Regional meeting on Kings expected Friday

Regional leaders are expected to meet Friday for an update on efforts to keep the Sacramento Kings here, but talk about financing a new arena will be postponed until the National Basketball Association announces whether the team will stay, it was reported Wednesday.

An invitation to a status update meeting was sent to elected officials late Wednesday afternoon. The meeting is tentatively set for 10 a.m. Friday across from the Capitol, at the headquarters for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, 1415 L St., sources said.

The meeting is being held to inform leaders from the six-county region, city of Sacramento and state on progress made with the NBA this week.

The meeting will include an update about the discussion Tuesday between NBA staff and 30 businesses that agreed to make deposits on more than $10.2 million in financial support. The meeting will also include anything else that develops with the NBA Thursday or Friday.

The league is expected to make a decision by Monday about where the team will be based for the next year. That’s also the deadline for the Kings’ owners, the Maloofs, to file a relocation request with the NBA. No reports of an early decision have surfaced yet.

Officials won’t discuss how to finance a new sports and entertainment center in downtown Sacramento and the possible creation of a joint powers authority unless the NBA makes a decision by then.

"We put (talk about financing an arena) on hold right now because we’re trying to give the NBA time to make their decision on whether the Kings will be staying here," said Yuba City Mayor John Dukes, one of the effort’s organizers. "Nothing is being done right now until we hear from the NBA."

The NBA’s Relocation Committee, chaired by Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, will meet by Monday to make a decision following an NBA fact-finding mission that began here last week.

Mayor Kevin Johnson’s office hadn’t gotten any word on a decision by late Wednesday afternoon. NBA officials would not comment on when a decision is expected or when the committee meeting had been scheduled.

In recent weeks, Kings fans, elected officials and business leaders from throughout the area rallied support to keep the team rather than lose the Kings to Anaheim.

The effort to build a new arena may expand to seven counties after Nevada County officials expressed interest in joining an effort that includes representatives from Sacramento, the six-county region, the state and federal government. The six counties in the region are Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Yuba and Sutter.

"It’s good that (more) people are wanting in," Dukes said.

Also this week, a political consultant group hired by politically connected Sacramentans said enough signatures have been gathered to stop Anaheim from issuing $75 million in bonds to help the Kings move for at least a year. However, billionaire Henry Samueli, who manages Anaheim’s Honda Center, could possibly replace the bond issue with a personal investment.

The bonds can’t be issued by Anaheim until approved by voters in June 2012 or in an expensive special election. The firm, Arno Political Consultants, was hired by Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento political consultant, and Robbie Waters, a former city councilman, on behalf of the Committee to Save the Kings.

NBA officials would not comment on the impact of the signature drive Wednesday.

Representatives from throughout the region were brought together last week by Johnson to show public support for keeping the Kings and building a new arena to replace Power Balance Pavilion. The mayor’s office and those regional leaders will be involved in the effort to finance a new arena.

The effort will gather information from an arena feasibility study being done by Colorado arena builder ICON Venue Group and local developer David Taylor.

If the Kings remain in Sacramento, the group will initially focus on setting up a joint powers authority that will likely need to be approved by each of the counties, Dukes said.

"If we can get everyone in the region to agree on it, I think we’ll move forward with it," he said. 

Editorial Note: This is an updated version of an earlier story.

Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.

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April 27, 2011 | 10:12 PM

I think I prefer the way the Maloofs are acting here to our own behavior. They’re keeping quiet, and they know what they have to do. They haven’t said, “Oh yeah? Well we have 39 companies and $14M in Anaheim. Nah nah!”

It’s a private business, so they’re handling this in private.

Please note in saying this, I really don’t like the Maloofs (I don’t like KJ either). All I’m saying is, they’re showing a great poker face right now. It’s hard to tell which way they’re leaning. People are making a lot of ridiculous assertions at the various blogs around town that have no basis in reality (hear me, STR?). Truth is, we just can’t tell right now.

But I still prefer their quiet approach.

April 28, 2011 | 12:15 AM

While the Maloofs might be playing a poker face….two of their VP’s have tossed in their cards according to the SBJ last week and on Wednesday.

“Another executive has left the Sacramento Kings organization as everyone awaits a decision on whether the franchise will stay or go. Tom Hunt, senior vice president of strategic alliances for Maloof Sports & Entertainment, said his good-byes last Friday.

Hunt, who had worked for the Kings organization since 2005, left for a corporate sales job with Monumental Sports and Entertainment. Monumental owns and operates the Washington Wizards within the National Basketball Association, the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association. The company also owns and operates the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

As the Business Journal reported last Friday, Mitch Germann, Vice President of marketing and communications, was working his last day with the Kings on Wednesday. Germann is heading back to Seattle, where he’ll work for the digital and social marketing arm of the Edelman public relations firm.

April 28, 2011 | 11:31 AM

A. The league is not expected to make a decision by Monday, that’s simply the deadline for the Kings to submit their relocation request. If you read any additional stories, you’ll see that the league’s decision could come as late as two-weeks before the start of the next season.

B. After reading articles in the OC Register about the tactics of the petition gatherers, I have questions as to the validity of some of the signatures which could be challenged by the City of Anaheim and Henry Samueli and possibly cause enough signatures to be tossed so that the whole issue is moot.

C. Along the same lines, since fair is fair, I have no doubt that any attempt to bypass the voters in the Sacramento region in terms of imposing ticket fees, rental car or hotel room fees to pay for a new stadium without calling it a “tax” will be met by a petition campaign to ensure this goes to a public vote. Also, since the City of Sacramento was unable to pass a ballot measure supporting a new tax for the Kings in the past, I find it even less likely a similar measure will pass, especially if it involves voters from the surrounding counties who are less supportive of tax increases and see even less benefit from keeping the Kings.

May 2, 2011 | 9:03 AM

Keep in mind that the last tax initiatives, Propositions Q and R, were an open ended 15 year sales tax hike “for general governmental purposes” (wording of Measure R). And in real political terms, that’s as good as saying “permanent”. Especially as half of which would have gone to the rest of the county and half to the stadium (Measure Q).

If we REALLY want a stadium, let’s have a small sales tax hike that ENTIRELY goes to the stadium and that “sunsets” after a few short years.

April 28, 2011 | 2:51 PM

A surcharge on tickets for all events scheduled at the new arena could carry the cost of reasonalbe debt to be incurred on the facility. No public money needs to be spent. The private sector can get this done.

Sacramento has missed out on a number of high profile events because the artists and producers wouldn’t agree to events at ARCO. Word has it that the NCAA, U-2, The Rolling Stones, and others have refused to play there because of safety, cosmetic and outdated facility concerns. A new arena could bring life back to a city that is desperately in need of a shot in the arm both economically and to build a reputation of being an important market for other factors rather than just intransigent and dysfunctional politicians. Being the Capitol of California can mean something positive again.

May 2, 2011 | 8:46 AM

Ok, the word is that the Kings are staying, at least another year. Time has been bought to get a new arena deal in place. Rebuild ARCO? Find a downtown site that works?

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