Sacramento's saddest hour

05/21/2014 2:05 PM

05/22/2014 9:10 AM

Re "City goes all in for Kings (Page A1, May 21): Mayor Kevin Johnson calls the arena vote Sacramento's finest hour. You'd expect a former NBA all-star turned-politician to say that.

Serious studies test the claim that economic benefits flow to cities that subsidize sports arenas. No evidence supports that. Economist Victor Matheson suggests taking whatever number sports promoters put forth, move the decimal one place to the left, divide that by ten and you'll have a pretty good estimate of the actual economic impact.

University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson says "it would be better to drop (money) from a helicopter than invest in a new ballpark."

Let's commission our own study in 10 years after Mayor Johnson has moved onto the national political stage. Let's see then whether last night's emotion-fueled vote has penciled out in real economic terms or whether it was instead our city's saddest hour.

-- Craig Thomas, Sacramento

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