I dare say Mayor Kevin Johnson went a bit off his talking points in a blog post regarding the NBA's plans to build a new arena for the Kings at Cal Expo. The news hook is that ARCO Arena was not selected by the NCAA as a site for the future rounds of March Madness. ARCO has hosted regionals four times in the past 15 years.
Of course, it's disappointing for all us basketball junkies, it's disappointing for the Maloofs who could use that arena revenue, it's disappointing for city and business officials who want to build Sacramento's stature. But it's also an opportunity to rail about the need for a new arena in Sacramento.
Mayor KJ did not let that opportunity pass him by.
I've been watching the developments at Cal Expo regarding a potential new arena for the Kings. I know lots of hard work has gone into those discussions. And I'm familiar with the many failed efforts to build a new arena in Sacramento.
Today I fear the Cal Expo discussions -- like so many that came before -- won't bring results fast enough, if at all. Clearly, the time for discussion at Cal Expo is running out. I can tell you I won't be standing by watching other promoters reject Arco Arena. I won't wait for the question, "Who's next to go?" The arena issue needs the Mayor's leadership. And that's what it's going to get.
Mayor KJ then pledges to be a leader on the issue. My worry is that the mayor's leadership on this issue connects with his leadership on downtown revitalization, and that alliance of concern coming out of the mayor's office serves to disrupt the Cal Expo progress for the sake of reigniting the downtown arena idea. That's just a hunch -- and I should say I'm as worried about Cal Expo as the mayor claims to be. It's too big a project right now, and the region is in too much trouble to rely on the faith of big-time developers.
I'm glad our mayor is engaged and passionate about the arena issue. But it'd be foolish to ignore his motives. Be wary if Mayor KJ continues to assert his opinion as we move forward.
(Hat-tip: CBS 13.)