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Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson released the names of his regional arena coalition Monday, amid hopes the Here We Build campaign will be able to figure out financing options.
But the absence of a representative of Natomas, where Power Balance Pavilion sits, raised protests from the Natomas Chamber of Commerce.
Johnson announced the members of a bipartisan, 15-member executive committee Monday morning. The remaining 45 members of the community coalition were expected to be announced Monday evening, according to the mayor’s office.
No one from the Natomas Chamber of Commerce, which has led a campaign to keep the arena there, had been asked to be part of the coalition as of 5:30 p.m. No Natomas representatives are expected to be in the coalition, Johnson spokesman Joaquin McPeek said.
Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna was named to the executive committee. He lives in Natomas and represents the area in his supervisor role. But he hasn’t represented Natomas economic interests in the arena process, Natomas Chamber President Ed Koop said.
"He's never been the voice of anything we've been trying to do here, as far as the economic impact,” Koop said. "In my opinion, that's not a good representation of what we've got going on here."
Frustrated chamber members are refusing to provide a letter of support for the arena effort after Johnson recently asked for one. To be asked for support is "absurd," because building a new arena downtown will "cannibalize" Natomas, said Koop, adding chamber members feel their community has been ignored throughout the arena process.
"Natomas seems to be constantly put in the back seat. We're not asked to participate in any of these things going forward," he said.
Chamber officials want the city to set up a task force to focus on reuse of the Natomas site. But no one from the mayor's office has reached out to talk about the site's future, Koop said.
"I don't believe anyone's seriously looking at what's going to happen to Natomas if this arena leaves," he said.
Johnson asked for letters of support at a regional chamber coalition meeting at Sacramento Metro Chamber headquarters on June 3 – a few days after officially announcing the coalition's formation. Representatives of all six counties were there, Koop said.
The mayor and the mayor's office followed up last week with emails asking to get the letters, which were to be addressed to the city, by June 17.
The Here We Build executive committee will be chaired by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, and State Sen. Ted Gaines, a Republican from Roseville.
Other members of the committee include state Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Sacramento City Councilman Rob Fong.
Also on the committee is San Francisco investor Darius Anderson. He told Johnson at the National Basketball Association team owners' meeting in April he and billionaire Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle wanted to buy the Sacramento Kings or bring another team here if the Kings left.
The full coalition will consist of stakeholders from around the region: elected officials, labor leaders, corporate and small business owners, grassroots organization leaders, developers and religious leaders.
Johnson said in a press conference Monday that the coalition was put together to equitably represent the metropolitan area.
“We knew if we had 22 cities and six counties, we knew we had to have about 30 electeds and maybe 30 non-electeds,” he said. “So, when it came down to the executive committee, we knew we wanted 12 to 15 members – half elected, half non-elected.”
The mayor's office cast "a wider net" to involve a broad base of the community, McPeek said.
"We want to make sure we have a nice cross section, across the board," he said.
The mayor's office is setting up the arena coalition's first public meeting for Thursday. The time and location are still being determined.
The group will be meeting to explore arena funding options and determine the "critical pathway" to financing a new arena, McPeek said.
McPeek could not say what work the ICON-Taylor group is doing to come up with arena funding options, which were due at their presentation to the City Council in late May. It's not clear how the arena experts will work with regional Here We Build coalition members to answer the funding question.
The Roseville Chamber of Commerce has sent in a letter of support commending the mayor for reaching beyond his borders to promote a regional discussion on a new arena, Roseville Chamber Chief Executive Officer Wendy Gerig said.
"It's not just about the Kings and basketball. It's about economic development and the jobs that will not only go to businesses in Sacramento, but to El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Yuba and Sutter counties," she said. "Our region is deserving of such a facility."
A link to the other coalition member names will be added in the comment section below.
Sacramento Press staff reporter Kathleen Haley contributed to this report. Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.