Kings downtown arena report: Anti arena groups silent on city clerk’s petition findings

by Ken Gimblin

SACRAMENTO–Efforts to reach representatives of the two anti downtown arena groups Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork or STOP and Voters for a Fair Arena Deal were fruitless on Friday as Sacramento City Clerk Shirley Concolino said that the Sacramento Registrar’s office had kicked out more than 6,700 petitions that allow the voter to decide if public subsidies should be used to pay for any new sports or entertainment facilities in Sacramento.

According to Concolino on Friday the 6700 petitions in question were flawed that there were nine different versions of the petition, the petitions had wording that were different and non consistant with voter guidelines, the petitions also left out legal language pertaining to the subsidy issue and other specific issues that must be included for the petition to have been able to move forward.

Concolino said of the petitions that were rejected on Friday, “I’ve never seen a petition with so many flaws as this one.” The 6,700 rejected petitions spells trouble for STOP and Fair Arena as they claimed that they delivered 23,000 petitions that were all nice and tidey but now have no comment on the registrar’s decision. The petition drive was largely funded by Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen whose bid to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle was rejected by the NBA.

Hansen paid $100,000 for the campaign to have signatures question the public subsidies on the June ballot if taxpayers should foot the bill for new sports or entertainment facilities. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said that the petition effort by STOP, the Arena Deal, and Hansen was not worth the petitions it was written on saying of the drive that it was an “underhanded attempt to subvert and trick voters with misrepresentations, hidden money and misleading petition language.

STOP and Arena Deal have been critcial of the city’s plan to use $258 million in public subsidies to fund for the new arena. The Kings would pay the other part of the $450 million plus for the downtown arena. The Kings just this past week barrowed $35 million from Goldman Sachs to help purchase the Mall at downtown plaza.

The current owners from San Francisco JM a base development firm sold the mall to the Kings, the deal would give the Kings most of the downtown plaza property. The Kings are trying to get the Macy’s building near the Holiday Inn by eminent domain. The latest on that is CalPERS who owns the property is a willing partner and would sell their share. U.S.Bank who owns the other share is challenging the Kings and the City on eminent domain because the offer from the city and Kings is far below market value.

Ken Gimblin is covering the arena developments for the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors for Sportstalk radio

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