LOS ANGELES - Citing Black unemployment, minority rights groups in the Black community are calling on California Senator Alan Lowenthal to support SB 292, the bill to expedite legal challenges to Farmers Field, Anschutz Entertainment Group's $1.2 billion proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
Farmers Field, group leaders say, will create tens of thousands of good jobs in the construction, hotel, tourism and entertainment industries.
The protest is co-sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a Black civil-rights organization, and took place today on the steps of Senator Lowenthal's district office in Long Beach.
Protesters held up signs saying, "I Want to Work."
The goal, protesters say, is for all California legislators to stand up for jobs, especially for those hit hardest by the recession.
Although the bill seems to have the support of most legislators in Los Angeles, local sources say the real battle will be convincing lawmakers to the north and south, which will not be easy considering the two teams most commonly linked to a move to Los Angeles if the stadium is built are the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. The San Francisco 49ers, currently trying to secure financing for a new stadium, have also been mentioned.
The topic came up during the California State Assembly Committee on Natural Resources hearing when assembly member Jared Huffman, whose district represents Marin County and Sonoma County in Northern California, was more interested in including provisions that would prevent the proposed stadium from being the future home of a current NFL team in California than any environmental laws.
"My concern is if one of the existing franchises in another part of California is the one that picks up sticks and moves to this wonderful new stadium, it's probably fair to say then we are not creating new jobs in California, we are just relocating jobs," California Assemblyman Jared Huffman said at the state's Committee on Natural Resources hearing.
Huffman added, "If you wanted to put us at ease, those of us who are not LA-centric in our NFL support, it would be possible to have a provision that says none of this happens if it's a California franchise. ... I'm not sure why that's an unreasonable condition."
Participating in the protest were Black civil rights, labor, community, business and sports figures including: Eric Lee, Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Darren Parker, African American Caucus Chair of the CA Democratic Party, Marqueece Harris Dawson, Executive Director of Community Coalition, and Leon Jenkins, President of the NAACP-Los Angeles Chapter.