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Arena Is a Go

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

There was no mistaking the importance of the vote.  Five hundred people filled every available seat in the council chambers and three overflow rooms.  Kings owner Gavin Maloof was there.   

Kim Sloan and John Berger were in the minority as they made the case against. 

SLOAN: "Wake up, people, this isn't ok.  $243 million?  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how many lives that could be saving out on the streets?"

BERGER: "Our community is like an orchestra.  You are the conductors. You set the tone.  You may be letting the tubas dominate.  Please remind them they need the rest of the orchestra."

Robert Dugan spoke in support.  

DUGAN:  "It'll strengthen the core -the best thing you can to do to fix your budget and take care of those kids out there in our neighborhoods that need help in each one of your districts.  And make sure we have the Revenue to run this city strong and the rest of the region will benefit."

Mike Barnbaum sang his piece.

BARNBAUM:   "Nothing's going to stop us…nothing's going to stop us (supporters join in chorus) nowwww."
In the end, it was the council's turn to speak…the seventh and final aye vote belonged to an exultant Mayor Kevin Johnson.

GODEAL 1E:  10 "Darrell Fong.  Yes.  Bonnie Pannell. Aye.  And, Mayor Johnson.  Yes!"

Johnson said the vote was the council's chance to be on "the right side of history."

Councilman Steve Cohn said the chance to put an intermodal transit hub on the doorstep of a new arena would make Sacramento the 21st century answer to New York City and Madison Square Garden.

COHN: "My heart has always been with the Kings and wanting to get an arena done.  But, until this deal, my mind wasn't."

Along with Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, Councilman Kevin McCarty voted no.  He questioned the amount the city was contributing and said Sacramento should do better than barely breaking even.

MCCARTY: "At this moment today, I don't think this is a good enough deal for the City of Sacramento."

Darrell Fong cautioned he could change his mind at any time. 

Within the next 30 days, the city will begin the process for leasing the city's parking and take the first steps towards environmental review and building design.   

The opening date has been set for September 2015.  

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