Kings arena: anti arena group to ally with non-union contractors

by Ken Gimblin

SACRAMENTO–The new ownership of the Sacramento Kings might have to dig in at the ballot box politically this coming June as a anti arena group has geared up to oppose the new arena proposal. The new group Voters for a Fair Arena Deal will not be working with Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed To Pork or STOP. Non-union contractors who appeared at one of the Kings rallies at the Westfield mall the site of the proposed new Kings arena are joining the protest against the new arena and plan to support VFAD.

The non-union contractors are upset that they were not included in any process of the new arena build, the new arena is expected to be built by only union labor.VFAD is separating itself from the better known group STOP due to questionable petition gathering by STOP and how signatures were gathered by STOP were in question. Also STOP’s involvement with Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen who paid $50,000 to have signatures gathered by STOP. Hansen who lost his bid to move the Kings to Seattle might have been seeking a way to stop the Kings from building a new arena in Sacramento if it were put to a vote regarding public funding.

Hansen later said he had nothing to do with paying the $50,000 for the signature gathering after receiving heavy criticism by city and NBA officials behind closed doors sources say to put a ballot measure to have any new public funding for any new sports facilities built in Sacramento to be voter approved first.

The public’s share of subsidizing the new Kings arena downtown is around $258 million. Hansen later backtracked after realizing he might have damaged his chances to buy, build a new arena, and own an NBA team in Seattle. VFAD is going forward with the petition campaign saying they want the public funds policed for new sports facilities which should be voted on by the Sacramento voters.

The non-union contractors who will not be involved in any of the construction work are willing to contribute to the ballot measure effort by donating $15,000-$25,000. VFAD will not be joining STOP to work in concert with getting the measure on the ballot distancing themselves from STOP because of what is considered questionable campaigning in obtaining the petition signatures and their involvement with Hansen.

Community activist Craig Powell from the group Eye on Sacramento said, “we are not opposed to the new arena, we are not opposed to the public subsidy for an arena. What we are in favor for is a subsidy we can afford.” Craig has said that the price tag of $258 million in public subsidies is too much and will do damage to the city budget.

Ken Gimblin is covering the Sacramento Kings for Sportstalk with game day reporters Tony Renteria and Charlie O

Kings arena: public subsidy losing support as voters want to withdraw signatures

by Ken Gimblin
SACRAMENTO–The anti Sacramento arena group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed To Pork or STOP have admitted that of the over 22,000 signatures to put a ballot measure asking voters should the city use public subsidies for any new sports facilities and this would include the new Kings arena project at the cost of $258 million are not sure of those signatures whose are legitimate.
Stop’s spokesman John Hyde said of the signatures, “we really have no idea who these people are” and admitted that some of the forms that STOP had signed might have been submitted by people who never signed STOP’s petition in the first place. If it turns out to be so this will further damage STOP’s credibility as they were involved with Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen who lost his bid to buy and move the Kings out of Sacramento to Seattle and now there’s questions as to the signatures of the petitions that their holding.
Hansen was fined for missing the registration deadline of filing the petitions for the ballot measure and had to pay a $50,000 fine to the department of elections. Hansen has since disavowed his involvement with the petition campaign despite sources saying Hansen had paid a Los Angeles law firm Loeb and Loeb to organize and represent the campaign.
Upon learning of Hansen’s dealings voters who signed the petition are now moving to have their names removed from the forms according the Joshua Wood of DowntownArena.org. Withdraw forms were submitted to the city clerk’s office. The city clerk is going through some 1,500 signatures to see if they are valid if proven to be valid it would increase the withdraw volume up to 3,100.
Wood said that the great number of withdraws are unprecedented and that it’s a reflection of Hansen’s involvement with the signature campaign and then backing out and saying he wasn’t a part of it and apologizing for being involved in the campaign. Hansen thought the better of it after the NBA said they were not please with his actions and that his credibility with the league was near shot over this in any future bid to get an NBA team.
The city council agreed to a subsidy on public funds back in March by barrowing off any future sales tax that will pay back the public funds from arena parking and city public parking, also from ticket and concession sales made at the new downtown arena.
Ken Gimblin is covering the Sacramento Kings with Charlie O and Tony Renteria for Sportstalk radio