Let us breathe a sigh of relief that the city of Sacramento didn’t have enough cash to satisfy the big-time ambitions, self-interest, vanity and greed of the parties involved in pushing a new Kings arena.
Let us give thanks that the train racing toward a financial wreck has been stopped for the time being.
Let us give thanks that the children of Sacramento might not have their educational future mortgaged to a playground for millionaires.
Let us hope that we can begin to think realistically about building a stable local economy that will reduce unemployment and homelessness, increase social services and return our parks to decent condition.
And let us remember that the devil has a thousand disguises.
I was surprised that the Maloofs and the NBA wouldn’t settle for a donation of $255 million from the taxpayers of Sacramento.
I wasn’t surprised that NBA Commissioner David Stern washed his hands of the “deal that really wasn’t.” This is a man who has presided over a 30-fold increase in NBA revenue since he took over in 1984. He represents the owners and their financial interests, not good old River City.
I was surprised that it fell to the Maloofs to provide the economist who knocked down the city’s house-of-cards funding plan and who exposed many unfunded infrastructure issues that would have fallen on the city.
I was disappointed that the Bee and other local media failed to provide this information months ago.
I was impressed that a grass-roots opposition movements arose to challenge Mayor Kevin Johnson and his City Council allies who were eager to raid the public treasury while denying residents a voice in how their money was spent.
I was disheartened that the Bee, the city’s only daily newspaper, undermined its credibility by becoming a major cheerleader for a new Kings arena. It failed on its news pages to seriously examine the issue of public funding of sports arenas, the economic projections of Think Big Sacramento and the experiences of midsized cities that played the stadium game. Worse, it used two columnists and its editorial page to pound out pro-arena coverage while providing no in-house opposition voices. Whatever wall the paper may have between news and opinion doesn’t overcome the public perception of bias and favoritism.
In yesterday’s newspaper, we had a front-page reaction story that focused solely on Kings fans and political proponents of the arena. The first paragraph said:
The Kings return home to Power Balance Pavilion today to face a city stewing in a mix of scorn and disappointment.
Hey, about those thousands of Sacramentans who are relieved that the city didn’t plunge into a financial crisis? How about the local activists who have waging an unheralded grass-roots campaign to get a voice in how public money is spent. Why wasn’t there even a one-sentence quote from STOP, a group pushing an anti-arena ballot initiative?
Maybe soon, the Maloof bashing will stop. No matter how unintended, the Maloofs did the city a favor by pursuing their own financial gain and exposing the fact that Sacramento couldn’t satisfy their appetite for more, more, more.