By ALAN SNEL
From afar, the scene at Craig Ranch Regional Park off a six-lane suburban road appeared to be a Sunday religious revival with its tents, stage, charismatic leader and bus with slogans on its side.
But take a closer look and you will see it was a public celebration of an unofficial marriage between those two great American institutions — a union local and an NFL team.
Laborers Union Local 872 members wore “Just Build It Baby” shirts showing their love for the Oakland Raiders, which plan to move into a new Las Vegas-based football stadium that will be built thanks to the muscle and sweat of those Local 872 members in 2020. Construction of the 65,000-seat, domed stadium off Russell Road on the west side of I-15 at Polaris Avenue is expected to begin later this year. The public is contributing $750 million to the $1.9 billion stadium project.
Tommy White, who is that charismatic leader of this local of construction workers, said 872 dropped $22,000 on the Sunday rally for the tents, more than 1,000 T-shirts, the picnic-style food, stage, music and half-dozen sports-themed bouncey houses for the kids.
White, officially the business manager and secretary-treasurer of the 2,600-member Laborers local, said the Raiders did not help out with the costs for the rally and that the union is careful about not receiving any money from the NFL team.
“We don’t believe the Raiders should have to pay to come to Las Vegas,” White told a festive crowd of 872 members,their family members and park attendees around 2:15 p.m.
White told LVSportsBiz.com that he spoke with a Raiders executive shortly after Las Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson pulled his $650 million stadium contribution off the table earlier this year. White said the Raiders official told him that the team needed to re-group after Adelson — instrumental in passing the state law that is granting the Raiders the $750 million public subsidy — withdrew his stadium money. But White recalled telling the Raiders executive that his union local was committed to backing the Raiders and their stadium project.
“We told the Raiders we’re not going anywhere,” said White, who sits on the nine-member Las Vegas Stadium Authority.
It’s all about the construction jobs for the union local, which went through some tough times after the economy took a dive after 2008.
“We built Las Vegas,” said local 872 member Yvonne Fortune, a flagger and general laborer. “But then we had a lull. This stadium is a way of getting business going.”
White said the union and the Raiders are a good tandem because they both have a working man attitude to their cultures. He said the Raiders have a reputation for giving players second chances and, “We give all of our members a second chance.” White noted the union’s “Hope for Prisoners” and “Veterans Village” programs.
Sisolak, the county commission chairman and Democrat who is running for governor, told LVSportsBiz.com that this week’s county commission will vote on the Raiders stadium plan. The Raiders stadium proposal before Clark County woefully lack the required parking spaces for a stadium that size, with the team’s plan showing a collection of parking ideas ranging from shuttling in fans from hotels to building a pedestrian bridge over I-15 between Hacienda and Russell roads.
Sisolak compared the $750 million public subsidy for the Raiders and their stadium to state public subsidies given to Faraday Future and Tesla.
The stadium authority is also meeting later this week. A LVSportsBiz.com review of the stadium meeting agenda showed that Tony Marnell, chairman/CEO of Marnell Companies, submitted draft traffic studies that cited issues with the Raiders parking and traffic proposals.
Marnell wrote, in part, this to stadium board consultant Jeremy Aguero, “The Bill requires that ‘the Stadium Authority has taken into consideration the use of multimodal facilities that use alternative modes of transportation and do not have detrimental impacts on other permitted transportation projects.’ Therefore, please consider these Drafts as XpressWest’s first step in its compliance with Senate Bill 1, and we look to the Authority’s direction in coordinating its station and traffic
with respect to our project.”
Here is Marnell’s submission: http://www.lvstadiumauthority.com/docs/2017/08/17/Public%20Comment%20Submissions.pdf
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com