City Beat

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February 26, 2013
Sacramento Councilman Fong explains no vote on arena

Darrell Fong, one of two councilman to vote against a symbolic resolution last week expressing support for a city contribution to a new arena to keep the Kings here, explained his vote for the first time late Monday in a letter to constituents.

The first-term councilman said he was wary of supporting the resolution "due to the continued lack of information being provided to the Council."

"I cannot in good conscience vote to endorse a resolution or proposal without knowing exactly what I am being asked to support," he wrote. "That is like writing a blank check."

Fong said he would "keep an open mind" about future council votes - including tonight's debate on whether to allow City Manager John Shirey and other top city officials to begin formal negotiations with the private investment group seeking to buy the Kings and partner with the city an an arena financing plan.

"I would support an ESC (entertainment and sports center) that would bring economic development and employment," he said. "I do not support a large contribution of public dollars going toward the construction of an ESC, which has the potential to jeopardize the general fund and our city."

He continued: "On Tuesday (tonight), we are being asked to authorize the City Manager to move forward with negotiations. However, we still do not have confirmation as to who he will be negotiating with, or what the City's terms will be. Be assured, I will continue to keep an open mind, but will proceed cautiously with any subsidy that does not have the taxpayers and our city's best interest first."

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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