City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

July 29, 2013
Sacramento arena vote campaign escalates with robocalls

The campaign over whether to hold a public vote on the city's arena financing plan continued to escalate over the weekend.

In a tactic not normally seen in off-election periods, a coalition of Kings fans, building industry groups and labor organizations trying to avoid a vote on the arena made a robocall to city voters on Sunday. The call can be heard here.

Joshua Wood, the head of Region Builders, a building coalition that has spearheaded the anti-vote campaign, said the call went to more than 56,000 voters. He said the call was paid for by the groups that are funding the DowntownArena.org campaign, a full list of whom can be found here.

Wood acknowledged the unusual circumstance of using a robocall so far from an election. "When you're doing robocalls in July, you know it's important," he said.

Two connected groups - Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) and Orange County-based Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods - are collecting signatures to place a measure on the June 2014 ballot that would require a vote before the city could use public resources for an arena.

Under a plan approved by the City Council, $258 million in public resources -- mainly future parking revenues -- would be used to help pay for a new $448 million arena at the Downtown Plaza.

Last week, the DowntownArena group released a video it said showed a signature gatherer misleading voters by claiming the city was increasing taxes to build the arena.

The STOP/Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods responded by publicizing a draft press released from DowntownArena that showed a quote attributed to "CITIZEN TO BE NAMED." The pro-vote campaign said the draft showed that the quote was written before being said by a real person.

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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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