City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 30, 2013
Live chat replay: Next steps in Sacramento's fight to keep NBA Kings

April 29, 2013
Sacramento budget: more cops, but only with pension help

The Sacramento city manager has proposed hiring dozens of new police officers - but only if the city's existing cops agree to pay into their pensions.

In his 2013-14 budget released Monday, City Manager John Shirey proposed hiring 58 uniformed police officers with funding from a recent increase in the city sales tax. Those officers - hired over the next 18 months - would beef up street patrols and help the department investigate more violent felonies.

But Shirey said he would withdraw that recommendation if the Sacramento Police Officers Association, the union representing city police officers and sergeants, does not agree to have its members pick up the full employee contribution into their pensions by July 1.

April 29, 2013
Chat live: NBA Kings waiting game: Seattle vs Sacramento

April 24, 2013
New Kings arena drawings released


New drawings of the proposed Kings arena at Downtown Plaza have emerged.

See the drawings in a photo gallery here.

Some of the drawings - put together by architectural firm AECOM - showed up on display at the mall on Tuesday. The renderings show an arena on the L Street side of the current plaza, with a large, open pedestrian gathering area where the middle of the mall now sits.

The inside of the arena shows windows along the top of the upper bowl, much like Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. There's also a rendering of a VIP suite and a bar dubbed the Bunker Club.


April 23, 2013
Update: Councilman Schenirer now a mayor pro tem

What do you get when you combine a mayor who travels a lot with a vice mayor who's about to have a baby?

This isn't a bad joke. It's actually a question the Sacramento City Council faced tonight.

The council took the unusual - and maybe even unprecedented - step of appointing a mayor pro tem to run council meetings when Mayor Kevin Johnson and Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby aren't around. Councilman Jay Schenirer earned the honor, which comes with the added benefit of a couple of extra words in his title but no more money.

April 5, 2013
Watchdogs criticize 'Public Sector Suite' in Kings arena plan

A local watchdog group is criticizing Sacramento for including a "Public Sector Suite" at the arena being planned for Downtown Plaza.

That suite was included in the 18-page "term sheet" approved by the City Council that lays out the financing for the $448 million facility.

According to the term sheet, the city "shall have an option to use one complimentary, furnished luxury suite at the" arena "including tickets and preferred parking to all (arena) events included as part of a typical license agreement." The suite could be used "for any official city purpose."

April 4, 2013
Mayor Johnson, Sen. Steinberg arrive home after Kings pitch

Mayor Kevin Johnson and state Senate President Darrell Steinberg arrived home today following their presentation to a panel of key NBA owners in New York, during which they made their case for keeping the Kings in Sacramento.

The pair was greeted by a cheering crowd of about 15 Kings fans in Terminal A of Sacramento International Airport. They quickly departed the airport to begin the final two-week push to convince the league to keep the team here and reject a deal the Kings' owners have to sell the franchise to a group in Seattle.

Johnson said "we don't really know yet" what will be asked of the Sacramento contingent by NBA officials over the next two weeks. NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday the league needed time to investigate arena plans and team purchase offers in both Seattle and Sacramento before making a decision over the fate of the Kings.

April 2, 2013
Sacramento delegation to rally in NYC before pitch is made for Kings

The Sacramento delegation sent to New York to make a pitch for the Kings will begin its campaign this afternoon with a rally in the Big Apple.

The group has planned a party at the Public House on East 41st Street. Among those in attendance will be City Councilman Allen Warren; prospective local Kings investors Phil Oates and Kevin Nagle; Mike Tavares, a leader of the Crown Downtown fan club; and Kings fans who live in New York.

The rally is also scheduled to coincide with the arrival in New York by local radio personality Carmichael Dave, who has spent the past two weeks travelling the country in an RV promoting Sacramento as the home of the Kings.

March 22, 2013
Conceptual drawings of new Kings arena released by city

arena concept.pngThe city still hasn't nailed down a plan to finance the project, but today it released what it is calling a conceptual drawing showing a new Kings arena at the Downtown Plaza site.

The drawing, by architectural firm AECOM, show the arena facing L Street between 5th and 6th streets.

It also shows a line of new towers along J Street along the northern border of what is now the mall and a tree-lined pedestrian walkway area on K Street on the western edge of the plaza.

As of 3 p.m. today, city officials had not come to an agreement with billionaire Ron Burkle over the financing of the arena. City Manager John Shirey is still aiming to have the financing term sheet completed in time for the City Council to vote on the plan Tuesday night.

March 22, 2013
Sacramento arena talks continue, but no deal yet

City officials remain in negotiations with the investors trying to build a new arena at the site of the Downtown Plaza, but have still not reached an agreement on the project's financing terms.

Amy Williams, a city spokeswoman, said at noon today that the talks were ongoing but that no deal had been reached. City Manager John Shirey had initially said he wanted an arena "term sheet" to be finished by Thursday in time to post it on the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Shirey still wants the arena plan to be voted on by the council on Tuesday.

March 21, 2013
City Manager still confident arena financing plan will come together

Despite missing his self-imposed deadline to reach a deal for an arena financing plan, City Manager John Shirey said today he remains optimistic an agreement will be reached.

Shirey said top city negotiators and representatives of billionaire Ron Burkle were still talking this afternoon about the financing of an arena at Downtown Plaza and that those talks were expected to continue. He said the sides have not reached an impasse.

Shirey would not say what sticking points remain between the sides.

March 21, 2013
Third big investor emerges in bid for Sacramento Kings

By Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis

In an apparent effort to add more financial heft to their bid for the Sacramento Kings, Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle have recruited Vivek Ranadive, chairman and chief executive of a $1 billion-a-year Silicon Valley software company, to be the new leader in their bid to buy the team.

Ranadive is also a limited partner and vice chairman of the Golden State Warriors - the team Mastrov tried to buy in 2010.

A source close to the arena effort, but who is not authorized to speak on the record, said Ranadive has been talking with Mastrov for several months about joining Mastrov's bid to buy the Kings.

March 20, 2013
City still in arena talks, expects deal to be released Thursday

City officials said late today that they expect the details of an arena financing plan to be made public Thursday.

"There is nothing new to report," City Manager John Shirey said in an emailed statement. "We have been in discussions all day with the Investors, and those discussions will continue. We anticipate that the Term Sheet will be made public (Thursday) afternoon."

Shirey wants the arena financing plan to be included in the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting, giving the council and the public five days to examine the plan before a council vote on the proposal. The city has scheduled a 5:30 p.m. public forum Thursday at City Hall to discuss the plan.

March 20, 2013
Fundraising drive sending nearly 500 kids, volunteers to Kings game

For the second time, a Kings fan group raised enough in donations to send hundreds of kids and volunteers from local schools and community centers to a game.

Here We Stay says it raised $8,400 to buy 480 tickets for Sunday's game against Philadelphia, which has been dubbed "Here We Buy Night 2." The tickets will be distributed by the COS Foundation, 3fold Communications and the Northeastern California and Northern Nevada Make-A-Wish foundation.

The group ran a similar campaign last month. Between the two fundraising drives, Here We Stay raised $17,802 - enough to purchase 1,106 tickets.

The fundraising drive is part of a fan movement to show the NBA that Sacramento is a supportive market for the league. According to a news release from Here We Stay, Sunday's game will include a tailgate party, organized fan chants and "a recording of a Harlem Shake video."

March 18, 2013
Carmichael Dave launches US tour to keep Kings in Sacramento

As the city enters the stretch run in its quest to keep the Kings, one of the team's biggest fans is hitting the road to promote the cause.

Radio personality Carmichael Dave (Dave Weiglein) will take off from Sacramento following Tuesday night's City Council meeting in a purple RV. He'll be joined by a film crew chronicling his journey and is planning to hit between 15 and 20 cities, scheduling appearances with local media as he talks up Sacramento's value as an NBA city.

The "Playing to Win Tour" will hit New York on April 3, the day contingents from Sacramento and Seattle are scheduled to make their pitches to the NBA for the Kings. A group from Seattle has an agreement in place to buy the team, but that deal requires the approval of the league.

March 15, 2013
Sacramento plans three public forums to discuss arena plan

Responding to calls from the public and City Council for a more open discussion about the details of an arena financing plan, the city has now scheduled three forums next week to discuss the proposal.

The city is still negotiating the plan for an arena at Downtown Plaza with billionaire Ron Burkle and does not expect to release the details until Thursday.

The first forum is scheduled to be held that evening, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 915 I St. Another forum is slated for a week from today from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Robertson Center, 3525 Norwood Ave. The third forum is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on March 23 at the Pannell Center, 2450 Meadowview Rd.

March 14, 2013
California Family Fitness to open K Street gym this summer

divebar.jpgPizza, mermaids and, now, pilates.

California Family Fitness formally announced this morning that it was building a gym on the 1000 block of K Street downtown, next to the Dive Bar/Pizza Rock/District 30 entertainment complex. The company said it plans to open the 32,000-square-foot fitness club by late summer.

Besides weights, group fitness classes, cardio machines and other gym staples, the club will also have a rooftop level with an outdoor basketball court and a lounge with fire pits. The company estimates the facility will draw 30,000 patrons to K Street each month.

March 12, 2013
Police officers, firefighters, pools funded by new Sacramento tax revenue

Dozens of new cops will be hired, nearly every pool in the city will be opened this summer and one fewer fire rig will be placed on rotating "brownout" under a spending plan approved tonight by the City Council.

The council voted 8-0 to approve how to spend the first $5 million in funds generated by Measure U, a half percentage point increase in the city sales tax approved by voters in November.

The $5 million covers the sales tax revenue through the end of the current fiscal year. The increase, which starts April 1, is expected to generate $27 million a year for the city.

March 12, 2013
Sacramento city manager: Talks on arena financing plan going well

Sacramento City Manager John Shirey told the City Council tonight that "talks are progressing well" between city negotiators and the investors seeking to build a new sports arena at the Downtown Plaza.

Top city officials are in intense talks with billionaire Ron Burkle over the financing of a new arena. That facility would house the Kings should the NBA reject a deal the team's owners have to sell the franchise to a group in Seattle.

Shirey said he remains on track to deliver a financing term sheet to the council in time for a vote March 26. He said he is hopeful that term sheet will be made available to the council and public March 21.

March 11, 2013
Seattle takes page from Sacramento playbook on PR campaign for Kings

Seattle is revving up its own public campaign to show its strength as an NBA market.

Chris Hansen, the hedge-fund manager who has a deal to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, announced on his website today that he'll launch a "priority ticket waitlist" Thursday for fans who want seats in that city's new basketball arena. He wrote on the site that the pledge drive is "a critical step in demonstrating to the NBA and basketball fans around the country the unbelievable passion that exists in the Emerald City to BRING BACK OUR SONICS!"

Sacramento launched its own season ticket pledge drive in January in an attempt to show the NBA a robust level of support for basketball exists here. As of 5:30 p.m. today, 5,561 fans had pledged to buy season tickets for a new arena in downtown Sacramento - including 14 in the first half-hour after Hansen made his announcement.

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


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