The Oakland Athletics are reportedly facing another challenge in their pursuit of the $380 million allocated to them in SB1, the bill passed by Nevada state lawmakers approving a new ballpark on the Las Vegas strip.
According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic ($), a teacher's union-backed political action committee called Strong Public Schools Nevada has filed suit against the state of Nevada and Governor Joe Lombardo, questioning the legality of SB1.
This is the second such attempt made by a Nevada political action committee to rescind the public money allocated by the state legislature, the first being made a few months back by Schools Over Stadiums.
Schools Over Stadiums' referendum petition is still in progress. The initial petition was shot down by a Clark County judge due to technical language issues in the claim but the group still has time to get the petition onto the ballot in 2024.
According to Drellich, Strong Public Schools Nevada's claim argues two primary points. First, that the standard majority vote used by the legislature was invalid as the state requires all bills that create public revenue to be passed by a two-thirds vote in the Nevada Assembly and Senate. Second, that the bill provides incorrect cost calculations in the form of debts from Clark County.
Both political action committees are focused on rescinding the public funding allocated to the Athletics' ballpark based on the idea that the Nevada taxpayers have better things to spend their money on.
The state frequently ranks near the bottom when it comes to state funding, test scores, and a variety of criteria when compared to other states in the US. The political action committees, as well as their supporters, would rather see that public money be invested into the school systems in Clark County and greater Nevada that desperately need the assistance than be gifted to a billionaire con-man whose only aim is personal profit.
It's obvious that a substantial number of fans, not just Athletics fans or Las Vegas residents, but general MLB fans, agree with the sentiment.
There is an argument out there that the Athletics have run their course in Oakland. That argument only exists because of the way that John Fisher has operated the franchise. He's actively resisted building in Oakland and over the past decade made it explicitly clear that the Oakland community means nothing to him.
A John Fisher led franchise will never be successful in MLB. Oakland fans know that and desperately want him to sell the team to someone who cares. There are fans in Las Vegas who want baseball in their home city. Whether a team could feasibly work there is a debate worth having. But if they get an Athletics organization owned and operated by John Fisher, their tune is going to change awfully quick.
We'll keep an eye on this new development and update as necessary.