By R.E. Graswich
Money is the most important part of getting a new arena built in downtown Sacramento. The story of that money is the second most important part.
The Kings, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Mayor Kevin Johnson have worked hard to find the money.
And they’ve been smart about telling the story – controlling the narrative that explains why we need to invest in an entertainment and sports complex.
But narratives change. Stories can be undercut and manipulated. And that’s what is happening with the arena.
I refer to the new narrative about the city’s eagerness to “steal” the public’s right to vote on taxpayer contributions for the arena.
If you haven’t heard about “stealing the election,” you will.
The “stolen election” is the battle cry of the radical Flat Earth Society that’s trying to kill the arena.
Some background: The city is fast-tracking its process to sell bonds to fund part of the arena. There are excellent reasons to enter the bond market quickly – notably the fact that the price of borrowed money (that’s what bonds are) is rising.
The faster the city sells its bonds, the better its interest rates.
But that’s not what the radicals want you to know. They claim the fast track is really about making a June arena ballot measure irrelevant.
What they won’t admit is that the June measure is irrelevant no matter when the bonds are sold.
The “stolen election” complaint is phony, designed to steal the narrative and scare voters.
The reality – by which I mean state law – is clear. Sacramento is a charter city, not a general law city. The key difference is the concept of “home rule,” which means city councils in charter cities call the shots in municipal affairs.
Don’t take my word for it. Read the California Constitution, Article 11, Section 3. Yes, city voters have supreme say over their charter. They can even throw it out. But they must follow a process.
The radical right-wing Flat Earth folks are rewriting the charter without a process – illegally.
In Sacramento, the city council has the right to sell bonds. It’s written in the charter. To remove that right requires a charter revision. And the charter can’t be revised without a public initiative put on the ballot by the city council or an elected Charter Commission.
So the “stolen election” argument doesn’t wash. It’s a diversion, a trick. It’s ultimately a lie, pushed your way by a tiny radical group that doesn’t like the way you run your city.