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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Sacramento Arena Deal About Power and Politics

This is Part ll; Part lSacramento Arena Deal Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over

Sacramento has spent 13 years trying to build a publicly funded sports arena, with Mayor Kevin Johnson and Sacramento Sen. Darrell Steinberg involved every step of the way. Called arich-people’s playpen,local citizens will be forced to pay an hefty price for a new arena for the Kings, in order to keep them from leaving, of which the Sacramento City Council voted 7-2, to pay two-thirds of the cost.

The arena has been pushed Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star. But many say he acts as he was elected mayor of the Sacramento Kings.

Lawsuits galore

While the other lawsuits against the city hit bumps in the road over the arena scheme, a taxpayers’ case against the city will go forward.

The reason this story is front and center in Sacramento, is because Johnson has Measure L on the November ballot.

“The Checks and Balances ActRead More

Katy Grimes

Sacramento Arena Deal Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” Lenny Kravitz crooned in the 1990’s. And so goes Sacramento’s publicly subsidized arena deal.

The group of 12 citizens who sued the city under the California Environmental Quality Act, were handed another disappointment last week. Judge Timothy Frawley Friday rejected a pair of environmental lawsuits filed by the citizens over the Sacramento Kings’ new downtown arena.

However, an appeal may keep the environmental issues alive.

The group, led by retired Caltrans director Adriana GianturcoSaltonstall, had filed a notice of appeal seeking to overturn a judge’s refusal to grant an injunction halting construction of the planned Kings arena.

Gianturco wasthen-new-Gov. Jerry Brown’s1976 pick for director of the California Department of Transportation, often referred to as “Our Lady of the Diamond… Read More

Katy Grimes

Arena Derangement Syndrome Update: Whining About Legal Costs

The Sacramento arena deal has prompted questions over the lack of public debate about key details, dubious financial numbers from the city and the public subsidy the project requires. And, last-minute legislation last year by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is allowing the arena’s construction proceed without a credible environmental impact review.

Last week, the city of Sacramento announced it expects to spend up to $750,000 to defend a lawsuit related to the planned downtown arena. The lawsuit accuses city officials of making a secret deal to provide an extra $80 million of public money to help the investors’ group beef up its offer against a well-funded Seattle group that wanted to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle.

I have… Read More

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

What would C.C. Meyers do to solve Bay Bridge debacle?

The Caltrans Bay Bridge debacle is worse than just a case of embarrassment for government infrastructure projects. The bridge is unsafe, according to engineering experts across the country, after the discovery that a third of the of the 96 massive, high-strength steel rods, installed for seismic safety, cracked under pressure when the nuts affixed to the rods were tightened.

Under construction for more than a decade, the Bay Bridge project has not only taken much longer to build than planned, but cost overruns have escalated the total cost to build it to a whopping $6.4 billion. And that’s not the half of it.

According to CBS San Francisco, retired Bechtel metallurgist Yun Chung recently prepared an unsolicited 32-page report stating that Caltrans engineers “were ignorant to the threat of hydrogen embrittlement — a process in which high strength metals, such as steel, become… Read More

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