Las Vegas stadium proponents counter attempt to repeal public funding for potential MLB ballpark
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Two Nevada residents representing a “broad-based coalition of business interests and labor” including the Oakland Athletics filed a complaint in Carson City District Court last week, attempting to thwart an effort from a teachers union-backed PAC to repeal hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding for a potential $1.5 billion MLB stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.
Danny Thompson and Thomas Morley — a former and a current labor leader — filed the complaint on Tuesday in Carson City District Court in an attempt to invalidate a referendum petition that would make repealing the $380 million in public funding an option on the 2024 ballot.
Three leaders from the PAC known as “Schools over Stadiums” are listed as defendants, along with Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, who runs elections across the state.
The attorney for the two plaintiffs, Bradley Schrager, claimed the two plaintiffs represented a business and labor coalition, including the A’s. The organization, whose owners are pushing to move to Las Vegas, declined to comment and referred all questions to Schrager.
Schrager declined to comment on his communication with the A’s about the lawsuit.
The statewide teachers union filed paperwork earlier this month to start gathering signatures in hopes of getting a referendum to repeal the funding in front of voters on the 2024 general election ballot.
The lawsuit states that petition does not include the full text of the proposal and only provides seven of 46 sections of the funding bill. The plaintiffs also argue that Schools over Stadiums’ description in the petition of the funding’s effect is “confusing, deceptive and misleading, omits essential information regarding the petition’s effects, and flatly misstates important factual matters.”
The teachers union responded on Thursday, describing the complaint as another effort from well-connected lobbyists to prioritize special interests over public education.
“Suing educators trying to put schools first sets a terrible tone for an organization claiming to now care about our community,” said Alexander Marks, a spokesperson for the statewide teachers union and Schools over Stadiums, started earlier this month to create the referendum petition. “Educators overcome challenges every day. Schools over Stadiums is confident our referendum will move forward and we will be gathering signatures to fix Nevada’s misguided priorities in the coming weeks.”
The group needs to gather about 100,000 signatures, equating to about 10% of the ballots cast in the last general election, to get the question in front of voters.
The stadium financing debate mirrors those happening nationwide, pitting Nevada’s powerful tourism industry, including trade unions, against a growing chorus of groups raising concerns about tax dollars that could otherwise fund government services or schools being used for sports stadiums.
The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the funding bill for the stadium in a special legislative session in June. Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo approved it the following day.
The Oakland Athletics’ potential move to Las Vegas still has many processes to go through, including a vote from owners on the relocation. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told The Associated Press that he hopes the vote will happen in a mid-November gathering of owners in Texas.(AP) -
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