Last night, the Sacramento city council voted 7-2 in favor of moving forward with a new downtown entertainment and sports complex.
I'm happy and grateful to the city, most of all to mayor Kevin Johnson. KJ refused to give up when most people had. You can fairly use the "buzzer beater" analogy to describe the mayor's presentation to the NBA Board of Governors last April.
The City of Sacramento has succeeded where others have failed to put together a plan. Unfortunately, they had to do it without much help. It would be nice of the counties of Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado could have joined forces to create a regional project. The city had to go it alone, and now will bear the risk of the project. They also have the most to gain.
But here's the error in that argument: one is spending, the other is investment. The city approved a plan to raise about $255M to invest in the downtown entertainment and sports complex. If you believe the term sheet they approved, the city will get all of that money back and possibly more. If you simply spent all that money on police and fire, the city would be better off, but the money would be gone.
Of course, you can easily argue that the revenue estimates are rosy or even exaggerated. The supporters of the arena deal freely admit there will be some risk to the city's general fund. What they are risking is that not all of that $9M a year currently earned from city parking will be replaced by the arena revenue. Isaac Gonzalez of ransackedmedia.com makes very valid arguments against the arena plan on his site.
The projections of future revenue, jobs created and downtown revitalization may or may not come to pass. The numbers will be probably be massaged by both sides, each saying "I told ya so." One thing I'm sure of is that if the plan hadn't been passed, the Kings would be on their way out of town and 1,100 or so jobs would vanish from our region. And I'm glad that's not happening, because one of those jobs is mine.