September 7, 2023 - 9:00 pm
Blinded by its misguided opposition to the new A’s stadium, the Nevada State Education Association is about to hit into a triple play.
On Wednesday, Schools over Stadiums, a group connected to the union, filed a referendum petition. It seeks to halt parts of the bill that provided $380 million to help finance a new ballpark on the Strip. It will become the future home of the now-Oakland A’s. The team is responsible for a majority of the $1.5 billion cost.
Along with their financial commitment, the A’s have officially asked MLB for permission to relocate to Las Vegas. The new stadium is expected to open in 2028, but the team may be here even sooner. After their lease in Oakland expires at the end of next season, the A’s may play at the Las Vegas Ballpark until their new home is ready.
The presence of the A’s will benefit for the entire community. Despite years of talk about diversifying the economy, tourism remains the economic powerhouse. The A’s will provide yet another reason for people to come here. Just look at the obvious success of the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium.
As the name implies, Schools over Stadiums complains that the Legislature didn’t consider new funding sources for education. But that analysis misses the obvious. A new stadium will increase tourism. More tourism will boost the economy. A growing economy will provide the additional tax dollars the union desires.
The group is also stepping into a hornet’s nest of political problems. Gov. Joe Lombardo and strong majorities in the Legislature supported the effort. So did important Democratic special interest groups like the AFL-CIO and Culinary Local 226. No wonder the Clark County Education Association, which has plenty of its own issues, broke away from the more radical NSEA years ago.
More notable, the group’s messaging makes zero sense. Gov. Lombardo and the Legislature increased education spending by more than $2 billion. Over the biennium, $11.2 billion will be sent out through the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan. It would be more accurate to say the Legislature put schools before a stadium.
All that the union’s whining is likely to accomplish is highlighting to the public how futile it is to try to fix a broken system by pouring more money into it.
And for its third out, the union is too late. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill said a contract with the A’s will be signed before a referendum is voted on.
The union appears to have skipped every history lesson showing the importance of picking your battles. It should abandon this quixotic quest.