Backers of a proposed Carson football stadium that could house both the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders will begin a petition drive Thursday in hopes of expediting the project by putting it on the ballot or getting immediate approval from the City Council.
The Chargers and Raiders announced Feb. 19 they are working on a joint proposal to build a 72,000-seat stadium at Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway in Carson if they are unable to strike deals for new facilities in their respective cities.
Following the lead of Inglewood, where St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning to build a stadium at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site, backers of the Carson stadium want to push the project forward through the initiative process.
With enough petition signatures, the project will go directly to the Carson City Council, which can either approve the project outright or place the issue on the ballot. The initiative process allows the project to avoid lengthy and expensive environmental reviews.
The Inglewood City Council voted unanimously Feb. 24 to approve an initiative allowing for construction of Kroenke’s planned 80,000-seat stadium. Although Kroenke is behind the project, the Rams have not announced any intention of moving back to the Los Angeles area.
Carson2gether.com, the business and union coalition backing the Carson stadium proposal, will hold a 4:30 p.m. rally on Thursday at Mission Ebenezer Family Church, 415 W. Torrance Blvd., to begin the petition drive. The group needs to collect 8,041 valid signatures from registered voters in the city to get the project before the council.
On Monday, the AEG development company announced it was dropping plans to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, saying it has not gotten any commitments from any NFL teams to play there. Such a commitment was a prerequisite for the project to move forward.
AEG Vice Chairman Ted Fikre said the company is supportive of efforts to bring the NFL back to the area, but he said the firm opposes the fast-track petition drives being used to circumvent state environmental review laws.
“While we believe that some of the alternative sites being considered in Southern California by the NFL and certain of its teams could be developed in an intelligent and responsible fashion, we would not support any project that is being rushed to market without a public process where environmental, economic, operational and community concerns can and should be examined and addressed,” he said.
An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994.
— City News Service