On Wednesday, a referendum petition was submitted in Nevada, attempting to upend the $380 million public funding already greenlit by the state legislature. This endorsement is designated to contribute towards the cost of a $1.5 billion baseball stadium envisioned for the Oakland A’s on the Las Vegas Strip.
A rendition by an artist showcases the envisaged MLB ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip. The Oakland A’s insist that $380 million in public funding is crucial to make this venture a reality. If successful, this petition could thrust the deal onto the voting ballots by November 2024.
The petition was brought forward by the political action committee “Schools Over Stadiums”. This organization, established in June by the Nevada State Education Association, has the explicit purpose to upend the arrangement. The group is pressing to rescind Senate Bill 1, which successfully made its way through the Nevada Legislature during a special session and received Governor Joe Lombardo’s signature in June.
The organizational goal is to bring into question the state’s $180 million share of the $380 million in public funding on the upcoming statewide election ballot. The petition, however, does not challenge the $200 million guaranteed by Clark County. If the petition achieves its goal, and the referendum is approved, it would compel the A’s to secure alternative funding options or bear the expense themselves. The proposed stadium is set to occupy nine acres of land cleared by the implosion of the Tropicana casino hotel.
Dawn Etcheverry, a music teacher and president of the Nevada State Education Association and Schools Over Stadiums, expressed her organizational commitment to halt the utilization of public funds to subsidize a tycoon’s stadium in a press statement, adding that it included letting Nevada’s voters decide.
A 2023 survey by scholaroo.com examining student success, safety, and quality of education, placed Nevada at the dismal rank of 48 out of 50 U.S. states, lagging only behind Louisiana and Arizona. Criticizing the state’s misplaced priorities was Etcheverry.
Challenging the Oakland A’s present relocation plans to Las Vegas by 2028 remains in question, even though the team currently stands at the bottom of their division with merely 42 wins and a harrowing 97 losses.
As for the next steps, Schools Over Stadiums face the daunting task of amassing a minimum of 102,362 verified signatures– more than 25,590 from each of Nevada’s four congressional districts – for the petition to be accepted on the ballot. It is also probable that the language in the petition is set to face legal contestations.
At a recent Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority gathering, CEO Steve Hill branded the efforts to disrupt the stadium as “misguided”. He cites the potential promise of thousands of jobs and billions in resulting tourism owing to the proposed stadium.