Kings get charity from companies

I gave SureWest Communications my business this year. After years of procrastination and endless pitches from telecommunications companies,  I finally sat down and tried to make sense of  all those offers about bundling television, Internet and phone services.

At the beginning of the year, I was getting satellite television from DirecTV, high-speed Internet  from Comcast and landline phone service from AT&T. I was satisfied with the companies, although the overall cost of $190 a month was dispiriting. The bundling offers promised significant savings, but comparing the offers to what I had and reading all the fine print was daunting. I spent a solid day on the project.

 I decided to go with SureWest, an expanding telecommunications company that started in nearby Roseville as the Roseville Telephone Co. I estimated I would save more than $400 the first year and about $30 a month in subsequent years by bundling. With the anticipated savings,  I decided to buy a new 32-inch high-definition television to replace my outmoded 12-year-old TV. The change-over was completed two months ago. The combined services are working fine. I do feel a little guilty putting out so much money for television and high-speed Internet service, but hey, I save 20 cents a week by taking my own shopping bags to Raley’s.

I do, however, have one gripe about SureWest: It is going to give away money it takes from me – a middle-class retiree — to subsidize a team of million-dollar basketball players in a billion-dollar league that doesn’t believe in equitably sharing revenue and demands that local taxpayers subsidize new arenas.

SureWest is one of the corporations that this week agreed to put down deposits on $10 million worth of sponsorships and ticket sales to help keep the Kings in Sacramento next year. Mayor Kevin Johnson trotted out the companies to show the NBA that there’s enough local financial support to justify blocking a move to Anaheim.

“The NBA has said to Sacramento, ‘Show me the money,’ and today, we’re doing just that,” Johnson bragged at a news conference Tuesday.

It’s pathetic that the mayor of Sacramento has to act like a kid showing his piggy bank to big daddy and that local companies are so willing to take money from their customers and give it to the rich. Surely they must know we live in an area with one of the highest rates of unemployment and home foreclosures in the nation. Surely Sutter Health and Western Health Advantage, two other companies on the mayor’s list,  know that health-care costs are squeezing local folks, yet they seem to have money to dole out to the Kings.

Perhaps local companies feel pressured to play ball with the mayor comes calling. Or perhaps they think they’re being good corporate citizens by showing support for the local team while getting some advertising. I think companies would get better PR by cutting their fees and donating money and services to local schools, food banks and employment services.

C’mon, SureWest, quit using my money as charity to the Kings and the NBA.

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