Sacramento mayor’s anti-arena-vote campaign upstaged by own goofy name

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced the launch of his campaign for a “no” vote on next June’s likely ballot measure on rescinding the Kings arena deal, and the big surprise is the absolutely nutso name he chose for it:

Flanked by labor, business and political leaders from throughout the city and region, Johnson said the new group – called The4000 – would work to protect the planned Downtown Plaza arena project, which he called a “once-in-a-lifetime economic game-changer that has an opportunity to transform downtown forever.”

No, KJ’s group isn’t based on a Frank Miller comic book: That “4000” refers to the number of jobs that he says the arena construction will create. This is a claim that goes back quite a while, so far that I’m not exactly sure where it originated, or how many of those jobs would be 1) part-time, 2) short-term construction jobs, or 3) merely transferred from the Kings’ current home across town. A 2010 report on a previous Kings arena plan concluded that it would create only 229 jobs, which isn’t even enough to fight off an army of Persians — not to mention that “The229” would sound … okay, not a whole lot dumber than The4000, actually. But I guess you have to take your memes where you can find them, and clearly somebody on Team KJ decided that having a reference to “JOB CREATION!!!” in the group’s title would be a good way of shifting the debate. Now to see if the arena opponents change their acronym from STOP to The$334Million.

15 comments on “Sacramento mayor’s anti-arena-vote campaign upstaged by own goofy name

  1. Any construction, from an arena to a McDs, will produce a number of temporary jobs, measured in man-years and like a happy meal, nice but irrelevant in the longer term.

    A new arena requires about the same number of people to sell tickets and beer, clean and change light-bulbs.

    That the MSM or pols would explain this, which is against their interests, or that the public can understand it is fantasy.

  2. Nice reference to “The 300”. Personally, I immediately tagged onto the the Sci Fi TV series “The 4400” when that name was mentioned.

  3. Oh man, had totally blocked out The 4400. It was created by René Echevarria, too, who was my favorite DS9 writer.

  4. The claim of 4,000 jobs created comes from the exact same place as the claim of $7B in new economic activity: Think Big.

    Or is that ThinkBig?

    Remember them? They were given the task of finding out how much activity a new arena would create. This study was funded by the Maloofs, and everyone’s sticking with it. It’s unbelievably idiotic.

    (This link downloads a pdf; sorry about that.)

    Those 4,000 jobs are an expense, by the way. It’s not a benefit. If it does turn out to be that many people, we’d only hire them because we have to, and we’ll be letting them go as soon as the building is complete. This isn’t like a Target or a Walmart, where you hire 300 people to run a store, and then in 10 years, 300 or so people are still working there.

  5. We have another project in Sacramento County, the airport expansion, that illustrates perfectly what happens when you hit the dreaded, “Revenues are not reaching their anticipated levels”-condition:

    It’s RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! Will this make a difference to arena proponents? Of course not! Why? Because “An arena is not an airport!”, that’s why.

    We’re pulling out the moron playbook and following it step-by-step.

  6. Did Johnson simply run for mayor because of an interest in public service, or was he planted into office by the NBA, and other groups who have a lot of financial interests in such projects with a private agenda to use tax dollars? When I was in grade school, I thought I learned such cronyism and corruption and abuse of public funds was illegal.

  7. Such things might have been illegal when we were in grade school, Mary… now they are apparently obligatory. I believe that most elected officials (even those elected to relatively unimportant and minor office) arrive beholden to private interests and determined to advance the interests of those concerns above all others, including the interests of the people they theoretically represent.

    As far as I remember, KJ just needed/wanted a new job. And the good folk of Sacramento gave him one. I still don’t know why, but they did.

  8. RA: the 4400 was the first thing that popped into my head too – even though I didn’t watch it… and it has a nice weird alien connection to boot, which this story certainly needs.

  9. It already has a Robocop/OCP feel to it. We’re floating bonds against parking enforcement = OCP is buying the police department; Detroit has debt problems, Sacramento has debt problems; we’ll fix those problems by building Delta City/Kings Arena, because “The Future has A Silver Lining.”

  10. If mayors like this want to create jobs by inefficient spending like arenas, why don’t they simply move water around the city by bucket brigade? Think of the jobs, people!

  11. There has been one interesting proposed change to the term sheets. Instead of the Kings taking ownership of a 60 acre site near a golf course, they have proposed instead taking ownership of 3 very small plots of land in the downtown area, and that in exchange, the City will own the land under the arena (the term sheets proposed that the Kings would own that land).

    But the interesting part of this, to me at least, is that neither the City nor the Kings own this land now. It’s part of an old Macy’s department store, owned by a third party. This means someone has to buy that property in order for the City to acquire it. I cannot find in the City’s proposal anything about how the City will acquire that land — but it sounds like it sets up eminent domain.

    Here’s the proposed change:

    I cannot find a single reference about how the City will gain possession of this land. If they do go for eminent domain, it sure seems like it could set up court delays.

  12. Mike – It would be indeed but a bucket brigade is a more colourful way to point out the hypocrisy of jobs defense to an arena project.

    I hope Sacramento makes a wiser decision than my city.

  13. Now KJ wants STOP to pay for counting the rescission forms.

    I got 8 words for you, KJ: Not gonna happen.

    I think what happened here was the City said, Yeah, we’re not paying to count these, this is on you, Crown Downtown. And this is KJ’s panicked response.

    This is quite a twist. Excuse my language, but OMFG, KJ. He has to be kidding.