SAN DIEGO — Declaring victory in its signature drive to expedite approval of a proposed stadium that could house the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, a group of community and business leaders delivered 40 boxes of petitions to Carson City Hall Wednesday.
Members of Carson2gether said they have collected more than 15,000 signatures from Carson voters. The group needs 8,041 valid signatures to put the issue before the City Council, which can either place the proposal on the ballot or approve it outright.
Backers of the $1.7 billion plan marched from a hotel to Carson City Hall — led by drummers wearing Chargers and Raiders jerseys — to deliver the boxes of petitions.
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.
“The fact that we were able to collect twice the number of signatures required in just eight days demonstrates the extremely high level of support for the stadium project,” Mark Fabiani, the Chargers special counsel on stadium issues, said in an email.
In San Diego, the Chargers Stadium Advisory Group — a nine-member task force appointed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer — has recommended building a facility in Mission Valley, adjacent to Qualcomm Stadium.
The group is now working on a financing plan, which will be announced in May.
“CSAG is not spending a minute looking at external issues in other cities,” group spokesman Tony Manolatos said. “Our focus is on San Diego.”
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. 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 entertainment giant AEG, which recently scrapped its plan to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. AEG Vice Chairman Ted Fikre said the company supports efforts to bring the NFL back to the area, but his firm opposes the fast-track petition drives being used to circumvent state environmental review laws.
An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994, when the Raiders and Rams relocated.