Strange bedfellows are camping out under the bleachers to oppose an arena in Sacramento for the Kings pro basketball team. They’re united in opposition because of the lack of public debate, the dubious numbers put out by the city and the growing public subsidy. Now they’re opposing legislation by Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, to let the stadium avoid a real environmental impact review.
A recent poll by the opposition group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork found 78 percent of the respondents favor a public vote on taxpayer subsidies for the arena. Yet Steinberg and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, are forging ahead as if it’s already a done deal.
But the deal is not done even though Steinberg is fast-tracking legislation to give the arena an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act. The exemption is needed to meet an NBA-imposed deadline for quick construction.
Steinberg’s bill, a gut-and-amend job on another bill, will be introduced Friday. It will be similar to recent bills granting CEQA exemptions for a proposed stadium in downtown Los Angeles for a pro football team; and for a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara.