SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The fight to save the Sacramento Kings was won in part because of the promise to build a new arena, but a debate over whether there should be a public vote to pay for it continues.
The battle has been raging on in the media for months. Now those for and against the arena are going head-to-head in person.
“The arena could help create 4,000 jobs for Sacramento,” said Josh Wood from Region Builders
“It does not create the jobs they claim, nor the economic development they promise,” said Tab Berg, who is against public financing for the arena.
The debate quickly turned to how an arena should be paid for and whether public money should be used at all.
“If the business is here for a sports and entertainment complex- private industry will build it,” said Jim Cathcart.
“Nobody is going to pay for it for us, that’s a lie and that’s a misrepresentation of where we are in this world right now,” said Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen.
Those against using public money want this issue to go to a public vote and let the voters decide. They claim the city is not being truthful about how much this is really going to cost.
“The city isn’t responding to very serious concerns raised by people, raised by economic experts,” said Berg.
“The reason they are upset is because they got caught hiding their link to Chris Hansen. They’ve been caught lying to voters and Sacramentans are mad,” said Wood.
Chris Hansen’s money or not, Steve Hansen says the city just can’t put every decision up to vote.
“I do not believe this governance works when we revert back to direct democracy making every decision.”
And there is the claim that this is not about a public vote at all.
“They make this claim that this is about a vote, then why did you name yourselves STOP?” Wood said.
In order for the arena initiative to go to the June 2014 ballot, 22,000 signatures would need to be gathered.
Arena opponents say they have half of that, but news of Chris Hansen’s involvement led to more than 3,000 people withdrawing their signatures.
So, at this point, the arena looks to be moving forward without a public vote.