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Arena Deal Dead But Very Much Alive In Mayoral Race

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Five people are running to be Mayor of Sacramento. Even thought the arena deal with the Sacramento Kings' ownership is dead, it's still top-of-mind for the candidates as they consider ways to improve the city's economy.

Edgar Hilbert-Garcia supports leasing out the city's parking operations. But his plan would use only a small portion of that money to build an arena. 

Hilbert-Garcia: "We're still going to get the revenue we need for the parking -that is $255 million. Then $220 million can go to develop other areas of the city that we need.  We just put $35 million that is ten percent. And then, of course, we bring investors to put the $220 million that we need…the difference."

Hilbert-Garcia is the only certified write-in candidate.  He says he has interested parties waiting to invest should he become mayor.  He says economic revival also involves people buying locally.  It's a sentiment shared by Jonathan Rewers .

Rewers: "Look at our financing structures with regard to our development impact fees to spark development, which was a huge part of our local economy.  I want to develop more commercial and retail spaces because I do think there is a customer base here in the city of Sacramento.  I don't want our residents going to Elk Grove or Roseville for their goods and services."

Kevin Johnson is the incumbent.   He hasn't given up hope something can be built at the Railyards.  He says the failure of an arena so far doesn't mean the economy hasn't improved. .

Johnson:  "We also created an environment where we had 1500 new green jobs, we balanced our budget, we got rid of our structural imbalance, and we've also built up our reserves.  So, we're making good progress.."

Leonard Padilla is opposed to Mayor Johnson's efforts to use public money on an arena.

Padilla:  "When I'm mayor, I'm planning on putting him in charge of a commission to build an arena if he wants with private money, but I'm bringing Heather Fargo and Jonathan Rewers on board as my development people.  They have good interest in the city.  They have intentions of being honorable with the city money,  and I believe that we could make Sacramento a viable community for businesses to locate."

Richard Jones also opposes using public money to fund an arena. He says he'd cut costs and seek advice on reviving the city's economy if elected.   

Jones: "My plan when I get in is to perhaps have the high-salaried people in the City looked at -see if we can get those things down.  Just in general, a think tank of a lot of high-powered people to help me do it."

The June primary is next Tuesday.  

Click the image below to see each candidate's one-minute pitch for your vote.

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