Sacramento group wants ballot measure on arena

03/21/2012 12:00 AM

03/21/2012 5:08 PM

Calling the city's downtown arena plan a bad deal for Sacramento, a group of downtown activists say they will launch a petition drive to put the issue on the November ballot.

The group, Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or STOP, said it opposes committing $255 million in public assets to the $391 million arena deal without voter approval.

"This is frankly a giveaway to big business," said Julian Camacho, a contractor and Alkali Flat resident. "The revenue stream is highly speculative."

Group members said they intend to file a petition for approval this week with the City Clerk's Office, and hope to gather 30,000-plus signatures by an end-of-May deadline, figuring about 21,000 of them would be deemed valid, allowing them to meet the required signature threshold.

City clerk's officials said they have been contacted by the group, but had not seen petition papers as of Tuesday afternoon. The petition wording would have to be vetted by the city attorney, and the signatures checked by county elections officals.

Group members said they formed after the City Council's March 6 vote to move forward with the plan to build an arena in the downtown railyard by 2015.

Rich Tolmach, a downtown resident and rail advocate, said the group believes the city is pushing through an unpopular proposal without taking the public's pulse.

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