City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

July 26, 2013
Arena vote campaign: opposition made up press release quote

Another day, another turn in the increasingly tense campaign to seek a public vote on the city's arena subsidy.

This time, it's the pro-vote campaign that's lobbing charges that the other side is misleading voters. Representatives with Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods and Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) today publicized a draft press release from the anti-vote side that shows a quote attributed to "CITIZEN TO BE NAMED."

Later versions of the press released, issued by pro-arena groups Region Builders and Crown Downtown, attach the quote to a Sacramento resident named Linda Cano. The early version of the release can be found here: DowntownArenarelease.pdf

I called Cano to ask her whether she had said the quote cited in the news release. Cano emailed me asking to discuss the matter over email. But given that the issue involved a quote that the subsidy vote campaign has raised questions about, I declined that request and have asked her for a phone conversation.

Josh Wood, the head of Region Builders, said Cano had provided the quote to a public relations staffer. That worker wrote down the quote and was fact-checking the line with Cano when the draft press release was mistakenly sent to the media.

"This is just a distraction from the lies of the STOP campaign and the video proof we have of them lying to voters," Wood said, referring to a video his group released earlier this week showing a signature gatherer erroneously telling a voter the city plans to raise taxes to fund the arena.

Jonathan Wilcox, a spokesman for the campaign collecting signatures to force a June vote on the city's arena subsidy, said the early version of the press release shows that "this is shaping up as the first Astroturf basketball arena ever."

"That's a term that applies to artificial public movements that appear to be real, but upon further review shows a certain artificiality," he said. "It's laughable to think that was a direct, clear quote, despite what (Region Builders) might tell you."

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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 rlillis@sacbee.com

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