The anti-arena group's petitions have been turned in.
The pro-arena group's petition removal forms have been turned in.
So what's next? Here are some details on what's happening and what will happen moving forward as it relates to Sacramento's proposed downtown arena.
- The 35,300 signatures petitions turned in by S.T.O.P. (Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork) is about 5,000 fewer than the group had originally aimed for.
- The pro-arena group, downtownarena.org, turned in 15,277 petition withdrawal forms. The group is responsible for showing S.T.O.P. signature gatherers on video earlier this year fabricating details about the city's arena financing plan in order to get signatures.
- S.T.O.P.'s signatures, which are intended to put the city's contribution of $258 million (largely generated from parking revenues) toward the proposed downtown arena on the ballot next year, are currently being counted by the City Clerk's office. This is just the raw count of signatures to determine whether S.T.O.P. turned in the correct number of signatures.
- 22,000 valid signatures are needed for it to make the ballot.
- If the City Clerk's office determines there is enough signatures on paper, the petitions will be sent to the county of Sacramento where a validation process of the signatures will occur. The county will have 30 business days to validate the signatures. This would likely begin sometime next week if the City Clerk finds the numbers to be there.
- The county will validate the signatures either by reviewing a 3 percent sample of the petitions or by reviewing every signature. The option to comb through all of the signatures is likely because of the matching that may have to take place with the 15,000+ petition withdrawal forms turned in by downtownarena.org.
- Given the 30 business-day window for the county, we will likely know if there are enough valid signatures for it to be put on the ballot by the third week of January, but it could happen sooner.
- If it qualifies, it would qualify for the June ballot and if that passes, there would likely be a vote on the arena financing in November.
Should the project proceed as planned (and there is no reason to believe it won't at this point), a draft environmental review of the arena is expected to be available soon. It is looking like the city council would vote on the final environmental review document in early April. Everything would become binding at that point in terms of the financing, and demolition could begin in June, followed by the first phases of construction in September/October.
The New Coalition
Mayor Kevin Johnson announced Thursday the creation of a new coalition called The4000 as a response to the S.T.O.P. group. The coalition will advocate for the downtown arena and the 4,000 jobs it is projected to create.
Mayor Johnson had some choice words earlier this week in regard to S.T.O.P.'s petitions and this being the third time (Anaheim and Seattle were the last two) Sacramento has been tested in this fight to keep the Kings and build a new downtown arena.
Via The Sacramento Bee:
"Here we are again for a third time." "Interests not in Sacramento are trying to do something that adversely impacts our community." - Mayor Kevin Johnson
S.T.O.P. received $100,000 from Chris Hansen, the hedge fund manager from Seattle who tried to purchase the Kings and turn them into the Seattle Sonics earlier this year, which, in turn, helped the group collect a large majority of its 35,000+ signatures.
Darrell Steinberg, whose bill, SB 743, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown to protect the arena project from being delayed by lawsuits, will serve as co-chair of the coalition.
Sen. Ted Gaines also will be a co-chair of the coalition and Joshua Wood of Region Builders and downtownarena.org will serve as the executive director.
For previous stories on the effort to build a new downtown arena, click here.
34,000 of S.T.O.P.'s signatures were delivered the county to be validated, via The Sacramento Bee (yep, 1,300 less than had been originally reported to have turned in). The city clerk has requested that each signature be evaluated, rather than using a sample size.
The price to the city to verify all the signatures? $100,000.
S.T.O.P. says they aren't going to come up with money to pay for the validation, according to the Bee.