Arena Debate 3: Come clean

By R.E. Graswich

This time, it’s all about truth and consequences.

The third Sacramento arena debate between John Hyde and I will focus on three key issues:

Did STOP ever stop to consider what would happen if the Kings were driven away by a whimsical initiative process?

Has the city fallen into the extortion trap sprung by so many other pro teams in other communities?

Are funding decisions really best left to a June election process that in recent years has drawn only about 35 percent turnout?

The debate, moderated by former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness, will tackle these issues with honesty and candor. If you attended the first two debates, you know we don’t play games.

The event runs 7 to 8 p.m. at Belle Cooledge Library, 5600 South Land Park Drive. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

I can’t overstate the honesty and candor components. The worst and most dangerous part of the Sacramento arena discussion has been the lack of both honesty and candor.

It began with hedge fund manager Chris Hansen secretly and illegally funding STOP to help his chances of stealing the Kings for Seattle. It continued when Southern California anti-labor operatives jumped on STOP’s bandwagon for selfish interests.

This past week, we had the spectacle of Sacramento City Councilman Kevin McCarty using STOP to promote his political career.

Working with political allies, McCarty spread the rumor that the city had secretly “sweetened” the terms for the Kings in the prospective arena alliance.

When he was finally deposed under oath, McCarty admitted there were no secrets or sweeteners. McCarty had to confess that the term “sweetener” was his own.

It was all an invention to make McCarty sound like the guardian of the public trust.

The McCarty manipulations exemplify what STOP has become – an opportunity to co-opt a passionate issue for selfish interests.

Let me close by giving credit to my worthy adversary John Hyde. He worked for STOP and dropped them as a client, yet remains honest about his position on the initiative process and arena.

At the debate next Tuesday night, you might just be looking at the last two guys in Sacramento who fight because they really believe what they are saying.

Posted in Arena, Sacramento, Sacramento Kings
One comment on “Arena Debate 3: Come clean
  1. joe carroll says:

    R.E.: I am a huge proponent of the arena downtown. However, when is someone on the pro-arena side going to address the clear hypocrisy related to City of Sacramento funding the arena. During the Governor Brown’s first term, he eliminated redevelopment money which was used by many developers who would develop property in certain area of the city which would in part be subsidized by the government (lower loan terms, etc.). The redevelopment program had global appeal because in exchange for being able to use the redevelopment program (good loan terms, etc.), the developer had to keep a certain percentage of the units (or all the units) for low income tenants. The public benefit is obvious because then poor people get a chance to have a nice place to live.

    With the elimination of redevelopment money by the State of California, now the only developers which get a helping hand from the government are NBA owners who want a new arena. Although I do not fault the City of Sacramento (because in order to keep the Kings, the City of Sacramento must agree to subsidize the building of a new arena or else the NBA will move the team), it is important to point out that the only public subsidy/redevelopment money left now goes to owners of a professional basketball team. Although the City and Kings justify the subsidy by supposed new jobs and tax dollars created, unlike the redevelopment example I highlighted above (in which we know with certainty a percentage of low income people will be required to occupy the apartment complex receiving the government subsidy), we only have speculative projections in regards to the arena.

    A very tough situation for the City of Sacramento and its taxpayer’s because if no subsidy is provided by the City of Sacramento, the Kings will move after 2016 to a new location.

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R.E. Graswich