By ALAN SNEL
A feisty crowd came to the Raiders stadium authority board meeting Thursday afternoon to hear the latest on the community benefits plan, which would outline how the Raiders will engage the Las Vegas community to build their 65,000-seat, domed stadium.
A team of Raiders representatives appeared from behind a wall behind the stadium board (they did not sit in the audience with the public — apparently there were not enough seats for them) and a general community benefits plan was discussed for the construction of the $1.9 billion Raiders stadium that is slated to be open in mid-2020 on the west side of I-15 at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue.
“We’re very committed” to workforce diversity, said Lynn Littlejohn, stadium project community benefits director.
There was a slide show outlining the topics for the community benefits plan. The team submitted the slide show to the stadium authority today, said Jeremy Aguero, the Las Vegas consultant advising the stadium board.
Stadium board member Ken Evans, president of the Urban Chamber of Commerce, asked if the stadium will be a design-build project. A representative from the Raiders construction team from Raiders consultant ICON said Mortenson and McCarthy construction companies will be working with the architect of record.
Evans asked how can the public keep track of job and procurement possibilities.
Not many details were actually revealed. Topics such as “community engagement,” “workforce diversity” and “technical assistance” were mentioned. But there was no plan with details on how the topics will be realized or implemented.
Even though there was talk of workforce diversity, there is no minority hiring goals in the state law that committed the public to giving $750 million to the Raiders for the stadium project. (The public will actually raise $1.2 billion over 30 years to generate its $750 million for the Raiders).
The only hiring mandate mentioned in the stadium bill is that at least 15 percent of the stadium construction business must be doled out to small businesses in Nevada.
But “the 15 percent is a disgrace and disrespect to the community,” said Patricia Martinelli Price, a native Las Vegan and local lobbyist who works with local small businesses. “Fifteen percent is not enough.”
But stadium board Chairman Steve Hill, the governor’s economic development chief, said 15 percent is an “aggressive” number to shoot for when it comes to small businesses in the state.
Littlejohn told the stadium board that stadium construction representatives met interested job-seeking locals in Henderson, but Martinelli Price said there was not much of a chance for questions and answers at that session.
Before the meeting started, hundreds of people came thinking there would be available stadium-related jobs because of a misleading flier that targeted the city’s most downtrodden neighborhoods. But nobody was hiring at the meeting.
Instead, local union 872 hardhats had packed the Raiders stadium board meeting, as the laborers wanted to find out information about the community benefits plan.
It was a half-hour before the meeting, and most of the county commission chambers meeting room was nearly filled with union members.
Stadium board member Tommy White, Local 872 business manager and secretary-treasurer, told LVSportsBiz.com before the stadium board meeting that stadium construction companies have already begun holding meetings about hiring iron and steel workers.
In fact, the two construction companies, McCarthy Building Companies, of Henderson, and Mortenson, of Minneapolis, had a meeting at the Orleans hotel-casino this week, White said.
A few minutes before the meeting, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak threw foam footballs into the crowd to the joy of the Local 872 hardhats.
“How about a round of applause for our opening act,” Stadium Board Chairman Steve Hill told the packed crowd after Sisolak threw the plastic footballs into the audience.
Sisolak had also apologized to the crowd for the misleading jobs flier that said there was a job fair at the county center. There is no job fair, he said.
Speakers at the stadium board meeting implored the panel to make sure local businesses and workers are involved in construction.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com