Pols Build Arena While Sacto Burns

by CalWatchdog Staff | March 7, 2012 9:11 am

Katy Grimes: Sacramento’c City Council approved the arena financing plan last night, 7-2, supporting Mayor Kevin Johnson for the first time since his 2008 election.

But this arena deal wasn’t exactly the smartest issue in which to support Johnson.


Sacramento needs a $391 million arena like it needs another new strip mall or shoddy housing development. The city is operating a $60 million deficit, parks are closing or disintegrating, police officers laid off, streets are potholed, and it needs a new sewer system.

Sacramento hasn’t even capitalized on its unique characteristics. Sitting on two rivers, one would have thought that development along those beautiful waterways would have been a priority. Instead, we have homeless camps along the rivers.

That the city is already the biggest slumlord in downtown seems to be a fact ignored by the council members, who must be suffering under illusions of grandeur – the “World Class City” theme continues to dance in their heads like visions of sugarplums.

These small-town yahoos think another new sports arena will propel Sacramento into big-time status. Wouldn’t the Sacramento Kings already have done that after 25 years of being Sacramento’s NBA team?

After the council voted to support the financing deal, the brilliance that came from council members was stupendous: “You have to be optimistic to make this kind of investment,” said Councilman Steve Cohn … No. You’d have to be myopic and obtuse.

“The arena deal is the largest financial transaction in the city in years…” councilman Kevin McCarty said. “We are the most broke city in the region.”

In a rare moment, I found myself in agreement with McCarty. He was one of the “no” votes.

The council asked favored local developer David Taylor if he would cover any cost overruns on the arena deal – of course Taylor said he would. Yeah right. And I have some swamp land to sell city…

“The City needs to think of ourselves as venture capitalists and do this arena deal” said councilman Rob Fong. It’s always easy to spend other people’s money and look like a big guy.

The only sanity in the room was Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, the other “no” vote. “Why are city taxpayers paying for county parks when our own are deteriorating and volunteers are maintaining them?” asked Sheedy.

The dumbest, pandering award goes to Councilwoman Angelique Ashby who used her opportunity to question the deal, and instead complimented city staff and the arena supporters on the work they had done. Ashby totally ignored that a majority of residents are furious that the city is spending any money on this arena debacle.

The Mayor described last night as “the finest moment in Sacramento.”

Coming from a local boy, I am appalled that our Mayor thinks that it takes a sports arena to make Sacramento worthy.

MAR. 7, 2012


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