Friday, July 14, 2017 | 2 a.m.
False hope of work on the new Raiders stadium drew hundreds of people from some of the valley’s poorest neighborhoods downtown Thursday afternoon, only to find out no jobs were available.
A misleading flyer circulated by longtime local community activist Stanley Washington brought the people to Thursday’s Las Vegas Stadium Authority board meeting. Attributed in print to Get Active Foundation and Churches of Southern Nevada, the flyer advertised a need for "5,000 black men and women who want to go to work" and targeted ZIP codes 89106 and 89030. The flyer further suggested a need for people 18 to 60 years old and stated "ex-offenders welcome."
Washington passionately defended the flyer after a meeting in which he received verbal lashings from multiple labor union representatives during public comment. In distributing the flyer in hard copy and on social media, Washington said he planned “to put a call out to black Americans in 89106 and 89030 who wanted to work.”
“I was on legal ground everywhere,” Washington said. “Then it got down to the interpretation of the flyer. Well, what does the flyer say -- the flyer says ‘pre-job recruitment signups.’ It doesn’t say, ‘come down and get a job.’
“All the different opinions, they’re welcome to that. The only thing I’m interested in is (Senate Bill) 1, people working — I’ll take all the hits for flyers all day long.”
Washington said he gathered information from the hundreds in attendance outside the Clark County Government Center for subsequent job orientation sessions. Representatives of multiple labor unions likely to participate in the stadium project also signed up attendees for potential future jobs.
Yet neither option offered the paycheck that a flyer that screamed “JOBS!!! JOBS!!! JOBS!!!” across its top appeared to promise.
“When I said that this is not a job fair, there’s no direct hiring on-site, there were a lot of unhappy people,” Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said. “And I understand why. They came down under the premise they were going to get hired today. That simply wasn’t true.”
The crowd forced Metro Police to shut down temporarily at least one driving entrance to the county complex. Sisolak said some people traveled more than an hour by bus in the 106-degree heat in search of work, leading a few on the verge of fighting.
“It’s unfortunate that somebody took advantage of this and tried to get these people down here under false circumstances,” Sisolak said.
Stadium authority board chairman Steve Hill opened what became a three-hour meeting by thanking the people who arrived in search of work for their efforts. Following the meeting, Hill said he did not worry about the flyer reflecting poorly on the overall stadium construction effort.
“Whoever caused people to come out under false pretenses today, I hope that’s who loses the credibility,” Hill said. “People who didn’t do that, I hope they don’t. But we’ve got no ability to screen those kind of things.”
The flyer listed 25,000 union and non-union jobs soon to come online through the stadium, Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and several Strip projects.
Ensuing public comment at the meeting reflected community anger at the situation, though much of the talk veered into an ongoing public argument centered on board member Tommy White of Laborers Local 872 that does not relate to stadium authority issues.
In its only notable action of the meeting, the board approved a procedural item certifying that the Raiders have met minimum requirements set forth in Senate Bill 1 to construct their $1.9 billion stadium. The board does not meet again until mid-August, around the same time the Raiders must submit their land-use application for consideration by the county commission.