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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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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

Friday Insanity Wrap Up – Latitudinarian and Far-Fetched News

Should women in the workplace receive paid menstruation leave?

HuffPost Live held a discussion about an actual current topic in employment entitlements: whether women deserve paid “menstrual leave.”

“Do women deserve paid ‘menstrual leave’ for the days when cramps, irritability or more complicated issues like endometriosis distract from the day’s tasks?” HuffPost Live asked. “Menstrual leave is a part of the employee experience in several Asian countries, prompting think pieces on the topic fromTheRead More

Katy Grimes

Media army of fools in Sacto arena deal

Nearly every member of the media in Sacramento is openly advocating for a new basketball arena to be built in downtown. And they are supportive of a massive public subsidy to offset the cost for the owners of the Sacramento Kings. Besides gross incompetence, this is also willful negligence.

A group of citizens and taxpayers known as STOP (Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork), and Voters for a Fair Arena Deal, are fighting the public subsidy of the proposed new arena. According to the lawsuit filed bySTOP, the city subsidy is actually $338 million — not the $258 million the city claims.

STOP has tried to get the details of the arena deal and purchase of the Sacramento Kings to be made public.

Beyond the legal challenge to the city’s… 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

Kevin Dayton

Regional Sports and Entertainment Facilities in the Urban Core Attract Costly Political Meddling: Sacramento Kings as a Case Study

Any fiscal conservative who joins a bipartisan coalition to advance a common cause needs to be wary about becoming one of the Left’s “useful idiots.” A classic example is now unfolding in Sacramento, where sports fans and corporate interests are clamoring for exceptional efforts – including a $258 million public subsidy – to retain the region’s one major league professional sports team, the Kings of the National Basketball Association.

Emotionalism and financial self-interest are overwhelming critical thinking about mundane issues such as opportunity costs, municipal debt finance, property rights, regional transportation planning, and the role of government in redistributing capital. And the selected location for the new arena was a strategic error that may send the Kings packing to more lucrative pastures.

Either by design or by default, the new arena is planned for downtown Sacramento, rather than a suburban site or even next to the current arena. As a result, the arena and anticipated development around the arena are being subjected to costly political meddling, led by downtown’s State Senator Darrell Steinberg and his political… Read More

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