Marcos Breton
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    Mayor Kevin Johnson pumps a fist as he arrives at his news conference Tuesday. He is putting together an alternative to a Seattle deal to buy the Kings and plans to present it in April to the NBA board of governors in his drive to keep the team in Sacramento.


    Fans David Gutierrez and Maria Davila attend the City Hall event.


    Mayor Kevin Johnson, above, leads the applause for local business leaders who will each offer $1 million toward a bid for the Kings. At left, fans David Gutierrez and Maria Davila attend the City Hall event.

Marcos Breton: Losing Kings would be blow to Sacramento economy

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 - 7:45 pm

It seems very likely that the Kings could relocate to Seattle in a matter of months, but there is a very legitimate reason for the community to try hard to prevent it: Losing the Kings would be a huge setback to a Sacramento region in the early stages of a sustained economic recovery.

The Sacramento Business Review, a partnership of Wall Street analysts and business Ph.D.s at California State University, Sacramento, will detail the contours of this economic recovery today – their most positive forecast for the local economy in five years.

"As a region, we are definitely coming back," said Sanjay Varshney, dean of business administration at Sacramento State.

But how different will that picture look if Sacramento loses its best-known private company and brand?

Varshney, who will present his economic forecast with other experts at the Sacramento State Alumni Center at 3 p.m., said Sacramento's private sector is already weak.

"Outside of the government, we haven't seen major positive news on the private sector," he said.

The pool of businesses that are creditworthy for loans that could spur investment is still too small in Sacramento, Varshney said.

In Sacramento, economic stability in 2013 is largely being driven by the passage of Proposition 30, which raised tax revenue for the state, and the hopes that the state workforce will be less volatile.

That's good, but it's not enough.

In reading the Sacramento Business Review forecast for 2013, what screams out is the need for a marketing strategy to attract private employers who will build on our government jobs, affordable housing, lovely neighborhoods and proximity to a Disneyland of outdoor activities.

What screams out in the efforts to keep the Kings is the need for Sacramento to create amenities that would build on what the region already has.

At a Tuesday news conference held by Mayor Kevin Johnson, developer David Taylor said, "A vibrant city has to reinvest in itself to encourage people who grew up here to stay here and for people to move here. … The Kings are a big part of that.

"They would allow us to build an important piece of public infrastructure in the core of the community, and in a way that would benefit the entire community."

Sacramento could never have that discussion before because the Kings owners, the Maloof brothers, have lost credibility with taxpayers and fans through their failure to spend enough money to hire a competitive team or to commit to potential arena projects to keep the franchise in Sacramento.

It seems a long shot for Johnson to find equity owners committed to Sacramento who could match the Seattle-based offer the Maloofs have accepted to sell the team – or to get the NBA board of governors to bypass their bird in the hand in Seattle.

But KJ has to try because nothing good economically, socially or psychologically will happen to Sacramento if it loses the Kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Marcos Breton

Marcos Breton, news columnist

Marcos Breton

Hello, my name is Marcos Breton and I'm the news columnist with The Sacramento Bee. What's a columnist supposed to do? I'm supposed to make you think, make you laugh, make you mad or make you see an issue in a different way. I'm supposed to connect the dots on issues, people and relationships that cause things to happen or prevent them from happening in our region. I also write a weekly baseball column during the baseball season. I am a voter in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, I have voted for Barry Bonds - twice. I am a native of Northern California. I am the son of Mexican immigrants. I've been at The Bee for more than 20 years, and I love Sacramento.

Phone: 916-321-1096
Twitter: @MarcosBreton

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