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Judge Rejects Appeal Of Sacramento Kings Arena Subsidy Petition

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A judge has rejected an appeal from a group wanting to put a subsidy for the Sacramento Kings arena to a public vote.

Sacramento County Judge Timothy Frawley sided with the city over Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork.

In his ruling, Frawley wrote “… the court finds that the volume and magnitude of the proponents’ procedural errors undermined the integrity of the electoral process.”

Read The STOP Petition Ruling

STOP was challenging whether a $258 million subsidy from the city for the arena should go forward. The group filed enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, but the Sacramento City Clerk ruled there were inconsistencies and errors in the measure that meant it could not go forward.

STOP spokesman Julian Camacho was understandable disappointed with Wednesday’s ruling.

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “The will of the people is being ignored by the mayor and city council.”

Mayor Kevin Johnson applauded the ruling, saying the city stepped up in the face of outside influences.

“Time and time and time again,  we have stepped up to the challenge and stood tall,” he said in a statement.

The group filed this lawsuit challenging that ruling. Meanwhile, the city received help from a political-action committee, The 4,000, in its efforts to defend the challenge.

Frawley went into great detail about the inconsistencies that we included in the petitions. While STOP contended they were honest mistakes, the judge said the city clerk made the right decision in tossing the measure.

He also referred to a previous Supreme Court ruling that stated a measure with a high level of errors is likely to cost the public more money if it goes to a vote and is later found invalid, as well as take time and money from actual valid petitions.

Frawley agreed with the city that the proposed measure would also conflict with the city charter and was beyond the power of the people to enact.

“Because the Charter grants the City Council such fiscal authority, the electorate cannot, by ordinance, take it away,” he said in his ruling.

Even if the petition were able to go forward from that point, Frawley says it didn’t meet the doctrine of substantial compliance. That doctrine holds that if a measure meets the essential requirements of the law, it wouldn’t be tossed on a technicality.

Frawley ruled STOP didn’t meet the requirements for this because the petition lacked an enactment clause and the names of the measure’s proponents were left out of a published notice of intent.

The Kings hope to break ground on the arena by September, with a projected opening by October of 2016.

This petition isn’t the only matter that stands in the way of the arena. The owners of the old Macy’s Men’s Store building at 600 K Street have declined to sell to the city or the team. The city has begun an eminent domain process against CalPERS and the rest of the building’s owners.

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