Interview w/ Sandy Smoley, Chairwoman of Yes on Q & R

I just got off the phone with Sandy Smoley, the chairwoman of the Yes on Measures Q & R campaign. Here are her answers to some of my questions:

On the incredible margin of defeat:

"80-20 is huge. That was startling to me, the magnitude. ... But if people don't understand a measure, they vote no. ... With the Maloofs pulling out, it was way overwhelming."

On the timing of the next ballot effort:
"We would not consider a special election. This time, we want to have a solidified proposal and not still be tinkering in the last weeks. ... Not having a deal was a huge problem."

On whether the pro-arena team is wedded solely to the Kings, or is more concerned with getting an arena regardless if the Kings leave:
"We want to keep the Kings and Monarchs. We've said that all through this campaign. We need the Maloofs as partners. ... We'd be crazy not to (want to keep the Kings). They're a huge asset to the community."

On countering the widely-held view that this is a "business vs. grassroots" issue:
"(Lead arena opponent) Dave Jones doesn't have a corner on the grassroots."

On how the proponents will counter this view:
"We don't know. We're still reeling from last night."

On what Kings fans can do to help the effort:
"Just be willing to talk to us. Let us know what you think. Tell us what you want to see."

Clearly, this was a worse defeat than Smoley's crew expected. The next campaign starts now, because there are a host of issues that need to be resolved and a host of misconceptions need to be addressed in the public eye. For seven years, the underlying battle between the sides have inched towards the opposition. Proponents need to stop the bleeding and begin pushing back. To do that, the Maloofs need to be smarter in their public image decisions. Hold off on that Carl's Jr. commercial until after the vote, okay?

The Maloofs haven't been strong in the post-debacle recovery thus far. They made a statement last night, essentially whining about the results without acknowledging they were probably the biggest reason for the incredible defeat. There has to be some accountability there if Sacramento voters are ever going to get on board with this.

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