To quote Conan O’Brien, you just can’t make this stuff up; you wouldn’t want to, it would waste everyone’s time.
Kings Owner Joe Maloof’s statement: “We share the vision that everyone here has. The future would be fantastic to have a new arena downtown to revitalize the railyards. But it isn’t going to be easy. The site has been vacant for decades because it’s such a difficult site to develop. There are a lot of moving parts: The railroad, the developer, the cleanup, and all the work the city and county have got to get done. We believe it can happen, we believe an arena can help make it happen, but we want to make sure the people are aware that we will do our best. If for some reason it can’t happen at this site, we may have to consider alternative locations in Sacramento.”
It should come as a surprise to no one, as it has been pretty obvious for weeks now that the “railyards development” argument was an apple dangled in the eyes of the smart growth crowd. Maybe it’s what Dickinson, Fong et al. want, but it’s not land that they are in a position to develop at this point. When the ballot arrangement became public knowledge, with it also was made public the fact that the arena itself is merely a non-binding “suggestion” on the ballot. The only hard and fast truth is the $1.2 billion.
If you’re in that camp, and want to vote for the arena measures in part because you’d love to see the railyards get developed, please remember that is only one option. While Joe Maloof doesn’t name specific alternative locations, It’s pretty obvious that the land his company already owns in North Natomas would be high on the list.
UPDATE: One thing bugged me after I hastily posted this toward the end of the work day: Joe Maloof’s statement that “If for some reason it can’t happen at this site, we may have to consider alternative locations in Sacramento.” Well, if the arena is definitely going to be built–it’s on the ballot, after all–then won’t they definitely have to consider alternative locations? It’s possible that I’m splitting hairs, but it was a prepared statement, with words carefully chosen. And then I recalled a detail of the July 25 “Quality of Life Measure (PDF):”
Both parties (the city/county and the Maloofs) also have the ability to terminate the agreement at the conclusion of design development agreements — likely in summer 2007.
It can’t be more clear: not only can they bait and switch us on the location, they can pull the plug on the whole thing if they don’t like the design plans. I know that probably doesn’t mean the color of the paint, but it points out how disingenuous these legislators have been in discussing this as if they are faithful stewards of the public trust. This is still and always has been a backroom deal that is only reaching the ballot box because they need us to bankroll it.
There is still time to change your mind and vote no!