The group trying to force a public vote on the city's plan to subsidize a new Kings arena downtown has given up on the idea of holding a special election this year and will instead aim for the June 2014 ballot.
Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) said Monday that efforts to collect signatures from city residents who want the public vote is going well, but that the group was unable to gather enough signatures before today's deadline to force a special election.
Instead, the group now has until Dec. 16 to file 22,000 signatures from registered city voters.
"We have a ways to go, but we also have a longer period of time," said James Cathcart, one of the group's founders. "We wouldn't be collecting if we didn't think we'd make it for next June."
STOP wants the public to vote on the City Council's approval of $258 million in public subsidies to the $448 million arena planned for Downtown Plaza. Most of the public money for the arena would come from revenue bonds backed by downtown parking operations.
In the meantime, a group has formed to try to block STOP's efforts.
Business industry advocates Region Builders and Crown Downtown, a Kings fans group, have started showing up near stations where STOP is collecting signatures. The group - which has a website called downtownarena.org - is trying to convince voters not to sign the petitions.
"It's easy to second guess decisions after they've been made, but we have to keep our Kings," said Josh Wood, of Region Builders. "We don't want the effort of the very small group of people to stop the progress that the city has made."