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Kings Arena Update: Critical Sac City Council meeting postponed at last minute

Jan 25, 2012, 8:45 AM EDT


It’s been a while since we checked into the Sacramento Kings’ arena situation, which almost faced another crucial moment on Tuesday when the Sac City Council meeting was set to turn into a shootout at the Cowbell Corral.

On one side, arena opponent and council member Sandy Sheedy was ready to force debate on whether or not the city should hold a public vote on the issue in June. On the other side sits a city council that I’ve profiled in the past as being receptive toward approving the approximate $400 million Entertainment and Sports Complex. Only one other council member, Darrell Fong, has joined Sheedy in voting against a handful of critical procedural issues so far. If a new arena deal is not finalized by March 1, the NBA and Maloofs are going to move the Kings to Anaheim.

By the way the city charter in Sacramento is set up, the elected representatives of the city council are supposed to vote on matters like these. Sheedy wants to depart from that history and bring the vote to the public, knowing full well that a vote in June would be pointless because the Kings would already be gone.

Why is she anti-arena?  It’s certainly not to save money for the city or to stand for economic principals. Sheedy is widely believed to be seeking political revenge against Kevin Johnson after she supported his run for mayor, but did not get a seat in his inner circle. Her seat is also up for grabs in the next council election, and with her district in economic chaos many of the city insiders I have spoken with don’t like her chances to repeat. This is her Hail Mary attempt at taking a position that is different from the pro-arena stance of her challengers, while trying to capitalize on an anti-arena sentiment that may or may not exist. It’s a gamble, but it’s also Sacramento politics at its finest.

More importantly to the reporting of whether or not it will be the Sacramento Kings or Anaheim Royals, Tuesday was going to force city council members to speak on the record about the arena once again. Specifically, they would have to either support or defend Sheedy’s obstructionist play. And just like the past meetings where council members were mostly transparent about their goals, we were going to get a real good read on where folks stood.

That is, until Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee reported that Sheedy called a timeout.

Apparently known arena proponent and councilman Rob Fong couldn’t make Tuesday’s meeting and Sheedy wanted the entire council to be present. Maybe this is a simple coincidence, but with the clock ticking it also wouldn’t be surprising if the absence is related to her opposition. If we’re going down that road, it won’t be surprising to see her gain something in relation to the arena issue as well as her campaign, with the delay setting the stage for her to gracefully back off.

Then again, maybe Fong had business to attend to and Sheedy is going to both reschedule and show up dressed as a purple Grinch.

Either way, we’ll find out soon if Sacramento has the money and votes to pull off one of the bigger saves in modern civic history.

  1. echech88 - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    I think it would be great for Sacramento if the new arena kept the team in town, but let’s not pretend the arena will radically change much in terms of Wins and Losses. If the best arena in the league isn’t going to help Dwight Howard stay in Orlando (where there is no income tax); a nicer arena isn’t going to make Sacramento much more desirable for marquee players.

    The problems the Kings have faced the majority of their time in Sacramento will remain: unattractive location for players, weak front office and a dwindling local business presence to buy up ads and suites because of how anti-business the state is becoming.

    • suckafree67 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      @ echech88
      I agree, but also taking the team out of Sac will hurt the struggling economy there then if they held onto the team.
      Not only will it be home to the Kings, but other events would come in. NCAA tourney was at ARCO a few years back. So any other big time event will pump money into the local area. Unfortunatley, as always, it always involves politics. It should be about creating jobs, not who likes who or who will win votes in the later years…

    • tedlinko - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:06 AM

      Don’t agree with the weak front office comment. Geoff Petrie is widely recognized around the league as one of the best GMs out there.

      Weak ownership is more like it. Broke and incompetent.

      Sacramento isn’t a high profile location for attracting marquee players. but .Oklahoma City isn’t exactly NEw York or LA either and they’re doing pretty well. It has more to do with drafting well and trading well and adding an occasional quality free agent.

      It was about a decade ago but the aforementioned Geoff Petrie built one of the marquee teams in the NBA – yes right here in Sacramento.

      a new arena isn’t going to suddenly make players want to come here – though it would help. But the idea is that, in combination with the new CBA, it will put small market teams on better financial footing vis a vis the large market clubs.

  2. donttazemebro - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    I’m convinced the Maloofs are moving them to Anaheim next year and watch,there will be something that will mysteriously emerge which will kill the arena deal.Behind the seconds you know they are working against Sacramento.Moving to SoCal is too lucrative to pass up.And if it isn’t the Kings the Hornets will fly that way soon.

  3. tedlinko - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    By the way, not to burst a whole in your Sandy Sheedy conspiracy theory, but whatever her reasons, they have nothing to do with positioning her for re-election. The reason i know this is that she just recently announced that she wasn’t running. If you were half the investigative reporter you seem to want to portray yourself as, you would have known that. It was on the front page of the Sacramento Bee the other day.

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