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Sacramento City Council approves arena plans

10:40 PM, Mar 6, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Kings player talks about Sacramento city council vote

  • Sacramento residents start to gather for city council meeting about build new arena.
    

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento City Council voted to move ahead with building a new entertainment and sports complex (ESC) at the downtown railyards at Tuesday night's meeting.

The council voted 7 to 2.

Council members Angelique Ashby, Steve Cohn, Jay Schenirer, Darrell Fong, Robert King Fong, Bonnie Pannell and Mayor Kevin Johnson voted "Yes." Council members Sandy Sheedy and Kevin McCarty voted "No."

DURING THE MEETING

Sacramento City Hall was packed with people in support of moving ahead the (ESC) and those against the plan. A line led out of the building, even after the overflow crowd was staged in the old city hall.

PHOTOS: People pack Sacramento City Hall

The Sacramento City Council meeting Tuesday night was focused on presenting plans for the ESC, answering questions from council members and hearing public opinion about the ESC plan.

Sacramento City Manager John Shirey said the vote Tuesday will speak volumes about the city's vision going forward.

Assist. City Manager John Dangberg and consultant Dan Barrett presented the ESC "term sheet" to the city council at the beginning of the meeting.

RELATED STORY: Sacramento City Council to vote on arena Tuesday

Sacramento City Treasurer Russell Fehr talked about potential risks with moving ahead with the ESC plan. He said if the deal goes bad, Sacramento's credit rating will be affected and will also impact future borrowing.

Shirey said that there is risk in any decision made by the city.

"We think it's helpful that our citizens understand this transaction, be as open and transparent as we can," Shirey said.

During the public opinion section, about 19 people spoke against the ESC and 60 people were expected to speak in favor.

RELATED STORY: Petition against new Sacramento arena circulates

Taxpayer League spokesperson Bob Blymyer was in opposition of the ESC plan. He said, "The financial world is crashing all around you, but you're looking at adding more debt."

The final speaker against the ESC brought a plastic alligator to podium and likened the project to "feeding the alligator."

The Hyatt General Manager spoke in favor of building the ESC, "This is not just about basketball, but growing the attractions and amenities in our area."

Metro Edge Young Professionals spokesperson said the arena will be a catalyst for change, "We ask you to vote yes."

Because of timing constraints, not everyone expected to speak in favor of the ESC plan had the opportunity. However, Johnson asked those in favor of the ESC to stand, which represented the majority of the audience.

After the public opinion section of the meeting, city council members deliberated and answered questions raised by the public.

Council member Steve Cohn insisted Sacramento will not forgive the original loan to the Kings.

"My heart has always wanted to get this done, but until now, my mind didn't," Cohn said referring to the financial plan involved with the ESC.

Council member Sandy Sheedy questioned how many jobs would be created by the ESC and doesn't like the idea of city paying two-thirds cost of the arena.

Council member Angelique Ashby applauded city parking workers, who are concerned about their future and recognized Gavin Maloof for being present at the meeting.

"It's not about the NBA, it's not about basketball. It's about us!" Ashby said.

Council member Bonnie Parnell said she supports moving ahead with the ESC plan.

"Our economy is bad, we have to help ourselves, we have to invest in ourselves," Parnell said. "I'm supporting this."

FOLLOW #ESCvote to get the latest from the meeting

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