By ALAN SNEL
It’s full steam ahead for the Raiders $1.9 billion stadium project in Las Vegas. The Raiders plan to move in to the 65,000-seat domed stadium at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue in 2020.
But one stadium issue has risen above all others — something in the state stadium law that calls for a “community benefits plan.” It’s not an agreement. It’s a plan to be implemented by the Raiders.
Everyone has a different take on what the community benefits plan means to them — which is why there is tension and controversy around this plan. People want something in return for the public raising $1.2 billion during the next 30 years so that southern Nevada can give a $750 million subsidy to the Raiders so that they can build their stadium.
Las Vegas Councilman Steve Seroka, a veterans advocate, wants the plan to help veterans be part of the stadium project. (Watch a video on Seroka below.)
State Senator Aaron Ford, running for attorney general, has worked behind the scenes in hopes of having racial diversity in the businesses hired for the stadium project.
Stadium board member Tommy White, leader of Laborers Local 872, is adamant about the Raiders not paying a dime toward a community benefits plan.
But what exactly is in the conceptual proposal for the “community benefits plan?” LVSportsBiz.com took a close look at the details and listed 10 things you need to know about this volatile stadium topic.
What is the purpose in the first place?
The goal is to “ensure the greatest possible participation by all segments of the local community in the economic opportunities available in connection with the design, construction and operation” of the stadium project as developed by the Raiders and its construction and stadium operation companies.
Is there an oversight panel to make sure this happens?
Yes. A “stadium community oversight committee must be created to carry out the community benefits plan.” The committee will be authorized to enforce the plan. There will be seven members — two appointed by the stadium authority, two members appointed by the governor (in consultation with legislative leaders); and three members appointed by the Raiders.
What specific stadium phases will be covered by the plan?
The design, construction and operation.
Who are the hiring targets?
This is where things get controversial. There is only one numerical hiring goal that is mandated. The prime contractors must subcontract at least 15 percent of the aggregate value of the work subcontracted to third third parties to local small businesses in Nevada. LVSportsBiz.com did several stories on this topic in June and a construction company owner and leader in minority hiring weighed in. In June, Las Vegas businessman and THOR Construction company owner Richard Copeland, who noted he also worked on the T-Mobile Arena project, said he feared “money is being spent and deals are being cut” without the community benefits agreement in place. “When we see a stadium of this magnitude without any minority goals, it’s a national laughingstock,” said Copeland, western region vice president of the National Association of Minority Contractors and a member of the Urban Chamber. “We’re systemically excluded from the mainstream of these big contracts.”
Are the Raiders required to spend money to implement the community benefits plan?
The Raiders will agree that the plan “will require the commercially reasonable expenditure of funds, foregoing certain revenue streams, incurring higher operating expenses and distributing other meaningful resource allocations.” Another part of the answer is, “All parties acknowledge the resource allocations necessary to effectuate plan are significant and some may not be readily quantifiable.” It will be interesting to see what the Raiders will deem the “commercially reasonable expenditure of funds?”
How will the Raiders use community outreach and collaboration to realize this community benefits plan?
The Raiders will use local partners to communicate opportunities and develop strategies with the Latin Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Minority Contractors, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, the Nevada Contractors Association, the Western region Minority Supplier Development Council, the Urban Chamber, the Asian Chamber of Commerce and the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada. The Raiders and their contractors will maintain an Internet presence to encourage targeted businesses and workers to apply for work.
Will the Raiders be involved in workforce training and development?
The Raiders will provide services to for targeted applicants taking classes and consider training programs recommended by the oversight committee “from time to time” and will specifically consider career workshop programs, individual employment and service plan programs, vocational skills training, work support services and job placement services. The Raiders will develop a local business enterprise resource center to increase small, women and minority businesses. The Raiders will work with building trade unions to enable woman and minorities to enter apprenticeship programs and will implement a program that provides entry-level employment opportunities to low-income residents.
Will there be community benefits plan staff?
Yes. The Raiders will appoint a community benefits director during the construction phase to provide leadership on implementing and monitoring the plan.
Will the Raiders give ticket breaks to veteran, disadvantaged and at-risk youths?
The Raiders will encourage and support community programs for veterans and military families; the disadvantaged and at-risk youths; and low-income residents by discounting ticket opportunities for those groups, for example.
Will the NFL be involved?
The Raiders will work with the NFL to obtain grants to pay for facility improvements for local community athletic and educational organizations.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com