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Southwest Shadow


EDITORIAL: Schools Before Stadiums

Sign the Referendum to Halt the A’s Funding
The Oakland A’s, a baseball team originating from California, is relocating to Las Vegas, where it is being granted public funding for the construction of its new stadium. Ball Impact. UNF Baseball vs. Florida Gulf Coast University © DeusXFlorida, CC BY 2.0.
The Oakland A’s, a baseball team originating from California, is relocating to Las Vegas, where it is being granted public funding for the construction of its new stadium. Ball Impact. UNF Baseball vs. Florida Gulf Coast University © DeusXFlorida, CC BY 2.0.

John Fisher, the billionaire baseball tycoon who owns the A’s, has recently become a few hundred million dollars richer. Following a bill that was signed by Joe Lombardo this June, the team has received a $380 million dollar package of public financing which included county bonds and tax credits to support the construction of their new stadium.

An artistic rendering of the Oakland A’s stadium presented during legislative proposal.

The rationale behind this funding decision was justified by legislators on the basis of net fiscal benefits to the local economy. According to lobbyists, having a major baseball team such as the A’s could accelerate the growing industry of professional sports in Las Vegas, potentially making future athletic expansion even more attractive to other prospective teams. Additionally, the A’s stadium is planned for construction in a special tax zone where legislators are hoping to recoup their investment based on projected ticket revenue. 

While some citizens see the stadium as a lucrative investment opportunity for the county and city at large, others are concerned that this has been a step too far in the wrong direction considering the budget constraints of Clark County. 

The possibility of superficial economic benefits that will be repaid over the course of multiple decades is not reason enough to justify the construction of this stadium; we instead ought to invest the public funding in greater areas of concern such as education. 

An advocacy group called Schools Over Stadiums is one of the most prominent voices of opposition against the construction of the stadium. They are advocating for a petition to be added to the 2024 ballot which would use Nevada’s referendum laws to publicly overturn the decision to fund the stadium. 

As the group has extensively expressed on their website, the fiscal and social priorities of Nevada are heavily misguided. For example, in terms of education, the 82nd Nevada Legislative Session has failed to hear any educational bills that would take direct legal action to reduce the rampant overcrowding of public K-12 schools throughout the district. This issue is becoming increasingly apparent to teachers, students, and administrators in the district who now regularly pack class sizes up to the mid 30’s, and sometimes even larger. Despite these glaringly apparent infrastructural problems over fundamental pillars of the community such as education, it seems that legislators are fixated on further expanding the tourism industry. 

Almost more infuriating than the gross misappropriation of public funding for this project is the considerable amount of money that could have been saved by the project managers. In April, the A’s rejected what is likely the best real-estate offer in history since the Louisiana Purchase: Rio offered them a 22-acre plot of land on the Las Vegas Strip for just $1. Shockingly, they rejected the offer in favor of what is speculated to be a $150 million dollar plot of land near the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. That is millions of dollars that could have been dedicated to teacher raises, hiring new education staff, or reducing class sizes in CCSD.

The referendum petition may be the only opportunity that regular Nevadans have to express their opinion about the matter on a statewide scale. Other activists in more neglected areas of Nevada such as the less populated Washoe, Douglas, and Elko counties have expressed staunch disapproval of the movement, especially since such a vast chunk of state funding is being allocated to just one of many cities throughout Nevada. It is sometimes hard to forget that despite its reputation, Las Vegas is not the only economic hub worthy of attention in Nevada. In this case, it’s hard to justify the exorbitant amount of money the state is dedicating to a project that will likely only benefit a single county. 

Considering the ongoing infrastructural issues that are plaguing the essential facets of Clark County, it is best to take a step back and reconsider what our state’s budget priorities should be focused on. Education is cracking the surface of issues our state faces; among other local concerns are urban homelessness, crime, inflation, and ongoing water insecurity. Urging our legislators to focus on these everyday problems through petition reaffirms the core lesson of this fiasco: that our money should be going to Nevadans- not Californian billionaires. 

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  • AnonymousNov 1, 2023 at

    Need more schools and better education and pay