The next series of blogs will be about the Sacramento County Grand Jury report for 2006-2007. It's not a very exciting read but so much information is buried inside that I'll try to summarize the important pieces for you!
If you've been reading for a while, you know I hate the city's attempt at Measures Q and R- also known as "the arena deal." Evidently, I wasn't the only one with suspicions as November 7, 2006, the Grand Jury began investigating the city and county's dealings with the Kings.
The backstory is this: when the Kings moved in 1985 to Sacramento from Kansas City, the favors and backroom deals began. The owners then had difficulty finding someone to finance an arena in flood prone Natomas, so the Sacramento City Employees' Pension fund loaned them $8 million. In 1997, the city loaned the Kings another $78.5 million and discussion began for a "Partnership for Playing" where the city would commit $150 million to Arco Arena and commit infrastructure to a new arena. The Kings withdrew their proposal in 1997 but left a feeling that the city would be the personal financier of the Kings. There were other loans issued in 1997 but the details are not public, despite being made from public funds.
$700,000 of public funds were spent getting Measures Q and R on the ballot in 2006, including $300,000 for sports consultants. The Grand Jury report is scathing, including "All the election hype and analyses were bogus!" Clearly the Grand Jury believes that the taxpayers were misled, lied to and fed a story that was neither true or researched.
And so we end up with the railyard. Yippee for us!! The city has conceded that it paid $55 million for a building that it does not think is worth $55 million. The infrastructure in the area will take years to develop but the city has implied that we'll have a railyard development very soon. Nevermind that there have been no objective studies of the railyard development or Richards Blvd. development. We love the Kings... or at least some city politicians love them so much that the idea of losing them is too much to handle.
In summary, the Grand Jury believes that the 2006 ballot measures Q and R, the railyard development, the love affair with the Kings and the 1997 loans had a hint of scam and the city has not been forthright with the citizens. It's time to shed a little light on the process!