Carson City Council unanimously approves NFL stadium project

THE Carson City Council on Tuesday, April 21, approved a proposed NFL stadium that would be shared by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

“There are two things we need in California: rain … and football,” said Carson Mayor Albert Robles following the 3-0 vote. “And football is coming to Carson!”

The unanimous approval comes about two months following the public announcement of the $1.7 billion stadium. Should the Chargers and Raiders be unable to build new facilities in their current hometowns, they will be able to move forward in building a shared stadium in Carson now that the city council has approved the project.

Tuesday’s council meeting resembled a pep rally with team officials, union leaders and football fans dressed in Chargers and Raiders jerseys.

“Bring them back! Bring them back!” the crowd chanted.

Supporters of the project collected more than 15,000 signatures from local registered voters backing the ballot initiative, nearly twice the required number.

Bringing football back to Los Angeles is estimated to generate more than $531 million annually and create 13,380 full- and part-time jobs.

“Having the stadium means more revenues for the city, hence, enabling Carson to sustain, as well as improve, City programs and services. Consistent with Carson’s brand, ‘future unlimited,’ the building of a stadium truly promises great opportunities for all Carson residents,” said Carson Mayor Pro Tem Elito Santarina in an email to the Asian Journal.

The 70,000-seat stadium would involve no public money, and no significant opposition arose during the packed council meeting on Tuesday evening.

“Anyone who knows anything about Carson politics knows that our residents are very vocal. When they don’t like something, they express their disapproval, and, you heard today, not one resident came forward to express their disapproval of the project,” Robles said.

After the meeting, however, some residents raised concerns.

“We have busted roads. We’re [going to] have more traffic. They didn’t do anything for Carson,” said Carson resident Joe Zimmerman, according to ABC.

“I’m [kind of] neutral. I don’t know if it’s [going to] be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s kind of exciting though to get a team here,” Carson resident Jill Grimm told ABC.

Details on the project have been scarce, a fact repeatedly referenced by a city-funded report that was released during the weekend.

“As of the date of completion of this Report, no official project design documents have been provided by the Stadium Developer,” it stated.

The report also estimated that a one-team stadium could hurt Carson’s budget because the plan would jeopardize $1.4 million in federal housing funding, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, AECOM consultant David Stone said the figure was too conservative an estimate and that it would be easy to build housing elsewhere.

He also projected that a one-team stadium would bring in an additional $800,000 in city revenue in the first year and $168 million throughout a 40-year period.

“I think this is a good deal for the city,” Stone said.

The plan creates a new city agency and includes a three-way land deal between property owner of the site Starwood Capital, Carson and the Chargers.

Goldman Sachs will lead the investment project.

Despite the city council’s approval of the stadium, there is no guarantee that the project will come to fruition. The Chargers and Raiders are still working toward stadiums in their respective cities. However, Jeffrey Pollack, a special advisor for the Chargers, insisted the franchise is serious about Carson, the Times reported.

“We see Carson as a real opportunity to build a state-of-the-art stadium,” Pollack said. “Working together we can accomplish our shared vision for the Chargers, Raiders and city of Carson.”

“We are excited about Carson as a shared solution.”

Inglewood has also been considered a site for the return of pro football to Los Angeles, where St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is proposing an 80,000-seat stadium. But like the proposal in Carson, Inglewood’s fate remains uncertain.

For any team to move, NFL relocation rules state 24 ‘yes’ votes out of the 32 owners are required for approval. The league has stated no relocation to Los Angeles will occur in 2015. However, starting in 2016, the window to file for relocation will open, the Los Angeles Daily news reported.

(With reports from ABC, Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles Times)

(LA Weekend April 25-28, 2015 Sec. A pg.1)

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