The Bee published Maloof economist Chris Thornberg's case that the Sacramento arena deal wasn't bad for just the Kings, but also for Sacramento.
Other than Thornberg's ignorance on term limits in Sacramento (there are none for the City Council or Mayor) and continued vagueness about why the revenue projections are so wrong (is it really unrealistic to expect substantially increased revenue? we have heard of Pac Bell Park and STAPLES Center and Sprint Center, yes?), the most strikingly absurd suggestion is that there is wide precedence for these deals turning out to be duds.
Thornberg mentions that Petco Park in San Diego was two years late and $45 million over budget. You know what San Diego's annual budget for 2012-13 is proposed to be? $2.7 billion. Petco isn't exactly the straw putting the camel in traction, y'know?
Thornberg mentions some disastrous incinerator in Harrisburg, Penn. Because when I want to prove that an entertainment and sports complex in the largest infill parcel in the nation in a top-20 market is a bad idea, I compare it to a waste management facility in a city smaller than a dozen of Sacramento's suburbs.
And once again, we have the suggestion that Stockton was somehow felled by its attempt to revitalize downtown. Stockton is not broke because of the arena (which cost $60 million) or the ball park ($20 million). Stockton is broke because of the unholy collision course between the national mortgage crisis and the statewide pension crisis. There is a list deeper than George Maloof's navel of California cities without arenas who are in dire financial straits. But those cities don't fit the position that Thornberg was hired to present, so they aren't getting the time of day.
Thornberg's op-ed would have been better spent actually proving he's not a hired gun instead of denying it while throwing firecrackers to distract from the point that the Maloofs killed a deal they'd already agreed to. It's amazing that such a well-respected economist only waited until he was getting a paycheck from the Maloofs before rescuing Sacramento from doom. Some hero.