A petition drive aimed at expediting plans for an NFL stadium in Carson is nearing the 8,041 signatures needed to get the proposal before the City Council, and organizers will hold a rally Saturday in hopes of meeting the goal.
“There has been widespread enthusiasm for the stadium proposal in the Carson community as evidenced by the reception our signature-gatherers have been getting as they’ve been engaging the city’s registered voters,” Fred MacFarlane of stadium group Carson2gether told City News Service. “Carson voters know about the stadium project. Public awareness of the proposed stadium project has helped us be successful with our petition drive.”
MacFarlane would not say exactly how many signatures have been collected since the petition drive began March 12, but he noted that today’s event is dubbed the “Red Zone Rally,” because “metaphorically, that’s where we are with our petition drive.” In football parlance, being in the “red zone” means a team is nearing the end zone.
“We’re not done gathering signatures, but it’s safe to say, we’re pleased with our progress,” he said.
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland 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 it 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.
The Carson proposal has come under fire from officials with the AEG development company, which had been planning to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles but recently scrapped the effort. AEG Vice Chairman Ted Fikre said the company supports efforts to bring the NFL back to the area, but he said his 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