The campaign to force a public vote on a downtown sports arena is dead - for now.
Campaign organizers failed to get the 21,000 valid signatures they needed for a November ballot measure asking voters whether they approved of public assistance for an arena in the downtown railyard. Organizers would not say how short they fell of that total, but said they are considering regrouping for a later election.
At the same time, the group is taking some credit for the collapse of a tentative agreement between the city and the Sacramento Kings. The team's owners backed out of the deal in April, citing both financial concerns and the signature-gathering campaign seeking to put the project to a vote.
"They may not have had the courage to do that except that we came out of the woodwork," said Rich Tolmach, one of the organizers of Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP).
Tolmach said the rate of signatures collected by the group dropped off steeply after the arena deal collapsed.
"Here's the problem with collecting signatures once the project is declared dead: everybody thinks oh, you guys already solved that problem," he said.
While STOP is against public assistance to the arena, it turns out Tolmach's opposition stems from his love of trains. He thinks the proposed arena site would have disrupted service at the current train depot.