Skip to comments.Sacramento's Subsidy Kings
Posted on 03/02/2014 12:06:32 PM PST by Kaslin
Oh, how the other half lives!
By the other half, I dont mean the wealthy. Theyre as honest and decent as any other group. No, Im 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 teams owners a brand new arena.
Actually, Mayor Johnson and city officials claim theyre 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 Sacramentos yearly cost to provide all pay and benefits for the citys 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 citys 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 dont 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 Californias 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 Sacramentos 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 doesnt 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 isnt 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 Rufers funding . . . is supporting STOPs effort to steal 4,000 jobs, steal a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform downtown and makes him an accomplice in Seattles attempt to steal the Kings.
Whos stealing? Those spending their own money so people can vote? Or those against a vote because they want spend other peoples 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 worlds biggest processor of tomato ingredients, wrote a letter to a local paper explaining, What makes me a Libertarian is the fact that I dont believe in coercively imposing my personal beliefs on others or expecting anyone else to subsidize what I personally like to do.
Im against subsidy, period. Its simply a moral argument, he told a Merced Sun-Star reporter. If it was a subsidy for a fish pond, Id 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.
If only the gutless Republicans would have impeached hussein over the firing of IG Gerald Walpin in the kevin johnson / Americorps scandal.
But... But I thought he was senile./s
Yeah, he saw what no one else would admit to seeing.
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.
Is this guy friends with MOs brother ?
Notice how the sign on the front of the “Mayor’s” Podium looks exactly like the DNC AND Obama Propaganda Signs?
So does the city have the cash on hand or are they selling bonds that will double the actual cost?
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.
Come back when you can show and prove that your would do what you want it to do. Other wise I suggest you stfu
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 .
Those millions could create “economic benefits” elsewhere too.
The concept of Opportunity Cost never enters these crooks vocabulary.
BIG GOVERNMENT IS CRONY SOCIALISM
Socialism Is Legal Plunder
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:
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.
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.
Google his name with Craig Robinson. And see what you get. CR is MO bro