Nevada lawmakers, who may be called into special session later this year, received an extensive pamphlet late Monday detailing reasons to oppose a stadium proposed by Sheldon Adelson and partially funded by public money.
"As you consider whether to approve the upcoming Las Vegas football stadium proposal, we urge you to consider the proven damage done by funding sports facilities with taxpayer money," the email with the attached document was sent Monday evening by Alex Leichenger, a Bernie Sanders organizer here. (I have reached out to Leichenger, whose LinkedIn page says he worked for the left-leaning ThinkProgress site and for the NBA players union as an intern, to find out who else might be involved in this effort and will append any comments if I reach him.)
The document Leichenger sent to legislators indicates a lot of research has been done. It contains an email address -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- and a Facebook page is up and running. The piece also has a claims-vs.-reality section and raises issues about where the hundreds of millions in public money -- i.e. room taxes -- could be better spent while mentioning what few have taken the time to delve into: the tax increment district that could repay the developers for their investment.
----Adelson also has an organ to publicize his interests—last year, he purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the most widely-circulated newspaper in Nevada. Newspaper owners have long shared development goals with sports owners, as Neil deMause and Joanna Cagan have written. Adelson’s purchase of the Review-Journal and the paper’s subsequent editorializing in favor of his proposal provide the most explicit example yet. Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun has also advocated for the stadium, though he acknowledges that the public should pay a smaller share of the cost.
----CLAIM: Sheldon Adelson is pushing the stadium as a philanthropic gift to Las Vegas. REALITY: At a meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, Adelson employee Andy Abboud called the stadium a “get poor quick scheme” for his boss, who is a “philanthropic guy.” If demanding a record-seting public subsidy counts as philanthropy, it is the worst philanthropy in the history of mankind.
Adelson lieutenant Andy Abboud had predicted a special session starting this week, which, of course, is not happening. The committee looking into the stadium proposals is unlikely to be done before fall. But there is still talk of a special session after the election, and Gov. Brian Sandoval has been supportive of the project.
The mail piece and Facebook page are the first signs of any organized opposition as Adelson and his newspaper have driven the dialogue to a great extent.