SBD/April 5, 2013/Facilities

Voter Referendum Could Be Hurdle For Sacramento To Clear In Bid To Keep Kings

One of the "potential obstacles" standing in the way of the NBA Kings getting a new arena in Sacramento that will be examined by the league is "the ongoing threat by project opponents to place the issue before the voters," according to Lillis, Kasler & Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Sacramento attorneys Patrick Soluri and Jeffrey Anderson and a group of community activists have "threatened to collect signatures and force a referendum on the City Council's approval of a public subsidy for the arena." Qualifying a referendum for the ballot is "an expensive task." Sacramento's City Clerk's Office indicated that a group seeking to "reverse a council vote would need to collect a minimum of 22,000 signatures from registered city voters -- plus a buffer of at least another 10,000." The city that has the "more solid arena plan" between Sacramento and Seattle is what the "final stretch of the Kings saga will likely come down to." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson claimed the city's arena project "will be a model" for other cities. Seattle's plan is "further along in the process." Sacramento's nonbinding term sheet, which stipulates the city would contribute $145M out of a $490M plan, "calls for the arena to open in the fall of 2016." Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said that it is "clear the NBA is concerned about the facility opening on time." Dangberg: "It's going to come down to what could stand in the way of deliverability. I feel very confident about our ability to deliver." He added that the city is "waiting until the NBA decides the Kings' fate before plowing ahead with environmental site reviews," but it is "likely to begin early paperwork without waiting for the NBA" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/5).

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NBA, Sacramento Kings, Facilities

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