Now that the disputed Sacramento Kings arena referendum petitions that were gathered by signature gatherers who were paid with money wannabe Seattle arena builder Chris Hansen are being submitted anyway, you might think that Sacramento is finally over this whole referendum-signature-controversy mess. But no, because apparently whoever is scripting this show has decided to throw in one more incomprehensible plot twist:
With support from nonunion contractors who have been locked out of the project, a new Sacramento citizens’ group was formed today to fight the proposed $258 million taxpayer subsidy for the new Kings arena downtown.
The new group, Voters for a Fair Arena Deal, will gather signatures for a ballot initiative launched months ago by another group opposed to the arena subsidy. But Voters for a Fair Arena Deal took pains to separate itself from the original effort and said it will “limit communications” between itself and the first group, Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork.
That’s right, the Kings arena has pulled off the rare feat of being opposed by a group of construction companies. But they’re construction companies that aren’t going to get a cut of the swag, so they’re all mad and stuff.
The new group was actually announced by Craig Powell, head of the watchdog group Eye on Sacramento, which you’ll recall from its excellent report on why the arena deal was a hot mess. Joining with a nonunion labor group seems a bit of a case of odd bedfellows — Powell said yesterday that “we are not opposed to a public subsidy for an arena, [but] what we are in favor of is an arena subsidy we can afford,” then declined to give specifics, other than that the group would push for eliminating the “project labor agreement” that gives preference to union contractors, because duh.
Meanwhile, Kings president Chris Granger announced that the proposed arena would have its seating capacity scaled down from a planned 18,500 to 17,500 or even less, possibly making it even smaller than the Kings’ current arena, which holds 17,317 and has been derided by the team as too small. But no worries, as according to the Sacramento Bee, the Kings have dispensed with the old notion that fans watching the game actually have to be at the game:
the $448 million Downtown Plaza facility may have far fewer seats than originally proposed, possibly fewer than at old Sleep Train Arena, but could pack more patrons in, nonetheless, by offering special standing-room-only ticket sections and a dramatic outdoor plaza seating area…
The Kings are talking about offering a number of standing-room-only tickets for fans to watch the game in open areas behind the arena’s lower seating bowl or on what officials say would be a dramatic “bridgeway” over one end of the arena, offering bar seating, couches, and a railing overlooking the event floor.
At one end of the arena, the Kings say they envision a glass wall that slides open onto a plaza at Sixth and K streets, making the arena an indoor-outdoor facility. Ticket buyers for some events, such as concerts, would be able to sit in the plaza with a view of the stage through the open glass wall, as well as via video screens in the plaza. The outdoor area could boost arena capacity by thousands for some events, Kings officials said.
Hey, here’s an idea: How about selling tickets to watch events on padded seats, in private suites among the company of your selected guests, via state-of-the-art high-definition video technology? We could call it tele-vision.