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Sacramento opts for special election

2004 July 23
by Skip Sauer

The stadium/development proposal centered on the Sacramento Kings will be put to a vote in a special election next March. The city powers are dodging November’s general election, thereby putting the fate of the initiative in the hands of voters who are especially concerned about the arena issue.  Special interests, anyone?

Meanwhile, Marcos Breton, a columnist at the Sacramento Bee, is none too pleased with the city council.  He deserves some credit – pointing out that the “we may be leaving card” of the Kings was likely to be played, a day before the council’s decision. And there it is, right at the top of today’s story on the vote:

Facing the prospect that the Sacramento Kings could leave the city if a new arena is not built, the City Council signaled early this morning they will ask voters to weigh in on the issue in a March special election.

Many council members felt there were too few specifics known at this time — including site, costs and funding plan – to put a vote on the November ballot. But they said quick action was necessary.

“The Kings are a civic asset and I’m not ready to risk losing them,” said City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy.

Sheedy said she and Councilman Steve Cohn spoke this week to NBA Commissioner David Stern. They were told that if the city did not approve a ballot question or move forward with the issue, they could lose the Kings.

I wonder how that lawsuit in Cincinnatti – where Hamilton County is suing the NFL for playing exactly this game – will turn out. Good luck to them. It’s not much of a stretch to cast the owners of our pro sports teams as bandits robbing the public purse. They’ve taken in billions in the past decade.

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