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THE TALK OF THE TOWN
Rick Reilly
September 14, 1987
Meet Irwindale, Calif., home-to-be of the Raiders
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September 14, 1987

The Talk Of The Town

Meet Irwindale, Calif., home-to-be of the Raiders

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All right, everybody, quiet down! Let the Irwindale Town Meeting now come to order. First off, I guess everybody knows by now that Al Davis has agreed to build the Raiders a new stadium in one of our abandoned gravel pits. By the way, that means there are only 18 more pits left to fill. And already, ideas for the stadium name are rolling in. So far, we've got the Raider Crater, Big Al's Cash and Quarry and Mile Low Stadium. And we've got the slogan for the season-ticket drive: Own a Piece of the Rock. You like? It's either that or Raider Stadium: Our Sediments Exactly. Whaddaya mean, it needs some work?

Anyway, some of you have been asking how we came to get the Raiders and what we had to pay for 'em, so I thought I'd give you a quick rundown. Remember when we gave away all that free land to those giant corporations—like when we sold Miller Brewing Company 245 acres for a buck? Well, it worked so well that we've got this humongous tax base. In fact, we've got $35 million in the bank, and that's kind of a lot for a town with only 1,040 people and one restaurant, so we've been trying to think of ways to spend it.

Well, boys, we saw how Al was moaning about his deal with the L. A. Coliseum, and we were moaning about the fix we were in, and we got to thinking that maybe there was a way to cover two holes with one patch, and that's how it worked.

A-course, we had to give Al a $10 million nonrefundable check until we get everything squared away. Uh, and we also agreed to lend him another $105 million to build the stadium and a practice facility and a Raiders Hall of Fame. Of course we won't exactly own any of this stuff. It'll all belong to Al. But he said he'd give us half-price admission to the Hall. Oh, and we'll have to pay $2.5 million a year in expenses, plus come up with about $50 million for, like, roads and highway ramps and debt service and stuff, but we should get a heckuva lot of it back.

The only hitch is that we don't have any land for parking. Now, boys, don't get all riled up. Right now, all the land around the stadium site is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and those boys say it's smack in the middle of a floodplain and they're not going to give it to us. Even if they did, the parking has to be approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, and we kind of hacked them off by snatching the Raiders out of the Coliseum in the first place. So it might get sticky.

Now I hear some people saying this is starting to smell like the Spiked Enchilada Caper back in '72. Remember? That's when somebody had the bright idea to drug the mayor's enchiladas and take those compromising photos of him with that nude woman so as to get him to vote for legalized gambling. Well, this isn't like that at all. For one thing, Al doesn't like Mexican food.

What's that? Well, that's sort of true. If we can't figure out where to park the cars, Al can just take his 10 mil and skedaddle, but let me say this about Al Davis, I've never met a finer, more upstanding.... Awright, maybe he would do it, but.... Anyhow, we'll figure out something.

Now, of course, we've got to get this by the voters, because we might have to hit them with a tax increase to float a bond.... No, no, it'll only be, like, a 70% increase on property taxes, but you'll get it back. Anyway, like I say, we've figured out how to get them to vote for it. We're buying every citizen a season ticket! Brainy, huh? And besides, if they don't vote for it, we're out 10 million zops, so they can't say no, right? Hey, Vinnie, extortion is a pretty strong word....

Look, we figured getting the Raiders was worth it. O.K., so we've only got one school. And no hospitals. And only 17 cops. But we're talking Raiders here! Marcus Allen! Howie Long! Rusty Hilger! O.K., forget him. Howie Long, though. C'mon!

Besides, guys, cities all over the country are getting taken by the NFL. It's the civic thing to do. Do you know that the Houston Oilers just told Jacksonville that if it could guarantee $115 million in profits on seat revenues over 10 years, plus throw in all the moola for parking and sky boxes and concessions, they'd move there. And Jacksonville's working on it. And Phoenix has done everything but promise to dome the city to get the St. Louis Cardinals to move. It's good government!

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