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I am a basketball fan, a Kings fan and a Sacramento fan. For those reasons and more, I want to see a new entertainment and sports complex downtown.
And yes, I am more than happy to help pay for it as long as it's part of a fair deal for everyone.
Forget all the doomsday talk about the recession and how we can't afford a project that needs public money to succeed. Our depressed economy is exactly why the Sacramento region should step up and invest in its future.
Let's move beyond the tired canard that the Maloofs are rich so they should provide the lion's share of the financing. It takes a true partnership to get this done, one where risk and gain are spread around equally.
Cities are supposed to grow and gain attractions, not lose them. Sports arenas or stadiums don't make a place great, but if we lose our only major league franchise, we look like a city in decline. Besides losing some 1,000 jobs if the existing arena was without its primary tenant, it would be a psychological blow that would stigmatize Sacramento for a long time.
I'm proud that Mayor Kevin Johnson, the business community and fans in the region pulled together when it looked like the Kings were headed to Anaheim.
Now it's time to think big, quit getting bogged down in all the reasons this can't happen and make it a reality. Johnson is absolutely right that surrounding counties like Placer, El Dorado and Yolo need to step up too. A first-rate sports and entertainment complex would be a boon to residents there as well.
Cities like Louisville, Minneapolis and Omaha have all built new arenas with public money. That's how these things get financed and built.
Sacramento is every bit as enterprising as those places. There's no reason we can't make this happen - unless we think small and sink into defeat and mediocrity. From the energy generated here when the Kings' departure appeared imminent, I'm betting on Sacramento, no matter what the naysayers claim.
We have a variety of needs in this region. Many of them are more compelling than erecting a sports palace to watch millionaire athletes run up and down the floor.
But building an arena with a higher tax on hotel rooms and rental cars, along with a fee added to all tickets sold at the new venue, doesn't take money from anything else.
Cities raise capital for projects like this by selling bonds that get paid off with the new revenues. Stadium or arena building is not a zero-sum game. It doesn't mean there will be less money for police and fire protection, schools, infrastructure or social programs.
And you shouldn't have to be an NBA fan to appreciate this. I don't go to the Crocker Art Museum as much as some people but I'd be heartbroken for Sacramento if it went away. It's part of our identity, part of our culture.
"Experts" on both sides of this issue distort the economic value of a new arena. Boosters cite multipliers and studies to entice us with a supposed flood of new spending and job creation.
Critics say spending on entertainment and leisure is finite, that it occurs with or without an attractive venue for sports events, concerts and other large attractions.
The truth is you can't accurately measure the visibility and prestige that come with a major league team and facility.
I covered the business side of sports in Sacramento for the Sacramento Bee for many years and always took the claims of both sides with a grain of salt.
But even when the Kings were terrible, people had fun - remember that word? - going out to Arco to see the best athletes come in and compete.
It was exciting, and good for business, when the NCAA men's basketball tournament came here. California's capital city should have a world-class concert facility so we don't have to travel to the Bay Area - and export our money there - for the best shows.
No matter how you feel about the team's owners and past attempts to build an arena that failed, it's time to pull together and do what's best for Sacramento. We stood up to rich Orange County and won the first round. Now we have to dig deep and prove that was no fluke and wasn't just a temporary victory.
An empty arena out in Natomas would be a depressing disaster for the city. It would be a big blow to our image and self esteem.
A state of the art sports and entertainment complex that showcases the Kings and attracts other appealing events to the Capital city would be good for our economy, good for our psyche and just plain fun. The time has come to make that happen.