Sacramento pro-arena group wants opposition to pay $100k cost of validating signatures

Sorry, neglected this weekend story out of Sacramento yesterday:

As elections officials took custody of 34,000 signatures demanding a public vote on the proposed subsidy for Sacramento’s new NBA arena, the two sides of the arena issue got into a squabble Friday over who should bear the costs of validating the petitions…

Earlier Friday, the pro-subsidy political committee formed by Mayor Kevin Johnson threw its first official jab, demanding that STOP pay the cost of validating the signatures. STOP’s president said his group wouldn’t pay.

On the face of it, this sounds insane — if groups that petition for ballot measures had to pay the cost of validating them, that would be a huge monetary hurdle — but the Sacramento Bee reports that the city “is responsible for the cost of validating the signatures but can ask one of the parties involved in an election to pay.” That’s clear as mud (is that “ask” as in “require” or “ask” as in “mother, may I?”), but so far no formal request has been made, anyway. The cost of the petition count is expected to be about $100,000.

4 comments on “Sacramento pro-arena group wants opposition to pay $100k cost of validating signatures

  1. I just don’t think there’s anything in the California Elections Code that would support it.

    And, gee, I wonder who paid to validate the signatures on KJ’s Strong Mayor Initiative petition drive. The one he started within 24 hours of being elected in 2008, without mentioning it once during his campaign.

    Actually, I’m lying. I’m pretty sure I know who paid for that. “Out of town” interests paid to gather the signatures, too, I’ll betcha.

  2. We must not forget that the Draft EIR is out.

  3. Oh, and one more thing. The City has proposed that instead of swapping 60 acres out near Haggin Oaks golf course, that they instead accept less than 2 acres of 3 small lots closer to the arena site. In exchange, the City would own the land under the arena. It’s a weird swap, but I think it’s driven by the fact that the Kings owners cannot get that land-owner to agree to sell, and this would enable the City to pull off an eminent domain move.

    To me, use of eminent domain is a risky move; I can see that tying things up in court.

    It’s the only explanation I can think of. At least 2 of the pieces of land the Kings would get aren’t particularly valuable. So they’re giving up 60 acres for 3 pieces of land with not that much value, and the City owns the land under the arena… I have to figure there’s a cost out there that they haven’t disclosed yet. How the City gets this land hasn’t been explicitly explained yet, and the Bee ain’t askin’ (even though that question HAD to occur to them).

  4. An easy-to-understand explanation of the Kings arena financing plan: