L.A. Now

The O.C. Clippers? Assembly candidate wants team to move south

An Assembly candidate is proposing that a coalition of business owners, politicians and religious leaders approach the Los Angeles Clippers about leaving the L.A. market and making a fresh start in Orange County, perhaps at the Great Park.

Karina Onofre, a candidate for the 74th Assembly District, on Monday called for the formation of a “blue-ribbon committee” to persuade the Clippers to leave the Staples Center and move south, though she presented no immediate plan for who would pay for an arena.



An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Karina Onofre was a candidate in the 45th Assembly district. She is a candidate in the 74th Assembly district.


Onofre said a different market would give the Clippers a new beginning after the NBA banned team owner Donald Sterling for life for his “deeply offensive and harmful” comments about African Americans.

Orange County has tried and failed repeatedly in its efforts to lure an NBA team, even with the prospect of playing at the visitor-friendly Honda Center in Anaheim.

The Great Park, meanwhile, is one of the most sought-after pieces of real estate in Southern California.

“We must show the Clippers the power of second chances, the power of a new home in Orange County, and the power to become another basketball powerhouse for all of Southern California,” Onofre said.

Onofre, one of five candidates vying to replace Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) in the heavily Republican district, has already navigated major moves of her own — albeit on the political spectrum.

She told a Tea Party audience in January that she was a Democrat who “saw the light” and now represented the future of the Republican Party. But then, after asking another GOP group for its endorsement, she registered as a Democrat for the Assembly race.

The 74th Assembly district includes Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Irvine.

“Everybody thinks it’s a great idea,” Onofre said of her basketball relocation plan.

A Clippers representative could not immediately be reached for comment.


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