In a historic vote, the Sacramento City Council sent a great show of support for a new downtown arena by approving the recently released term sheet by a 7 to 2 margin. Council Members Kevin McCarty and Darrell Fong were the only no votes, as expected. Council Member Steve Hansen, who had voiced displeasure at not having as much time to study the term sheet as possible, voted yes after having most of his questions. Mayor Kevin Johnson ended the voting by yelling "Let's do it Sacramento!"
58 people signed up to speak on the arena issue. 13 were not in support and 48 were in favor. 3 of the anti-arena supporters failed to show up to speak, and Mayor Johnson had to cut off the pro-arena speakers after 20 in order to save time. Among the anti-arena supporters were two attorneys who are pushing for a referendum on the arena deal to bring it to a public vote, as well as the leader of STOP, the group who staunchly opposed last year's deal and were singled out by the Maloofs as a barrier to the arena, despite no indications that they were/are a serious threat.
Sacramento now heads to an April 3rd meeting with the NBA Relocation Committee to state their case. It is also expected that they will submit a much stronger bid for the team by or at the meeting, in order to eliminate the "substantial variance" that Commissioner David Stern said there was between the two bids a few weeks ago.
The City Council will reconvene on the arena issue on April 23rd for an update following the April 18th decision by the NBA Board of Governors on whether or not to approve the Kings sale to Seattle's Hansen-Ballmer group. Should the team stay, arena efforts will likely turn up full throttle.