Carson could approve Chargers, Raiders stadium plan tonight despite not knowing how it would work

The Carson city council is meeting tonight, and could be about to follow the lead of its neighbors in Inglewood and approve a stadium funding plan without a public referendum, via the mechanism of having petitions signed for a referendum, then voting to waive the whole “residents actually voting” thing. And if that doesn’t sound like the greatest idea, the L.A. Times’ Tim Logan and Nathan Fenno today report just how many things will get swept under the rug by the hurry-up approval scheme:

The 26-page initiative petition proposing the stadium says little about how it would be paid for, other than a promise that city tax dollars won’t be used. Leases need to be worked out. Personal seat licenses — which developers say could fund nearly half the project — must be sold. And there’s no mention of the three-way land swap, creation of a new city agency or 10-figure investment led by Goldman Sachs that are all key to the deal.

Also, if Carson can’t get two NFL teams to move in, there might be a huge shortfall in tax revenue to pay the city’s share of costs, the city could lose $1.4 million a year in federal housing aid if it can’t find a new site for the 1,500 housing units that were originally planned for the stadium site, and nobody has figured out where to put 16,000 off-site parking spaces.

This is why one traditionally holds stadium negotiations before voting on the plan — and, for that matter, why California law normally requires environmental impact studies and a long public process before approving these kinds of deals, which is what Carson officials could be voting to skip over tonight. Instead, everyone will have to hope that Carson’s mayor and city council can hash out a funding plan behind closed doors with the teams involved. And surely nothing could go wrong with that, right?

10 comments on “Carson could approve Chargers, Raiders stadium plan tonight despite not knowing how it would work

  1. Hi Neil,
    You state:
    “Also, if Carson can’t get two NFL teams to move in, there might be a huge shortfall in tax revenue to pay the city’s share of costs…”

    How much is the city’s share of costs?

  2. Scott: An excellent question that I haven’t seen an answer to. This is from AECOM’s study of the Carson stadium plan, which was supposedly released by the Carson city council on Monday, if anyone can track it down:

  3. “How much is the city’s share of costs?”

    If you don’t know the answer (and the local pols almost certainly don’t), then the answer is probably “A Sh*tload”

  4. The city’s contribution is limited to infrastructure costs and police and traffic services.

    “According to the “Carson Football Stadium Initiative Report,” a city analysis of the project that will be presented to the council at Tuesday’s meeting:

    “The Stadium Initiative includes conclusive statements which clarify that the City WILL NOT be responsible for any of the costs related to Stadium construction (including cost overruns) nor will it be responsible for stadium operating costs, maintenance, or capital improvement expenses, Additionally, the Stadium Initiative states that the City will be reimbursed for cost associated with the provision of additional public safety and traffic management services related to Stadium events.””

  5. @LMTFA

    Relocation fees are negligible, the largest ever charged was only $29 million. This rumor of huge relocation fees has been spread by ignorant sportswriters who don’t understand the difference between relocation fees and expansion fees. You should also know that the Raiders were not charged a relocation fee to return to Oakland in 1995. Relocation fees are actually paid off over a number of years. For example…

    “Modell also must pay the NFL a relocation fee of $29 million — $20million upfront and $9 million to be paid over 15 years”

  6. Relocation fees are going to be whatever the other NFL owners think they can get away with. So if they decide they want teams moving to L.A., they won’t be too onerous; and if they decide they don’t want teams moving to L.A., well, they can just vote down the move outright.

  7. Neil, I think this is an interesting development in California:

    What in the world does this have to do with sports venues? Well, read this:

    “In a unanimous decision, the three-justice 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that the Orange County city’s method violated Proposition 218, a 1996 ballot measure establishing that municipalities cannot impose fees for services that exceed the actual cost.”

    Given that language, how will it be legal to raise parking rates to pay for arena bonds? I’ve long contended they can’t do that, now we have a unanimous court ruling that agrees. I think this lawsuit in June is on far more solid footing than arena proponents have contended.

  8. I don’t think that means what you think it means, Mike. Here’s the relevant part of Prop 218:

    “(3) The amount of a fee or charge imposed upon any parcel or person as an incident of property ownership shall not exceed the proportional cost of the service attributable to the parcel.”

    So it really just disallows *disproportionate* fees for certain property owners. Everyone getting hosed equally on parking would still be constitutional.