build up the sport, she said.She thinks promoters should make new team names and forget about using the names of old teams.“Let the past lay in the coffin where it belongs,” she said. [email protected](626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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