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Katy Grimes

Sacto City Clerk rejects petition to put arena subsidy to a public vote

In another twist in Sacramento’s arena derangement syndrome, a petition drive to put a public subsidy for the proposed Sacramento basketball arena project to a public vote, has been rejected by the Sacramento City Clerk.

Friday, the city clerk announced that she rejected the petitions, along with 34,000 signatures, on the grounds some of the petition versions did not comply with election code.

“Due to technical issues identified in the submitted petitions, I find the petition noncompliant with significant provisions of the California Elections Code and the Sacramento City Charter, and therefore insufficient to move forward,”Shirley Concolino, Sacramento City Clerk, said in a press release.

Yet, just last week,theSacramento County Registrarcertified there were enough… Read More

Katy Grimes

Arena Derangement Syndrome update: Arena lawsuit nears deposition of city officials

Opponents of the push for a heavily subsidized downtown Sacramento basketball arena are closer to forcing key city insiders to tell what they know about how much taxpayers actually will have to pay for the project.

Last week,Sacramento Superior Court Judge Eugene Balononissued a tentative ruling in the lawsuit targeting the arena deal orchestrated by Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star. It supported petitioners’ requests that they be allowed to depose Sacramento Councilman Kevin McCarty and Sacramento Economic Development Director Jim Rhinehartabout undisclosed dealings between city officials and the new Kings ownership group to help it buy the team.

The Sacramento Investor Group,led by tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Arena derangement syndrome afflicts Sacramento

Call it “arena derangement syndrome,” or ADS. It afflicts cities trying to use taxpayer money for new sports arenas or stadiums.

It’s now threatening thevalidation of 35,000 ballot initiative petition signatures that would halt the proposed subsidy of a new arena for Sacramento’s Kings basketball team.

The ADS gripping Sacramento has infiltrated most of city government, and made it all the way to the city’s top ranking officials. ADS started in the office of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former NBA star, then spread like a communicable disease through the Sacramento City Council, senior city management and city hospitality and convention agents. ADS thrives in a host of labor unions and crony capitalist business owners that would benefit from constructing the arena — and, of course, in the super fans.

ADS has divided friends and neighbors, even caused riffs in families.

In December, after the Sacramento City Clerk’s Office is done counting the petition signatures, Sacramento county elections officials said a validation process would take weeks.

The anti-public subsidy group… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacto arena bill signed, but it’s not over yet

I hate “I told ya so” moments.

Gov. Jerry Brown just signed SB 743, “easing environmental regulations for developments in California cities, including a new basketball arena in downtown Sacramento,” the Los Angeles Times said.

In March I predicted Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento would jam legislation through exempting the Sacramento Kings new arena plan from the restrictions of the California Environmental Quality Act, in order to meet a dubious deadline imposed by the NBA.

March 30, after Steinberg’s office told me he did not plan on authoring legislation to streamline or bypass the required environmental process for the proposed Sacramento NBA arena, I predicted they weren’t being straight with me.

Steinberg’s office denied any plan to do this. But the reason I wrote the story and asked about this was I knew this was the next step in scamming the public with the publicly subsidized arena.

The need to bypass California’s absurdly strict environmental guidelines and restrictions prevent most large scale projects from ever taking place without legislative intervention. And Sacramento officials shoved the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Steinberg’s “enviro reform” hidden under Sacto basketball stadium

The California Legislature ended the 2013 legislative session Thursday by passing hundreds of new bills. Most of the controversial bills were passed along party lines. However a bill from Sen. Pres. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, granting a Sacramento arena development an exemption from the state’s strict environmental laws, had plenty of help from state Republicans.

Reform or worsen?

Steinberg insists he’s only trying to reform the California Environmental Quality Act. SB 743, is a gut-and-amend bill by Steinberg is titled, “Environmental quality: transit oriented infill projects, judicial review streamlining for environmental leadership development projects, and entertainment and sports center in the City of Sacramento.”

That’s the long way of saying this is not really a CEQA reform bill. It’s a face-saving way out for Steinberg who has been awkwardly intertwined for more than 13 years with the haphazard development of a new sports arena in downtown Sacramento.

On its way to the Gov

This isn’t a one-off bill. Exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act were granted… Read More

Tab Berg

Remarks to Sacramento Press Club on Arena Subsidy

First I will correct the misrepresentation that support for a public vote and a better accounting of hundreds of millions of public dollars is somehow opposing Sacramento or an Arena. It is not.

To start, we need to understand what taxpayers are being asked to subsidize. The subsidy proponent’s talking points characterize the NBA arena as a job-creating economic engine … a phrase that polls well, but is just not true.

The evidence, the data – the science – overwhelmingly tells us arenas don’t create the jobs promised and don’t create an economic boom.

Humphries & Coats, Baade, Ford, Florida,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacramento arena: A ‘Field of Schemes’

Sacramento officials have lost all ability to reason, and instead are letting emotions and delusions of grandeur drive their decision over a downtown sports arena.

Arenas are nothing more that fields of schemes, and the joke is on taxpayers. And Sacramento is hardly a bastion of economic splendor. Despite some of the highest unemployment in the country, escalating business closures, widespread home foreclosures and short sales, and declining tax revenue, arena talks are all the rage in Sacramento.

Judith Grant Long’s data on full public cost of stadiums and arenas is groundbreaking. “Where most ‘stadium cost’ charts just rely on self-reporting by teams, Harvard researcher Long has actually attempted to calculate the public and private costs of every major-league stadium and arena in North America, including hidden subsidies like free land, lease breaks, and tax exemptions,” Field of Schemes Neil deMause wrote.

It’s as if the Mayor is so enamored of the idea of driving away from the car dealership in a new Maserati, he’s forgotten he can’t afford… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacramento jumps the shark on arena deal

Some people want something so badly, they’ll sell their souls to the devil, they’ll ignore facts, reason and important details. A case in point is Sacramento politicians, and the ongoing arena obsession.

Sacramento’s Mayor Kevin Johnson, tweeted Saturday evening he and city officials have reached a $447.7 million arena deal at the Downtown Plaza with a public-private partnership.

There’s only one problem — Sacramento can’t afford it.

Billed as “the largest redevelopment project in city history,” the project will have up to 1.5 million square feet of offices, housing, stores and a high-rise hotel.

The deal would require the city to commit “$258 million in value, or 58 percent of the arena cost,” according to the Sacramento Bee. “Of that, $212 million would come from selling bonds backed by future revenues from city downtown parking… Read More

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