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Sacramento's Subsidy Kings
Townhall.com ^ | March 2, 2014 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 03/02/2014 12:06:32 PM PST by Kaslin

Oh, how the other half lives!

And lies.

By “the other half,” I don’t mean “the wealthy.” They’re as honest and decent as any other group. No, I’m talking about those with their hands on the levers of government power . . . along with their subsidy-seeking cronies.

Kevin Johnson, once a National Basketball Association all-star, now serves as the Mayor of Sacramento. Johnson garnered more than a thousand career steals mostly for the Phoenix Suns; he now plays a different game of plunder. He is assisting the Sacramento Kings by dishing out $258 million in tax dollars to build the team’s owners a brand new arena.

Actually, Mayor Johnson and city officials claim they’re splurging only $258 million, and most media outlets (including, absentmindedly, my own Common Sense e-letter) have repeated that “official” number. But the true amount of the subsidy must also count the 3,700 parking spaces handed over for free to the NBA franchise, and include various infrastructure subsidies, tax breaks and other bennies, too.

Thus, the total subsidy to the billionaire Kings’ owners amounts to nearly a third more, a whopping $334 million — roughly Sacramento’s yearly cost to provide all pay and benefits for the city’s entire workforce, including pensions and healthcare for all retired workers.

The city, however, boasts that the arena project will bring over $11 billion in economic benefits over the next few decades. That preposterous claim is now the subject of a legal challenge against the city.

“Documents discovered in the lawsuit show that those claims of benefits were invented by the subsidy seekers themselves, e-mailed to the city, and, by the magic of cut and paste, placed into the staff report, where the city’s elected leaders and the public were defrauded into believing they were reading the considered judgment of the professionals of government,” writes former deputy state treasurer Mark Paul at his The California Fix blog. “When the city staff spoke, the welfare seekers’ lips moved.”

As I wrote last year in this space, if there is a consensus among economists on anything, it would be that public spending on sports stadiums is not a driver of economic progress. University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson states clearly, “If you want to inject money into the local economy, it would be better to drop it from a helicopter than invest it in a new ballpark.”

Moreover, the people of Sacramento don’t want to pay for a new arena. They voted down a tax increase back in 2006 that would have gone toward that purpose. With 80 percent voting NO.

But as Mark Paul predicted correctly a year ago, “[E]xpect Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his allies on the council to do everything they can to avoid making voters part of the conversation.”

Thankfully, even with all of California’s problems, citizens in the Golden State still enjoy the power to take matters into their own hands to forge a solution.

At least 23,000 citizens objected by signing petitions to put this lavish subsidy to a referendum vote. Yesterday, a judge ruled that the measure would be kept off the ballot: errors in the wording of the petition “disqualified” it.

Sadly, the people of Sacramento will not get to vote on the issue.

Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP), the disheartened group pushing the referendum, issued a reasonable press release, which stated, “We call on Sacramento’s disenfranchised voters to express their outrage to their City Council, and we call on our elected representatives to begin listening to their constituents.”

But in a prepared sore-winner statement, Mayor Johnson called the petitioners “outsiders” who “have tried to undermine the right of Sacramento to control the destiny of our Kings, our downtown and our future.”

To be clear, Johnson doesn’t mean the right “of the people” to control their city. No. He means his right to dictate for Sacramento even against the will of the majority.

That sort of trash talk isn’t limited to the mayor. The leader of a group working against a public vote on the arena giveaway went out of his way to attack local businessman Chris Rufer, charging that “Rufer’s funding . . . is supporting STOP’s effort to steal 4,000 jobs, steal a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform downtown and makes him an accomplice in Seattle’s attempt to steal the Kings.”

Who’s stealing? Those spending their own money so people can vote? Or those against a vote because they want spend other people’s money?

The real thieves are apparent: the city has filed a lawsuit to take land from current businesses in downtown Sacramento to flip that property to the Kings through yet another abuse of eminent domain.

While a big fan of the game of basketball, Mr. Rufer, CEO of The Morning Star Company, the world’s biggest processor of tomato ingredients, wrote a letter to a local paper explaining, “What makes me a Libertarian is the fact that I don’t believe in coercively imposing my personal beliefs on others or expecting anyone else to subsidize what I personally like to do.”

“I’m against subsidy, period. It’s simply a moral argument,” he told a Merced Sun-Star reporter. “If it was a subsidy for a fish pond, I’d be against it.”

Mr. Rufer is right: forcing one person to subsidize another is immoral. Subverting democratic process to force nearly half-a-million folks living in Sacramento to subsidize a few wealthy businessmen merely adds cruel insult to that unjust injury.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: California
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/02/2014 12:06:32 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

If only the gutless Republicans would have impeached hussein over the firing of IG Gerald Walpin in the kevin johnson / Americorps scandal.


2 posted on 03/02/2014 12:20:39 PM PST by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: Eagles6

But... But I thought he was senile./s


3 posted on 03/02/2014 12:34:27 PM PST by Rusty0604
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To: Rusty0604

Yeah, he saw what no one else would admit to seeing.


4 posted on 03/02/2014 12:40:54 PM PST by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: FReepers
AS LONG AS YOU'RE HANGING AROUND ANYWAY,
COULD YOU HELP OUT WITH THE FREEPATHON?



Click the Pic


Support Free Republic

5 posted on 03/02/2014 12:58:19 PM PST by deoetdoctrinae (Gun-free zones are playgrounds for felons.)
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To: Kaslin
I live in this banana republic of a city and I can tell you absent the union thugs and the citizens surrounding MLK Blvd, nobody wants this expenditure.

We are working as best we can to stop it but have not prevailed so far.

Without a referendum I don't know that it can be done...and we're flummoxed on what can be done to get enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot when the city refuses to allow the signatures.

The vote would overturn this boondoggle easily...at least 70% in favor.

But most or those would still vote for the folks defying their will.

6 posted on 03/02/2014 1:14:28 PM PST by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: Kaslin

Is this guy friends with MOs brother ?


7 posted on 03/02/2014 1:38:58 PM PST by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: Kaslin

Notice how the sign on the front of the “Mayor’s” Podium looks exactly like the DNC AND Obama Propaganda Signs?


8 posted on 03/02/2014 1:42:45 PM PST by Kickass Conservative (Nobody owes you a living, so shut up and get back to work...)
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To: Kaslin

So does the city have the cash on hand or are they selling bonds that will double the actual cost?


9 posted on 03/02/2014 1:42:46 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Kaslin

Presumably the city’s citizens voted for this wasteful boondoggle. You get what you vote for.

Isn’t Sacramento a financial mess already?

All I want to know is how much FEDERAL money is going towards this? Anyone know? I didn’t get a say in this boondoggle so I better not be paying 1/1000 of one cent for it.


10 posted on 03/02/2014 2:12:42 PM PST by Lorianne (fedgov, taxporkmoney)
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To: Eagles6
What party was in charge in the House from 2007 to January 2011? It was the rats. If you think Piglosi would have called for an impeachment of 0bama you better think again, and even if the Republican House had impeached him after they took the House over in 2011 you think dingy Harry and his fellow rats in the Senate would have removed that arrogant pos from Office? Your dreaming and talk is cheap.

Come back when you can show and prove that your would do what you want it to do. Other wise I suggest you stfu

11 posted on 03/02/2014 2:29:21 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
Wow! Quite an unfriendly post! :-(

Yes, I was mistaken, the spineless GOPe didn't control the house then but I believe that we are still within the time frame for legal ramifications .

It doesn't matter whether the senate will convict, the House has the duty to impeach.

I used to look forward to reading your posts, but... Oh well.

BTW spellcheck is your friend. I think they do a grammar thingee too.

And for your suggestion that I STFU .

NUTS

12 posted on 03/02/2014 3:28:23 PM PST by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: Mariner

Those millions could create “economic benefits” elsewhere too.
The concept of Opportunity Cost never enters these crooks vocabulary.


13 posted on 03/02/2014 8:25:32 PM PST by 4Liberty (Optimal institutions - optimal economy.)
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To: Kaslin

BIG GOVERNMENT IS CRONY SOCIALISM

Socialism Is Legal Plunder…

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G019

http://www.usdebtclock.org

Witness the “fundamental transformation” in real-time.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:


14 posted on 03/03/2014 4:04:37 AM PST by PGalt
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To: Eagles6
"If only the gutless Republicans would have impeached hussein over the firing of IG Gerald Walpin in the kevin johnson / Americorps scandal."

Social and environmental zealots rallied behind Obama to radically transform America. They realized full well that he could because a much more aggressive agenda that Hillary because he was immune to impeachment because of his race.

15 posted on 03/03/2014 3:53:51 PM PST by Baynative (Got bulbs? Check my profile page.)
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To: Baynative

Yes


16 posted on 03/03/2014 4:23:43 PM PST by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: hoosiermama

This is the guy the investigator at doj had the goods on an when holder got in he fired the investigator.

The mayor campaigned for Obama.


17 posted on 03/03/2014 4:28:45 PM PST by morphing libertarian
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To: morphing libertarian

Google his name with Craig Robinson. And see what you get. CR is MO bro


18 posted on 03/03/2014 4:52:52 PM PST by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: hoosiermama

Yes

Thanx


19 posted on 03/03/2014 4:58:23 PM PST by morphing libertarian
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To: morphing libertarian; Kaslin; Baynative

FYI

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2274659/posts


20 posted on 03/03/2014 5:18:53 PM PST by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: hoosiermama
The thing that always comes through with these liberals is the proclivity to spend other people's money, but their greediness when it comes to their own money. When Johnson was found to have misused funds he agreed to pay back "a portion" of the total.

This guy was an NBA superstar and made plenty of money. He should have been made to pay it all back.

21 posted on 03/03/2014 5:26:53 PM PST by Baynative (Got bulbs? Check my profile page.)
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To: hoosiermama

Thanx


22 posted on 03/03/2014 5:38:03 PM PST by morphing libertarian
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To: Baynative

Absolutely. Was hunting for the other article alluded to in the one I just linked. Iirc it went into great detail how the super star lived high on the big off of money meant for those in need.
He, ValJar, JJ , sharp ton the entire gang lives like royalty on others people’s money or money meant to help those in need


23 posted on 03/03/2014 5:43:42 PM PST by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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