Just when we thought the war was over, there’s still a landmine in the way.
The organization, “Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork”, also known as S.T.O.P., is petitioning to force a public vote on the March Sacramento Kings arena financing plan. To do so, they must collect 33,000 signatures from registered Sacramento voters in less than a month to qualify for a 2013 special election.
Good luck with that.
The signature drive has stalled to a point where its members have decided to wear Kings gear (to show support for the team they want relocated apparently).
What’s the deal with these guys?
Well according to S.T.O.P.’s website, the group wants a privately funded arena as opposed to a public-private plan, which most folks can agree with.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world operates. U.S. cities who play hardball with sports team owners over public subsidies will always watch them pack their bags for a less frugal town (see: history). It’s a crooked system, but it’s what had to be used to keep a popular draw like the Kings from Seattle.
Sacramento’s 2006 public vote for an arena deal (which would have raised the local sales tax by a quarter cent) failed miserably by a four-to-one margin, so it’s clear what S.T.O.P.’s hopes are with a vote, and not the “defense of liberty” spiel they try to cast on their efforts.
The people do deserve a say in such matters, but if an issue were outstanding enough, there would be easily more than 33,000 signatures.
Besides American voters don’t always recognize what’s best for themselves anyhow. In 2008 the now-unconstitutional Proposition 8 was a California voter-triumph (along with a $69 billion high-speed rail tab). If you held a popular vote in Georgia in 1864 or 1956 to end slavery or segregation respectively, it wouldn’t pass. Believe it or not, sometimes politicians know best.
Kevin Johnson, the Sacramento-born mayor, understands the importance of investments in downtown to revitalize the once-vibrant community. Kings games (along with non-NBA events) at a state-of-the-art facility will surely draw in large crowds and their money, which in turn leads to business growth through the surrounding blocks. It’s sports franchise economics 101 (though priorities and profitability for the city are another story).
So please stop, S.T.O.P. (Pun intended.) Your organization (which is primarily funded by Southern California residents) holds a clear grudge against local professional basketball. Now is not the time to fight higher powers while Sacramento seeks to jumpstart a stagnating region.