Allegiant Stadium BOLT to ROOF FIASCO
By: Jedi Joy Lightowler
I JediJoy, have been a football fan since I was about 6 years old. My sister was two years older than me. She introduced me to the game. My dad has never been a fan of sports. The only sports he enjoys are ones that include bicycles or cars. My dad is an avid bicyclist in Oregon and Washington. What does this have to do with the Raiders?
I have only been to two Professional football games in my life. One was a contest, I won for winning a football trivia game at a bar. This was in Portland, Oregon. I could not find anyone to go to the game with me. It was a horribly rainy day. I had tickets to see the Seahawks play the Cardinals. I finally got one of my bar buddies to go. My dad, said their was too big of a storm and he really has no desire to see a football game.
So there I went soaking in the rain, I was not going to miss my first chance to go to a professional, NFL football game. I had never been a Seattle fan. To be honest, I am from Northern California, so I was a huge San Francisco 49er Fan. My dad even worked where the 49ers had their summer training camps.
One day, back in about 1991, my dad was backing up at work. He worked at Sierra College. He did not see a man walking behind the truck. The man jumped out of his way to avoid my dad backing into him. My dad, got out and said I am so sorry. The man, said, “It’s all right, they pay me to get out of people’s way”. My dad almost ran over or at least would have hit this man with his truck.
This man was Joe Montana. This was in 1991, this was when Joe Montana was on top of his game. My dad would have been infamous for injuring Joe Montana during his glory days. This was summer camp in 1991. Instead, he ended up with a badass story that I loved to tell when I was at football parties. Tell of the day that my dad almost ran over Joe Montana.
Now fast forward to 2010, I get tickets to a Seahawks game. I go and see Marshawn Lynch and his teammates tear up the Arizona Cardinals. This was my first LIVE experience with the BEASTMODE. We are now huge fans of BEASTMODE. I was sad to see him leave the Raiders before they made it to Las Vegas.
Marshawn Lynch created an amazing BEASTMODE Store at the Town Square by the Airport, here in Vegas. JediRich and I decked ourselves out with BEASTMODE gear when the store first opened. They even had amazingly great and low prices for the gear. We were so bummed to see that the store closed and that Marshawn had left the Raiders. He will be missed by the Jedi.
Now, lets skip to 2011, I am working in an office, that were huge Raiders fan. This was in Vancouver, WA. The owner of the Real Estate office would bet on the Raiders winning the super bowl every year at the beginning of the season. He says one day, they will win and the payoff will make up for all the losses.
I got the opportunity to go with this crew to a Raiders game at the Oakland Colosseum. Raiders played the Patriots. Unfortunately, the Patriots won. I was wearing Raiders gear, that I had borrowed from friends. I had never felt so much comrade with a group of people. I had a blast at the game. The tailgating parties were amazing. I loved all the outfits. This is when people would dress up in full Raider gear. The costumes were astounding.
I really enjoyed going to Oakland and watching the Raiders. I have now only been to two NFL games. I am hoping the next one will be here in Las Vegas at our new Raiders Allegiant Stadium. I am so exited to have the team come to Las Vegas. I know there are a lot of hurt feelings about the team leaving Oakland. I wish that this move could be best for both cities, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Oakland is sad to see the Raiders go for many reasons. One being, most people in Oakland are Raiders fans. I would say a larger ratio of fans to not fans, live in Oakland, then other cities. So the city and its people are upset that their team is leaving and rightfully so. For this, I say I am sorry, but please come see your team play in their new city of Las Vegas. The team still needs all the fans to follow, even if they move locations.
Now back to the current stadium project. As soon, as I heard, that the Raiders were coming to Vegas, I told JediRich we need to document this. This is history in the making. How often does a NFL stadium get built in the city where you currently live? We took pictures as soon as they put the first sign on the lot, saying...”The Raiders are Coming”. We were so excited. We decided to start documenting the stadium.
Fast forward to May 2019. We had been documenting the stadium at least weekly. We lived close enough to walk to the stadium. We talked to a couple iron workers one day. We asked why a roof truss had been taken down. This iron worker said and I quote “they installed over half of the trusses incorrectly. One piece of the iron was installed upside down. This is now creating a gap due to a minor difference in size, 1/8ths of an inch difference.” He then said “They are going to have to redo in the AIR about half of the trusses.
This blew RED FLAGS all over my mind. We informed everyone online and we were harassed mercilessly. We were called liars, fake news, whores and crackheads. We were shocked by the reaction we received for reporting the news that we heard directly from the iron workers. We decided to back way off the stadium for a bit.
Now fast forward again to September 2019. We hear news that the roof is going to begin raising in September and be completed in October. We hear from Don Webb, that this is a procedure that has to be completed to literally a gnats ass. Which means, it needed to be exactly precise. The temperature was a factor, the timing everything. He compared the process to that of making a fine Swiss watch.
This roof project, has never been done in the United States. Their was a similar project in another county, but this is the first one in the US. The Raider community including, Don Webb were completely jazzed up about this roof. It was going to be such an amazing process to watch. They bragged about how it was going to be completed in 2020.
2020 is a lot quicker than the original designers wanted for the completion date to be for this roof lifting procedure. They said the would have preferred more time to complete such a massive undertaking. Instead, the Raiders wanted in done by 2020. They agreed they would get it done.
Now remember back to the Truss Fiasco in May 2019, this set the crew back quite a bit. They had to pick up a third shift and even work on Fourth of July to get the trusses completed in time for the next steps. Now we are sitting here in December and the roof is just in limbo. We have no answers to when the roof will be lifted.
All, we hear now is, the Roof is no longer on the crucial item list. Not on the crucial item list. When will it be on the crucial item list? The roof was set to be raised in September, they were late. We had heard on social media, that this was due to parts being stolen on site. We even saw Metro stationed on site for a week. Don Webb confirmed parts were stolen, but it was not a concern. As Don Webb, always says, “Not a concern right now”.
Well, Don Webb, when will the Roof become a concern for you? The roof was pushed back in September due to the stolen parts. Then in October there was a mad dash to get the roof started to lift after deadline after deadline was missed. Then we hit a huge cold snap. The temperature dropped over 30 degrees in one night. JediRich and I went to the stadium. It was the coldest day, I have ever experienced in Vegas. It was even colder than the snow that set the crew back 5 days from working in February 2019.
All of these setbacks have added to the stadium needing to be rushed. The original project was already rushed. This stadium construction project was supposed to take at least 5 years. They have squished it into a little over 2 years. Mistakes have been made. Mistakes will always be made when a project is rushed. Attention to detail, is a must with a project of this massive size. Actually any project to truly succeed must have attention to detail.
What happened after the cold snap? Bolts starting breaking. There has been a lot of discussion about where the bolts are from and that over tightening has occurred. It is not about, where the bolts are from or what went wrong. It is about that the leader of this construction team is blaming his crew for the roof not being raised.
To this I say, that is total BULLSHIT!! The leader should always take responsibility for the crew in reward and in punishment. The leader does not throw his whole crew under the bus to save his own ass. That is a pussy and weak move by Don Webb. The Universe has taken note of that. What do you do when pushed to the gun? Do you lie and throw your team under the bus or do you be a man and take the GODDAMN bullet for the crew.
I am a Combat veteran of the US Air Force. I was a flyer. I flew as an Airborne Surveillance instructor on the AWACS plane. That is our Airborne Early Warning and Control System. It’s our eyes in the sky. My job was to track the enemy and friendly aircraft and relay this to the fighter pilots and ground stations. I flew missions that we watched and protected the President’s air space while he traveled. This was when the President was George W. Bush.
I went through SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) survival school in Spokane, WA. This was one of the craziest experiences, I have ever had. We spent 10 days out in the field and then they captured us and tortured us similar to prisoners of war. In this training, one is taught to protect their country and fellow airmen above all. Take one for the team if necessary. Give up ones life for the greater good.
In Don Webb’s case, he chose the easiest scapegoat for all his mistakes. Blame the hardworking crew. The men who are breaking their backs for this stadium. The men who have worked in 120 degree weather to make this stadium. The crew that has worked weekends, holidays, the crew who has lifted and fastened every bolt to Don Webb’s orders, is who he is blaming.
Wow, apparently, Don Webb had never taken a class in leadership. As a leader you take the heat when shit hits the fan. Do not blame it on the crew who was just following your orders. It is tough to work on a project when Darth keeps demanding impossible orders.
The Review Journal and Don Webb are assuring everyone that the roof will be done by the set completion day of July 31, 2020. To this, I say, we are all keeping our fingers crossed. We want to see the Raiders make it to Vegas in 2020 and hopefully a first Super Bowl in Vegas in 2025. Maybe my old boss will finally get his wish and the Raiders will win the Super Bowl in their new stadium. Wouldn’t that be something?
Until then, Don, I think it is completely wrong and shows a weak character to not take responsibility for the mistakes that were mostly due to coverups from lies in the first place. Honesty, is the only way to complete the stadium. A house built on lies has a weak foundation. Let’s make sure the Raiders Stadium is built on honesty and a solid foundation for years to come of entertainment for Sin CIty and all its visitors.
Jedi Rich is a former CEO who transformed from a banker into a modern day independent music & film maker.
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