Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get with it, Mayor Johnson: Step up with an arena funding plan right now

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has been basking in glory over the past week, ever since his seemingly triumphant performance in front of the NBA board of governors.

Yes, KJ put on an impressive show, they say.  And Sacramento got a two-week stay of execution.

But Anaheim is quietly regrouping and still holds a huge upper hand.

And that's why I am unsatisfied - even disappointed - with the Mayor over the last couple of days,

He seems to be playing prevent defense instead of going for the victory.  It's a silly strategy, considering the Kings are far behind and not in front.

Right now, the only thing that will save the Kings is some kind of viable funding option for a new arena.

But on that single question, the Mayor is basically punting.

When asked about a possible arena funding plan, he offers no answers.  And right about now he needs answers.  Big answers.

It's time to get creative.  To think out of the box.

Ticket surcharges.  Hotel taxes.  Call Goldman Sachs, who helped build Louisville's new arena.  Get some Burkle bonds.

C'mon, give the NBA something.

The NBA ain't staying without a shiny new box for the Kings.

And no matter how much KJ brags about the fans, the NBA will not vote against relocation if they don't see an arena plan that makes sense right now.

Some say it's impossible to come up with a plan in such a short time.

I don't.  I think creative minds in a city filled with movers and shakers can get it done.

Just letting relocation maven Clay Bennett sink his toes into the muddy expanse of nothing at the Railyards won't work.  He needs to see how the vision becomes reality on paper.  And so does the NBA.

Time to take the last shot, Mr. Mayor.

Only a few seconds left.

Don't dish it off and expect to get the ball back.


Anonymous said...

ummm... its not the mayors job to find funding for an arena. thats the Taylor/ ICON groups job. he just reports on what they say. Their feasibility study is only half complete and can't be completed until the maloofs, or perhaps another wealthy billionaire decide to cooperate with the study

Ron Wenig said...

ummmm.... it actually is the mayor's job... Taylor-Icon won't lose their team and job if they don't come up with an answer to the funding problem. Mr. KJ needs the answers right now. No time to wait for any more studies.

Bill said...

I'm not quite sure how one can say that the mayor isn't doing his job. The taxpayers have (foolishly) rebuffed ANY public assistance, the business community has, until now, brushed off the idea of helping out, the previous mayor couldn't lead a horse out of a barn (much less put together any type of arena deal), and the Maloofs have completely checked out of any talks BEFORE K.J. was mayor. It seems to me that the ONLY real work on keeping the Kings has been since K.J. became mayor. But to think that 10 years worth of failed attempts to build an arena can miraculously be rectified in a few days, that's just foolish.

PDX Kings Fan said...

Ummmm, just because you say it's the mayor's job, Ron, that doesn't mean that it's the mayor's job, Ron. Because, well, it's not the mayor's job, Ron. Everyone sees how hard the mayor's working on this. And if the Kings do leave, that's more representative of the Maloof's douchebaggery, and in my humble opinion, KJ won't lose his job. But that's only my opinion. And we know what they say about opinions, don't we Ron?

Doug Thompson said...

Here We Finance

The Kings need a modern arena in order to be competitive. Taxpayers have made it clear that they don’t want taxes to pay for it. An alternative plan could be modeled after the Green Bay Packers.

The Green Bay Packers Corporation owns the franchise. The Corporation pays no dividends, and has issued stock several times to raise capital.

Sacramento could create a public corporation that does not have an ownership interest in the Kings, but owns the “Entertainment Center”. Here’s how it could work:
• The City would form a public (non-profit) corporation and donate the land to build a sports center.
• The Corporation would issue an initial public offering of stock to build the Entertainment Center.
• The net operating income (proceeds) would be split in a negotiated ratio between the King’s ownership and the Corporation.
• Unlike the Green Bay model, the Corporation would pay dividends from its share of the proceeds.

The stock offering would not be finalized unless there was a purchase commitment sufficient to fund the construction.

The same voters who would turn down a tax may very well buy stock for a return on their investment.

Doug Thompson

This has been submitted to "Letters to the Editor" on 4/20/2011

Anonymous said...

There is an "outside the box" creative arena funding plan on the table but no one will talk about it. Ironically, the Mayor has just proved the concept will work by raising millions from corporate sponsors. The New Cal Expo financing plan is modeled after what Peter Ueberroth did in raising $500M in equity from 29 corporate sponsors to fund the 1984 LA Olympics when the voters said no to new taxes. It can work here as well and bring bigger benefits to our region but the powers that be need to abandon a downtown Railyards location which I'm afraid to say they are unwilling to do.

Ron Wenig said...

Interesting that there seems to be options to get an arena done without public funding, but it always comes back to public funding. You have to wonder why.

Anonymous said...

I think it is wrong to assume that KJ doesn't have a funding plan just because he has denied it publicly. It was only a couple weeks ago he was saying there was nothing we could do to keep the Kings. We now know he didn't believe that. It seems doubtful that the NBA would be spending much time on this issue if they didn't have some assurance an arena could be built without a public vote. Going public with a plan that included public funds without a vote at this time would be disastrous. Better to do it after the NBA has agreed to keep the Kings here another year.