By ALAN SNEL
There were 10,000 Vegas Golden Knights fans at a downtown FanFest at Fremont Street Experience Sunday and the feisty upbeat crowd included Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in his Golden Knights jersey posing for photos with fans. Sisolak told LVSportsBiz.com at FanFest he was attending strictly as a fan.
At monthly Raiders stadium board meetings, the audience includes labor, community and business leaders, including Sisolak who typically sits in the back left of the county government chambers.
Last summer at a Local Laborers 872 union picnic supporting the Raiders stadium in North Las Vegas, Sisolak was wearing a Raiders jersey and spoke at the rally. That was after Sisolak announced a Raiders draft pick several months earlier.
And Sisolak’s Twitter feed is filled with Raiders and Golden Knights photos that could easily double as team public relations posts.
There’s not an elected official in southern Nevada who wears team jerseys and so publicly supports the home team as much as Sisolak, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate faced with the challenge of balancing his county commissioner job of representing the best interests of Clark County with his personal fanship of the Raiders and the Golden Knights.
The Raiders stadium situation is a delicate situation for Sisolak, who has been vocal and public for his support of the team but must make sure the NFL franchise also complies with meeting county development rules such as finding another 13,000 parking spaces to serve the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium that is scheduled to open in 2020.
Sisolak doesn’t shy away from getting involved with Raiders stadium issues even though he’s not an official member of the stadium authority board.
For example, Raiders President Marc Badain at a stadium board meeting more than a month ago credited Sisolak for giving a “kick in the ass” to the Raiders’ negotiations with UNLV over the joint-use agreement that will spell out the conditions under which the Rebels football team can use the Raiders stadium. The Raiders are receiving $750 million in public dollars and the enabling state legislation spelled out that UNLV’s football team would use the venue being built on 62 acres on the west side of I-15 bounded by Polaris Avenue and Russell Road.
LVSportsBiz.com has touched on the dual Sisolak commissioner-sports fan issue, publishing this story more than seven months ago when LVSportsBiz.com was launched.
Sisolak, at the time, acknowledged that both roles of commissioner and fan overlap but that the Raiders do not get preferential treatment.
At the time in June, fellow County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani — now a Democratic gubernatorial opponent of Sisolak — raised the issue of whether Sisolak was soaking up too much of the Raiders publicity.
“There is an issue for being a champion for something and then crossing the line to being an advocate,” Giunchigliani told LVSportsBiz.com last year. “He might want to take a step back and make sure we’re doing our due diligence . . . He put himself out there as the face of the sports person and he has to figure out how he tempers that to do his due diligence. We have an obligation to hold their feet to the fire.”
On Friday, the Nevada Board of Regents is expected to approve the Raiders-UNLV joint-use stadium agreement. And LVSportsBiz.com to also see Sisolak in the audience witness the Regents approval. He was there two weeks ago when UNLV officials addressed the Regents board when LVSportsBiz.com published this story.
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