IRVINE ( — A California State Assembly candidate is calling for a blue-ribbon committee to help lure the troubled Los Angeles Clippers franchise to Orange County.

Karina Onofre, who is running for the 74th Assembly District seat, announced Monday she wants to assemble local business owners, religious and community leaders, and public officials to come up with a “proposal to straight-out invite the Clippers to come to Orange County.”

The NBA issued a lifetime ban and fined Clippers owner Donald Sterling $2.5 million in response to racially-charged comments he made on an audiotape released last week.

But the team’s future is still up in the air after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver set up an advisory committee to move forward with an attempted ouster of Sterling in a vote that is expected to be potentially unanimous.

Onofre, an Orange County business owner and Democratic candidate, said the Clippers stand to benefit greatly from support from some of the region’s wealthiest cities in the 74th District, which includes Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, and east Huntington Beach.

“The OC has so much to offer the Clippers…our beautiful neighborhoods, sandy beaches, strong business environment, competitive schools and established major league teams,” she said. “We must show the Clippers the power of second chances.”

The Great Park in Irvine has been named as a potential location, but Onofre offered no specifics on how the Park would accommodate the team.

It wasn’t immediately clear what incentives would be offered to the Clippers for moving from their current home, which they share with their crosstown rivals, the LA Lakers.

Onofre is among five candidates vying to replace Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), who is vacating his seat after two terms to run for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors later this year.


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