SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is pushing back against a group opposed to using public money to build a new arena for the Sacramento Kings.
After fighting off Anaheim and Seattle, Johnson and supporters like State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg could have another battle on their hands.
“I’m in a fighting mood,” Steinberg said. “The whole thing has been a fight.”
The new fight is geared toward stopping Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, which is trying to put the city’s $258 million subsidy on the ballot.
Johnson, along with fellow politicians, business leaders and labor groups launched The 4,000 Initiative. It’s named for the number of jobs the group says a new arena will provide.
“I guess it goes to show that the best things in life, the most important things in our community are worth fighting for,” he said.
But is STOP ready for a fierce battle?
“We’d like to relax a little bit,” said organizer Julian Camacho. “We’ve been through a lot here. It’s all been heavy lifting.”
STOP carried boxes of signatures to the city clerk this week. They need 22,000 of those names to be legitimate in order to place the arena investment on the ballot.
“The taxpayers, the working families should have a say so if this is the best use of our resources,” Camacho said.
Billionaire Seattle investor Chris Hansen had attempted to secretly fund the signature drive previously, which has put a cloud over the group’s efforts.
Johnson reminded attendees of that issue on Thursday.
“This is not what it appears to be,” he said. “This is a bait-and-switch. It is not real. It is somebody else’s agenda that’s trying to adversely impact our agenda here in Sacramento.”