City Beat

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August 20, 2013
Sacramento arena supporters want Hansen to not file petitions he financed

Sacramento's arena boosters want Chris Hansen to do more than apologize for financing an effort to derail the project. They want him to shred the signatures his money funded that could send the arena plan to the June 2014 ballot.

In a letter sent Monday, members of the DowntownArena.org campaign asked Hansen to "not allow these petitions" to be used in the arena vote effort. The letter can be found here: HansenLetter.pdf

Hansen, who tried to buy the Kings this spring and move them to Seattle, was revealed last week as the secret financier of a campaign to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would require voter approval of sports facility subsidies in the city. He made a $100,000 contribution to the campaign on June 21 through Los Angeles law firm Loeb & Loeb, campaign finance records show.

Hansen said in a statement on his website Friday that he regrets making the donation. He added that he wishes "the city of Sacramento and Kings fans the best in their efforts" and that "they have my commitment not to have any involvement in their arena efforts in the future."

DowntownArena.org said in its letter that it appreciates Hansen's apology, but that his apology "would mean nothing if (he) allowed the signatures obtained utilizing the funds (he) provided to be submitted by those seeking to STOP our downtown arena from being built."

Right now, it's unclear who controls the petitions gathered by Hansen's paid campaign workers. Olson Campaigns of Tulare, the firm that organized the crews that collected signatures in Sacramento, has not returned inquiries from The Bee seeking information on the petitions.

Brandon Powers, the Orange County political operative who served as the intermediary in the transfer of funds between Loeb & Loeb and the petition drive organizers, also has not returned phone calls.

The paid campaign was run parallel to an effort to collect signatures by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP). That group, led by downtown activists and using volunteers to collect signatures, is continuing its effort to gather 22,000 signatures from city voters by mid-December.

STOP has said it has more than half of the signatures it needs to force a vote on the arena. That total includes the signatures collected by Hansen's paid campaign workers.

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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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