Natomas Is Not An Option For Public Money

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 13: A general view before the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings on April 13, 2011 at Power Balence Pavilion in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Greg Van Dusen deserves a great amount of respect from Sacramento Kings fans. He deserves a prominent bust in the eventual Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. But he's again trotting this idea that renovation of ARCO Arena is viable and something that the public should contribute to.

It's not and it's not.

Kevin Johnson spent no shortage of political will and time putting together what all parties agreed was a fair deal to build a new gym downtown. He secured a commitment from City Council -- a City Council that for a decade couldn't make any progress whatsoever -- to use downtown parking revenue to fund more than half of the construction. He secured a top flight partner in AEG and a commitment of $7 million from the NBA. He and his team moved mountains. And the Maloofs slapped him in the face.

Public funding for an arena only works where it moves the economic needle. Unfortunately, putting a shine and some new luxury suites on ARCO isn't moving an economic needle in Natomas, let alone the city core. The mayor (who, in case the Natomas backers haven't noticed, will be around for a bit longer) has made it clear that he will not pursue public funding for an ARCO renovation. And why would he? Why would he bail out a group of men who lit his signature infrastructure project on fire in the worst way possible?

As a Sacramento Kings fans, I want the Kings to stay in Sacramento ... no matter what. But I, for one, refuse to carry water for the Maloofs by asking KJ, the city or anyone else to try to sell the public on slapping some shine on the Maloofs' gym. I never presume to know what the NBA or David Stern think at any given time, but I can't imagine they are sympathetic to the Maloofs' new willingness to embrace a cheaper idea.

If the Maloofs want a nicer facility on 1 Arena Drive, I suggest they visit their local hardware store and get a bucket of paint or two. It is painfully clear that public funding for an ARCO renovation is a non-starter. Where this is headed? That's easy. It ends up as the Maloofs wailing about the city being unwilling to partner on a more cost-effective project because the city and AEG want more power, more of the pot of money. And that case is made when the Maloofs next try to skip town.

I'm not going to help them get there.

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