The Orange County Register today fired a shot across the bow of attempts to lure the Maloofs to Anaheim in an editorial headlined, "Welcome Kings with open arms, not open wallets."
"The owners of the Sacramento Kings reportedly have been in talks about moving their NBA franchise from the state capital to Orange County," the paper's editorial board wrote. "We welcome the idea of a Kings' proposal to move to Orange County. If the owners were to do so, they would be welcomed by a vibrant fan base very fond of our sports teams."
"We support the move, however, with one caveat:"
No taxpayer subsidies to get the team here. No taxpayer-financed sports arenas. No special bonds to pay for renovations to the Honda Center, where the team presumably would play.
No special bonds? Does that mean the Register would oppose use of public bonds to spruce up the Honda Center, even if those bonds were paid back with private money?
Maybe. Maybe not. The editorial quotes Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait as saying that "a financing structure is being proposed that would allow for private investment to fund improvements at Honda Center."
This also sounds promising, though, the devil usually tends to be in the details.
Yes, those details. One of them involves what would happen if billionaire Henry Samueli and his ownership group were to default on paying back the bonds. Taxpayers would then be on the hook.
Is that too much of a hurdle for taxpayer activists in Orange County, including The Register? We will wait and see.