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Katy Grimes

Sacramento Mayor KJ: $8M Art Piece For Publicly Subsidized Arena a ‘Good Investment’

UPDATED: March 13, 2015 to include a photo of the $8 million piece of art from a Sacramento city staff report – a public record.

While this may appear to be a local news story from the wayward Sacramento City Council, it is an example of callous, tone-deaf local government, and symptomatic of state government.

As the Sacramento City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday evening to approve a public contract with a New York artist for an $8 million piece of art, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson called it “a good investment for our community.”

High-end art is one of the most manipulated markets in the world. But that didn’t stop the Sacramento Mayor: “This guy is world renowned, he is one of the most amazing artists ever,” Mayor Johnson said of artist Jeff Koons, explaining that this art purchase will really put Sacramento on the map as “a world-class city.”

In one of the most ludicrous statements I’ve ever heard from an elected official, this is what politics has become. The deal was done before the deal was done,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Local ‘Thought Leaders’ Bamboozle Sac GOP on Measure L

I arrived home from a weekend away, lateSunday afternoon, to a robo-call phone message from the Sacramento County Republican Party Chairmantouting Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “Strong Mayor,” Executive Mayor initiative. In the message, the Chairman told Republicans to vote “yes” on “Measure L.”

I was floored. Someone made a bargain with the devil.

Measure Lproposes the mayor as chief executive, responsible for the budget proposal, who chooses a city manager, and no longer will have a voting position on the city council.

Johnson, a Democrat, has modified the Executive Mayor plan four times since 2009, each rejected by citizens or voters. The idea of a strong mayor has some merit in some cities, but it is Johnson as the Strong Mayor that most people object to, as well as possible future liberal, elitist mayors. Johnson’s time as Mayor is not what he promised. He has instead spent his political capital on professional sports arenas and personal power, style over substance.

Johnson wants a “world class” arena because he is embarrassed by cowtown Sacramento, and wants… Read More

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

The quiet Arena lawsuit moves forward

Last week a judge ruled against the lawsuit to place the proposed public subsidy for the new basketballarena before Sacramento voters.

Local media heralded the decision.

But there is another Sacramento arena lawsuit taking place in Sacramento Superior Court. I’ve attended the court proceedings. And I’ve written about it.

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, which lost its NBA team to Oklahoma City in 2008. Plaintiffs’ attorney Patrick Soluri said city officials have committed fraud because they have not fully informed the City Council and the public about details of the deal.

The city subsidy, according to the lawsuit, is actually $338 million — not the $258 million the city claims.

Most other media seem to be ignoring it, or incorrectly reporting the importance of the lawsuit, and allegations of fraud by city officials, and illegal gift of public funds.

This is serious. It’s not about being Kings arena deniers, as… 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

Sacto arena deal violates public policy and public trust

The dubious arena deal in Sacramento has strange bedfellows aligning. The lack of public debate, the fishy numbers put out by the city, and the deceit about the growing public subsidy has angered many voters. Now legislation by Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento would let the stadium developers avoid a real environmental impact review in order to forge ahead without public debate.

But it gets even uglier. I have written extensively about this bad “public-private deal” — a bureaucratic expression which should always generate skepticism.

The Steinberg bill, which will be formally introduced today, would allow the city to bypass addressing real traffic impacts in its Environmental Impact Report on the arena project. According to several analysts I’ve spoken with, the bill… Read More