Yolo County Won’t Be the Ones Saving the Kings

Kings-MoveYolo County officials are opposed to utilizing local tax money, in an effort to save the Kings by financing the construction of a downtown Sacramento area.

Earlier this week, a proposal emerged for the creation of a joint powers authority to include six counties, including Yolo County, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba.

However, in an article from the Davis Enterprise, two of Yolo County’s supervisors have opposed the idea.

“Our budgets are being slashed. We’ve laid off 20 percent of our workforce,” Supervisor Matt Rexroad told the Davis Enterprise earlier this week. “If I were to rank our priorities, building an arena in another jurisdiction would not be in the top 10, top 20, top 40 — whatever you want it to be.”

According to the Enterprise, Mr. Rexroad would be willing to examine a proposal, but has yet to see one.

“It’s kind of amateur hour,” said Supervisor Rexroad the current chair of the Board. ”We’re somehow not going to use taxpayer money  — no general fund — and somehow we’re going to come up with $300 million over the next decade? Those things are intellectually inconsistent for me.”

An editorial from the Daily Democrat argued that “keeping the Kings isn’t all that grand.”

They noted the efforts of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and other political and business leaders, who have emerged from meetings last week with NBA officials optimistic that they will be successful in their efforts to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

However, the Daily Democrat questions the value of that for Yolo County – “While that may be a good thing for Sacramento, we’re not sure how it benefits Yolo County — or those other counties adjacent to Sacramento, for that matter.”

Mayor Johnson, they wrote, “presented $9.2 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from regional businesses and other backers to prevent the team from moving to Anaheim.”

However, from their perspective, “All that sounds very impressive. But here’s the scary part as far as we’re concerned: Johnson is saying that to keep the Kings there must be a ‘regional effort,’ which includes support (read money) for a new stadium.”

“The pitch by business and political leaders centered on that regional effort — not just one by the City of Sacramento, as in the past — to increase team sponsorship and finance a new arena,” the Democrat editorial continued.  “But Johnson hasn’t yet publicly disclosed the businesses involved in his secured commitments.”

“We’re sure that some businesses, or large private groups, such as UC Davis and the Cache Creek Casino, will undoubtedly provide some form of sponsorship for the Kings. And that’s their choice,” they continued, before drawing the line at any sort of public financing.

The bottom line, they argued, “Public financing of sports teams is a money loser for the public — particularly for those on the periphery.”

Thus, “We would like to Kings to stay in the area (and win more games then they do) but we’re not willing to put the tab on taxpayers.”

Supervisor Don Saylor, unlike his counterpart, has not outright opposed such an endeavor. From what has been reported in the press, he called a new sports complex “a vital economic engine.”

Earlier he had noted “4,700 jobs from across the area would be created through the construction of a new arena.”

However, Supervisor Rexroad slammed the idea.

“I’m not sure why folks in Yolo County, Davis or Woodland ought to be taxed for something they may or may not do,” Supervisor Rexroad told the Enterprise, “when the people attending the events could pay for it themselves.

“I’d like the Kings to stay,” he added. “I think most people in Woodland want them to stay. They’d love them to stay, but they’re not willing to be taxed to keep them here. Sacramento can do that on their own if they’d like.”

The easy answer here, as manyhave already expressed, is no.  We cannot afford it.  We are cutting vital services to the county.

On the other hand, why not go for something a bit more innovative?  If Sacramento wants the region to share in the costs, perhaps, the region can share in the revenue generated by the team.  That is one thought that could be pursued, since we have nothing to lose.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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10 thoughts on “Yolo County Won’t Be the Ones Saving the Kings”

  1. Gunrock

    I finally agree with Don Saylor about something! Go Kings! Yolo County needs to put on its big boy pants and actually act like a real part of this region instead of a pathetic backwater hick county that can’t sort out its financial hassles.

  2. E Roberts Musser

    This “hick” county, as Gunrock refers to it, has a responsibility to provide basic services to its citizens first and foremost. For the Yolo County Bd of Sups to approve spending any public moneys on the frill for a stadium in Sacramento County to keep the Kings there would be completely irresponsible and a breach of a fiduciary duty to Yolo County residents. Matt Rexroad is exactly right on this one.

    If businesses want to pony up some of their profits to fund this loopy idea, they may feel free to do so. But beware, bc those same businesses will pass along to customers the cost of that subsidy to the Kings for a new arena. So be careful what you wish for Kings fans. And I assume any mention of UCD being involved in this would come from private donors and not any funding from a university that has claimed it is in dire financial straits (and I have NO DOUBT UCD is in dire financial straits).

    dmg: “Supervisor Don Saylor, unlike his counterpart, has not outright opposed such an endeavor. From what has been reported in the press, he called a new sports complex “a vital economic engine.””

    My comment to Don Saylor’s statement: hogwash!
    From anewscafe.com: “While writing about stadium and arena development over the years, I have plowed through stacks of studies and academic literature. Their conclusions are nearly unanimous: Publicly funded stadiums and arenas are money-losers for the public.

    The argument from stadium boosters is that the new structure will generate new economic activity and additional tax revenue, plus various fees and paybacks, that will more than cover the public’s investment. Study after study has found this to be a false argument. (The New York Times summarized things nicely in its 2009 examination of Cincinnati’s stadium and arena debacle.)

    A region has only so many dollars available for entertainment. What a new stadium does is redirect that spending to the stadium and its immediate vicinity. Economists call this the “substitution effect.””

  3. Frankly

    Has it really been 20 years?

    My garage conversion includes purple and black cabinets, a purple felt pool table and walls covered with Kings memorabilia going back when they were the baby blue Kings led by pretty boy point guard Reggie Theus. My family shared upper deck season tickets with another family from the very first season until 2004 – two seasons after the corrupt NBA refs robbed us of a deserved title over the Lakers in the 2002 playoffs.

    The Kings have provided many benefits to our region that cannot be easily measured. One of those benefits is a bonding of our communities over a common shared cultural interest and experience. The purple and black added some common regional pride that was, frankly, missing… unless you are into counting cows.

    My feelings for taxing myself more to build an arena to keep the kings here are mixed. In addition to the regional: cultural benefits, the jobs that are created and retained, and the secondary economic benefits for businesses that support and leverage the Kings and support the arena operation, there is also the fact that companies in the area use the games as a way to build and strengthen business relationships. Choices are much more limited in our region without a professional sports venue.

    However, my problem with the Kings is more a problem with the NBA in general… the cost. The reason my family canceled our season tickets was that the cost had quadrupled during the twelve years we had the seats. Today, the cheapest seats are $22.50. However, the most available inexpensive seats are $36.50. The next step up is $61.50. The average ticket price is around $80. How can a family of four afford that?

    My preference at this point is to transfer our regional efforts at attracting a major league baseball team to Sacramento. Major league baseball is more affordable for families. Raley field is a beautiful facility that can be expanded. That entire western riverfront area is a diamond in the rough. Bringing a major league baseball team to an expanded Raley Field and a redevelopment of that blighted industrial area would be a great boost to Sacramento and the surrounding regions. Davis would have the enviable position of being separated from the development impacts by a causeway, but also be an easy train ride to the fun.

    I say drop our interest in supporting the Kings, and start courting the Oakland Athletics. I think I read that average attendance at As games last season was 17,000. Raley field already seats 14,680. The River Cats have led all minor league teams in attendance since they arrived (I think close to 10,000 per game). AT&T Park in SF seats about 40,000. This is the new trend… the smaller and ball park.

  4. rusty49

    “So let me understand this. Conservatives on this blog are willing to consider taxation to build a sports stadium, but not for schools?”

    This conservative is against it and so is ERM.

  5. Frankly

    Don: I am against tax increases to build a new arena to keep the Kings for reasons stated. I am against tax increases to fund education status quo because I think it perpetuates a delay in recogizing that the entire public K-12 education model is flawed and must be reformed. I am a progressive… provide vision and committment to real progress and I will pay higher taxes for it based on a cost-benefit analysis.

    However, I am not against tax increases (bonds or other means) funding infrastructure investments that have a net positive impact to our region. I am unsing the term “investment” in a true sense; not the way Obama uses it to hide behind for his schemes for more social program spending.

    Tax revenue does not grow on Davis’s organic fruit and nut trees; it requires private-sector economic activity. If a regional professional sports venue increases economic activity that results in greater tax receipts that are in turn used to fund public education, how is that a bad thing?

  6. David Suder

    [quote]“We’re sure that some businesses, or large [b]private groups, such as UC Davis[/b] and the Cache Creek Casino, will undoubtedly provide some form of sponsorship for the Kings. And that’s their choice[/quote]

    UC Davis is now a “[i]private[/i] group?”

    Somebody please tell me that UC Davis will [i]not[/i] be spending money on the Kings. If UCD can afford to do that, there should be no need for the continuing, staggering increases in student fees.

  7. Dr. Wu

    UC Davis is gutting its own sports programs. Even were they dumb enough to listen to people like Don Saylor and sponsor a new stadium for the Kings, the outcry on campus would be enormous. It won’t happen.

    If Sacramento wants to spend money it doesn’t have on a new sports facility we cannot stop them, but Yolo should not give a dime of public money. King’s fans can continue to support their team (at least until they go to Anaheim or wherever).

  8. E Roberts Musser

    Don Shor: “So let me understand this. Conservatives on this blog are willing to consider taxation to build a sports stadium, but not for schools?”

    Who is a “conservative” in your mind? I don’t think a lot of conservatives, including Matt Rexroad, would agree with supporting the Kings w public monies. And certainly not if the gov’t can’t pay for basic services – egads!

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