html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Go Kings.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Go Kings.

It is an accomplishment, what the Maloofs have done. They have turned even me against their ballot measure raising sales taxes for a downtown arena. I should be their girl. Like everyone here, I love the Kings. I live and work downtown. I would love to get off work, get dinner and catch a game. I would pay a lot of money for that. I would have to pay a lot of money for that, ‘cause Kings tickets are the third most expensive in the league. But I would!

I know that city-subsidized arenas are a terrible deal for the city, and that we shouldn’t want a downtown arena as an economic engine for the area. But I didn’t want an arena for that anyway. I want a downtown arena for my convenience and I am more than happy to spread the costs of that over my neighbors. In Sacramento at least, a downtown arena is a transfer of wealth from the surrounding areas to downtown; I got no objection to that.

The Maloofs want to raise the sales tax by a quarter cent for fifteen years. I wouldn’t even notice that. The ballot proposals would split that revenue between a downtown arena and other neat projects. But they won’t tell us what arena we would get for that money. It is likely to be in the railyards, close by downtown, but it might be out in Natomas, too far for me to ride my bike. I had so much goodwill toward the Kings and the idea of the arena that I might have even trusted that it would be in the railyards. I wanted to believe.

But then I read that the reasons the City and the Maloofs can’t close an arena deal are that the Maloofs want the right to veto restaurants around the arena (so they don’t compete with arena concessions) and that the Maloofs want the entire revenue stream from 8,000 parking spots! Eight thousand parking spots! Arco Arena has two thousand spots, and it is an ugly sea of parking. What the fuck kinda footprint would eight thousand parking spots require?! When I fantasize about meeting my sweetie for dinner and walking across the street to the arena, holding hands, with maybe street musicians playing big band music, there are no eight thousand parking spots in sight. Bike racks at a new light rail station, yes, but not a moat of parking lot. I don’t pretend a downtown arena will be a driver for widespread urban redevelopment, but I can’t accept an arena that would actively gut blocks and blocks of my city.

The Maloofs did it. They finally said “Fuck you” to the city of Sacramento enough times that we heard them through our Kings-induced swoon. They proposed an arena plan that is worse than taking the Kings away. Much as I wanted to, I won’t be voting for a new arena this November.

11 Comments:

Anonymous ed said...

Now you know why I refuse to visit the Palms in Vegas.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's highly doubtful whether sports arenas do much if anything in terms of promoting area development. They almost never live up to the hype, that's for sure.
The Sports Economist Blog had a recent piece concerning the Kings arena.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

3:40 PM  
Blogger Ennis said...

I am surprised that you imagined the stadium without its associated moat of parking. That's my main association with stadia - concrete atols surrounded by a sea of painted asphalt.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

You actually don't NEED the "moat" of parking that you see with some of the older stadiums (like Dodger Stadium in LA or Qualcomm in San Diego). Some newer facilities such as Staples Center or Petco Park make do with much smaller (some multi-level) parking structures distributed in different locations around the ballpark. Because there are many entries/exits, it makes getting in and out of the ballpark area a lot easier than the behemoth parking lots with only one entry and exit point.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous teofilo said...

I was in middle school when Phil Maloof ran for Congress against Heather (this would have been '98, I guess), and he came to our school and talked to us as part of a series of "candidates talk to the children" events organized by the school. He didn't come across as the sort of guy who should be a congressman. One of my friends asked him what he thought of sex education in the schools and he responded with "What do you think about it?" This doesn't have much to do with the Kings, but it's the only Maloof story I've got.

Also, Coors is terrible beer. I really just don't have anything good to say about the Maloofs.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

First of all...I would have no regret associated with the Maloofs(mediocre looks+money+various styling products+new money stinch) vacating the city..Second, I have no problem with a lack of monopolistic control of the downtown area food service.
The sad part of their potential departure is that it would take away a vital, community oriented outlet for the people of the Sacramento area. I would like to think that other things could bring people together, but the the reality is that sports bring people together. It would be a shame to lose that in the Sac area.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

I really enjoy reading your blog (and this time is no exception, despite the lecture that's coming), but I'm very disappointed at how flippantly you say, "
I want a downtown arena for my convenience and I am more than happy to spread the costs of that over my neighbors."

In some respects I can forgive people who actually think stadiums bring business to an area, but to know that is not the case and nevertheless think that your neighbors should subsidize your recreation is just wrong.

Furthermore, as someone who seems to be pretty socially responsible I'm suprised that you would support a sales tax as the funding vehicle. Given what you know about stadiums, you also presumably know that sales taxes are one of the most regressive taxing regimes.

You're advocating stealing from poor people so that rich kids can watch basketball.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You actually don't NEED the "moat" of parking that you see with some of the older stadiums (like Dodger Stadium in LA or Qualcomm in San Diego). Some newer facilities such as Staples Center or Petco Park make do with much smaller (some multi-level) parking structures distributed in different locations around the ballpark.

And then there's the new baseball stadium that Washington is building for the Nationals. It will have very little parking, as people will be expected to use transit. A laudable goal, except for the fact that parking will be provided for the upscale SCA big shots with luxury boxes - after all, you can't expect them to use transit with us (ick!) Common People, can you?

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:31 AM  
Anonymous thelonious_nick said...

I can think of some older stadia that don't have moats of parking--Wrigley Field, Fenway Park. And they seem to be much more beloved that most of the more recent ones that have all the parking you could want.

Some stadia have rejuvenated surrounding areas. I'm thinking of Petco Park in San Diego, Camden Yards in Baltimore, and Verizon Center (actually an arena) in DC. It just has to be done right. If the Kings are already thinking about how they would like to veto nearby restaurants and add thousands of parking spaces, it sounds like it won't be done right. Really, it sounds like they would like to guarantee any possibly benefits that might accidentally accrue goes into their pockets rather than, say, the urban fabric or the greater community.

Businesses are in business to make money, and I have no problem with that. But when the businesses start expecting handouts from the state, they should expect that the state is going to impose new demands on them.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Petco really rejuvenate the surrounding downtown San Diego area? Its closeness to the Gaslamp would do that already, you'd think.

To get back to the point of this blog, you're a girl that likes the NBA. You're a catch! You should advertise that! -K.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Benjamin, I think Megan was conscious of how silly it is to say "I want a downtown arena for my convenience and I am more than happy to spread the costs of that over my neighbors." The selfishness is a little too obvious for it to have been otherwise. She wants to vote for the deal if the stadium is built near her and against it if it's not. She is just voting in accordance with her own self interest.
---
Per the new comment policy:
Megan, I would sing by an aria of pain to your endearments and wiles. Likewise for everyone else on this fine thread. (Adopted from the Surrealist Compliment Generator.)

4:36 PM  

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