Carson looks to welcome Chargers, Raiders to town

Carson looks to welcome Chargers, Raiders to town
AFC West rivals the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are expressing support for a new stadium proposal in the city of Carson, Calif. A press conference was held in Carson on Friday with elected officials trying to rally support for the project. Fans in Oakland and San Diego are expressing concern over whether this might signal both teams leaving their respective cities. File photo by Bill Reilly

REGION — A press conference held Friday morning in Carson, Calif. had Chargers and Raiders fans from San Diego to the Bay area on the edges of their collective seats, anticipating hearing news implicating the possibility of both teams leaving their respective cities.

But instead what they heard and saw was Carson’s elected officials hyping the possibility of building a brand new stadium with the hopes of securing both teams, the Raiders and the Chargers, to the city.

Each elected official speaking referred to the day as “great” and “history-making,” as they tried to rally support for the community to agree to the new stadium.

The city, before anything else can move forward on the plan, must secure 1,000 signatures from residents in the area to form a ballot initiative, which would then go to the voters.

As of yet, there is no timeline on when or if any groundbreaking would begin, as officials said they would remain focused on garnering public support.

“Thanks to all of the players — not just the players on the field — to work behind the scenes to bring this opportunity,” said Carson’s Mayor Jim Dear.

Councilman Albert Robles, wearing a split jersey — on one side the Chargers, the other the Raiders — said he wanted to bring football back to where “we need it, where we want it.”

“Welcome Raiders, welcome Chargers,” said Elito M. Santarina, the city’s mayor pro tem.

“We can bring these teams to Carson, but it’s going to take a united effort,” said Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes.

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The city also launched the website Carson2gether.com, with a video animation of what the new stadium would look like.

Financing for the stadium would be without taxpayers help, and would be paid for by the events held at the new facility.

U.S. Rep Janice Hahn spoke of a time when her father Kenneth Hahn, helped to bring the Brooklyn Dodgers out to Los Angeles.

All the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted was a new stadium and they wouldn’t give it to them, she said — a pointed remark in light of the Raiders and Chargers struggles with their respective cities for a new stadium.

“This is about the cities, San Diego and Oakland working with their teams, if they can’t work it out, we will welcome you with open arms,” Hahn said.

“We want you here, Chargers, Raiders come on down,” she added.

A stadium search for the Chargers has been ongoing for the past 13 years. Last month, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tapped a number civic leaders, stadium and financial experts to come up with recommendations for the location and financing of a new stadium that would help keep the team in the city.

The Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group, along with Faulconer were shocked to learn of the recent developments in Carson. The partnership between the Raiders and the Chargers for a new stadium has been in the works for at least nine months prior to Thursday’s announcement.

The mayor and Chargers owner Dean Spanos are expected to meet Tuesday, according to a number of media reports.

In an interview appearing on the Chargers’ website, Mark Fabiani, special counsel to the team said that the organization’s support of the Carson stadium “does not mean the Chargers will relocate to Los Angeles. What the announcement does mean is that we are keeping our options open — in case there is still no solution for a new stadium in San Diego, and in case the efforts of others to take over the L.A. market continue to progress unabated.”

An NFL spokesman said that for a team wishing to relocate, they would need to “file for relocation (no teams have) and meet relocation requirements. Any relocation requires a league-wide vote with 3/4ths approval necessary (24 of 32 teams).”

And as for the Chargers and Raiders’ talks of partnering for a new stadium, the spokesman said they have been in “regular contact with all involved clubs.  All clubs have been meeting their responsibilities to keep us informed.”

Fabiani has not replied to a request for comment at this time.

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