Did he -- Kevin Johnson, ex-NBA star and current mayor of Sacramento -- really flunk the test? Unfortunately, I think he did. USAToday.com records his answers to a series of questions regarding the plans for financing Sacramento's new arena. First:
So what are we going to see from you Thursday when you deliver your report?
We're going to release a report that shows a menu of options on the public financing side. We looked at 30 different things. We're narrowing it down to 10 or nine or eight.
We've done our due diligence with experts looking at it. We're programming with the Maloofs, the NBA, all the interested parties.
Oh dear, KJ. Your "rules of the game" stated that taxpayers come first. But your answer here doesn't even mention them, and puts the owners and the NBA befire other "interested parties." I can only presume that your statement here is accurate. This is not unexpected, but coming right on the heels of the David Aldridge piece, it's quite disappointing. I sensed that the Aldridge piece might be part of a campaign -- see the reference to Thursday's upcoming report -- and though I admit it was impressive, I think I was fooled.
Do you have a ballpark figure of how much will be publicly financed through user fees vs. the private sector?
You've got to identify how much public financing you can get on one hand and then see what makes sense for a private equity investment,so folks get a return on their investment. If there's a gap, you have to problem-solve the difference. There's no way it can all happen privately. There's no way it can all happen publicly. Whether the split is 50/50, it's too premature (to say) of those things.
That's the worst part. KJ is not working for his citizens, he's working for the league, stating that first, you've "got to identify how much public financing you can get." He's maximizing the subsidy to the Maloofs and the NBA.
I was fooled, shame on me. But greater shame on Kevin Johnson, former NBA star, but currently the elected mayor of Sacramento. What a grotesque statement of his priorities.
For public choice afficiandos, this is the reverse of the standard "revolving door," where former governmet officials cash in by moving to the private sector and collecting favors from the bureaucracy. You might think a multi-millionaire ex-NBA player would be immune to these pressures, but guess again.