A’s Las Vegas Stadium Deal Could Strike Out Via Referendum Petition

Posted on: September 6, 2023, 05:02h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2023, 06:50h.

A referendum petition was filed in Nevada on Wednesday targeting the $380 million in public funding already approved by the state legislature to help finance a $1.5 billion baseball stadium for the Oakland A’s on the Las Vegas Strip.

Oakland A's proposed Las Vegas Stadium
An artist’s rendering of the proposed MLB ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip. The Oakland A’s claimed they needed $380 million in public funding to make the deal happen. (Image: Oakland Athletics)

The petition would put the deal to a vote in November 2024.

Filed by “Schools Over Stadiums” — the political action committee (PAC) formed by the Nevada State Education Association in June specifically to scuttle the deal — the petition seeks to nullify Senate Bill 1, which passed the Nevada Legislature in a special session and was signed by Gov. Joe Lombardo in June.

The petition seeks to make the state’s $180 million portion of the $380 in public funding a referendum on the next statewide election ballot. (It does not dispute the $200 million promised by Clark County.)

If the petition succeeds and the referendum passes, it would force the A’s to find another funding source or foot the bill themselves. The stadium is planned for nine acres of land cleared by the demolition of the Tropicana casino hotel.

Crying Foul

“Schools Over Stadiums has been committed to pursuing every possible path to stop the use of public funds to subsidize a billionaire’s stadium, and that has always included putting the question to Nevada voters who were effectively shut out of the process,” said Dawn Etcheverry, a music teacher and president of NSEA and Schools Over Stadiums, in a news release.

According to a 2023 survey of public education looking at student success, student safety, and school quality, the website scholaroo.com ranked Nevada 48th of 50 U.S. states, only ahead of Louisiana and Arizona.

“Nevada’s priorities are misguided,” Etcheverry said.

While beating the Oakland A’s hasn’t been very difficult this season — they’re dead last in their division with 42 wins and 97 losses — defeating the team’s plans to relocate to Las Vegas by 2028 is a long shot.

What’s Next

Schools Over Stadiums must get at least 102,362 verified signatures — more than 25,590 from each of Nevada’s four congressional districts — to get the petition on the ballot. If it even gets that far, language in the petition is likely to be challenged in court.

At a recent Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority meeting, CEO Steve Hill called the efforts to derail the stadium “misguided,” noting the thousands of jobs and billions in future tourism that the proposed stadium would generate.