Carson officials to NFL: 'We will welcome you with open arms!'

Political, business and community leaders gather in Carson to start building support for NFL stadium project

Rep. Janice Hahn knows about getting a professional sports team to relocate from one city to another. Her late father, Kenneth Hahn, a longtime member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, helped talk Walter O'Malley into bringing the Dodgers from Brooklyn to L.A.

Which is probably why she was one of the people chosen to speak Friday at a news conference that officially announced the plan for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to build an NFL stadium in Carson.

"All they wanted was a new stadium," Hahn (D-Los Angeles) said of the Dodgers back in the 1950s. "This is the same situation."

She added to much applause: "We want the Chargers to know. We want the Raiders to know. If you can't work it out with your respective cities, we will welcome you with open arms in Carson."

The remarks and the way they were delivered reflected the pep-rally-type atmosphere of the event, which was put on by a group of business and labor leaders known as "Carson2gether."

Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes led cheers of "Yes we can!" and "Yes we will!" Councilman Albert Robles displayed an NFL jersey split down the middle, half Chargers and half Raiders, and declared, "I'm rooting for Team Carson!"

Several other politicians and community leaders spoke at the event at Carson City Hall. Not present, however, were representatives of the Chargers or Raiders.

But the focus of the day was on the positive effect of the proposed stadium, with the event serving to launch a petition drive for a ballot initiative to get voter approval for the project.

"It's an enormous opportunity for the city of Carson," Mayor Jim Dear said. "It will change Carson forever in a positive way."

Twitter: @chewkiii

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