Disputed Hansen-funded Kings arena petitions okayed, proceed directly to vote where anybody can spend whatever they want

It looks like the custody battle for Sacramento Kings arena referendum petitions that had Chris Hansen’s dirty fingerprints on them is over, and despite Hansen’s vow to stop them from being submitted, they’re going to be submitted:

STOP announced Tuesday it had received the signatures from an Orange County political consultant named Brandon Powers, who had arranged for the petitions to be gathered with $100,000 from Hansen. The campaign is in the process of verifying the validity of the signatures, said STOP spokesman John Hyde. He said the goal will be to collect 30,000 signatures, enough to provide a buffer for those that may be found invalid by county elections officials…

STOP said it would deny Hansen’s request to return the petitions.

“These petitions represent the will of 18,000 people who took the time to provide their signatures and express their desire to put this tax subsidy to a vote,” Julian Camacho, president of STOP, said in a statement. “We believe it would be wrong – ethically and legally – to deny them that right.”

There is a bit of weirdness here, in that Hansen violated campaign finance reporting laws, and the only punishment he’ll get for it is to pay a fine of … well, more than half his campaign donations, so that’s a pretty sizable chunk of change. More to the point, though, as Camacho notes, it’d be tough to argue that the 18,000 people who had the misfortune to sign Hansen-provided petitions instead of some other petitions should be disenfranchised just because of who bought the paper they put pen to — you’d have to start questioning whether there are people who passed up non-Hansen petitions because they’d already signed Hansen ones, etc., and that’s a road you really don’t want to go down.
Anyway, it looks like Sacramentans will get to vote on the proposed $334 million in arena subsidies sometime next year, in that time-honored American tradition where it’s totally considered legit for both sides to try to spend each other into the ground. (Even people with no connection to the vote! The Supreme Court says so!) The pro-arena forces are bound to have a massive spending advantage here, but let’s also remember the 100-to-1 rule, which says that sports facility proponents need to outspend opponents by at least 100-to-1 to have a decent shot at winning a public vote. Gentlemen, start your wallets.


8 comments on “Disputed Hansen-funded Kings arena petitions okayed, proceed directly to vote where anybody can spend whatever they want

  1. The penalty has already been paid. The only real sin here is one of lack-of disclosure, and that has been settled to the tune of $50,000.

    Had I known Hansen was funding this, I still would have signed it. Making the contribution was NOT illegal; failing to disclose it was.

    One thing I don’t expect you to know about, Neil, is the behest scandal.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/09/10/5723962/fppc-will-investigate-allegation.html

  2. I know about it, but do I need to care? Other than in the “KJ has his own sleazy dealings” way.

  3. Basically, he has the exact same problem as the sleazy criminals at STOP: A failure to disclose.

    The acts themselves weren’t illegal, but the failure to disclose both acts was. People now want to see them toss out all 18,000 petitions, and I don’t see where they have any law that would support that position. They have “Wah! That was mean!” on their side. I understand that. Making a $100,000 contribution wasn’t illegal, though.

  4. STOP wasn’t involved in Hansen’s signature-gate other than being a “partner” at the end. Hansen paid Loeb and Loeb which paid Powers and Citizens for a Voice in Government, Major Funding by Investment Manager which paid GoCo consulting which hired Momentum for doing the signature gathering. That’s why it’s amusing that STOP is citing a law about keeping signatures away from the party that paid for them… it doesn’t really apply.

  5. Does someone know how significant the 100K was in the entire signature gathering effort? I.e. did it account for 10%, 50% or 95% of the funds used to find the signatures.

  6. It paid for all the GoCo consulting signatures. Citizens only got $100k from Hansen and used $80k of that to pay for the signature gathering. I haven’t heard of any other contributions to GoCo.
    http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2013/08/16/15/59/qbD8j.So.4.pdf

  7. STOP really is a bunch of amateurs, though. One part of all this is that they have to provide proof that a notice was placed in a public place (something in the Bee counts) notifying the public of their petition. They did place the ad; no one disputes that. But then they have to fill out a form that says, “We placed the ad”; they didn’t do that.

    It’s a very minor mistake, and it won’t disqualify this petition. But you just wonder when they’ll miss some other deadline, simply because someone wasn’t paying attention, that DOES disqualify their petition. STOP needs someone who can actually stay awake at meetings.

  8. Shaq is now part of the ownership group, which apparently will derail the petition:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/09/24/5764438/sacramento-kings-introduce-shaq.html

    How it derails the petition is left as an exercise to the reader.

    Oh, and we’re getting an indoor-outdoor arena. Awesome. That should be inexpensive.

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