As great as it’s been to focus on basketball and free agency and trades, there are people who want to force us back to fighting for a new arena. While I don’t want to give the members of STOP (Sacramento Taxpayers Against Pork) any more attention than they deserve, I think it is important that Kings fans understand what has been going on recently.
We’ve known about STOP for a while now, but city officials dismissed their efforts and most of us didn’t take them too seriously. However, that was before they started playing dirty. Several news outlets have reported that the organization may have been telling citizens that the petition was to help build the arena when it was in fact a petition to try and prevent the arena from being built. They have also been telling lies about the specifics of the plan, claiming that the city is going to raise taxes to pay for the arena, which is not true.
While STOP leaders have denied these accusations, I would just like to point out that some of their excuses for these “mistakes” are pretty week at best and laughable at worst. The first excuse, as quoted in an article on News10.net:
“Tab Berg, a political consultant working on the STOP campaign, denied that paid signature gatherers are deliberately lying to voters.”
He said any misstatements were likely caused by signature gatherers trying to explain a complicated financing plan with just a few key words.”
I don’t know, but I think it’s pretty easy to say, “The city wants to sell their parking spaces and other assets and use that money to build a new downtown arena” instead of “”They’re going to increase taxes because the arena costs a quarter of a billion dollars to build and they want to impose those taxes onto voters,” as one STOP signature gatherer was caught on video saying. It’s not that “complicated” a sentence. I didn’t use any big words. It seems pretty simple to explain the gist of the arena financing plan in a “few key words.” At least if you are telling the truth.The next excuse is even more laughable. Again, from News10:
DowntownArena.org posted a photograph of a hand-drawn sign that was attached to a petition outside a Greenhaven supermarket that purportedly shows one signature gatherer’s dishonesty.
“Help Sac City Build Arene (sic)” the sign said.
Berg said the signature gatherer believes a pro-arena advocate taped the sign to the petition board while a second person created a distraction.
“Just to create a scandal,” Berg said.
So this is the story we are supposed to believe:
Once upon a time, at least two sneaky Kings fans spied the innocent STOP signature collectors and decided to plot how to sabotage the effort. And then, instead of simply trying to convince people not to sign the petition as other arena proponents have been doing, these diabolical Kings fans supposedly had a more scandalous plan in mind.
“I’ll draw up a sign really quickly that says ‘Help Sac City Build Arene,’ because while I have been reading about this arena plan for years, and have seen the word “arena” about a thousand times, I still don’t know how to spell “arena” properly but that’s okay I’ll just go ahead and write it this way,” says one Kings fan to the other. “And then I’ll go and tape it to their sign! That’ll show ‘em!”
“I don’t understand,” says the other Kings fan. “Everybody loves the arena, won’t that help them get more signatures?”
“No, because then we will take a picture of it and show it to the press, which will make it look like they are lying and bring shame to their organization and ruin their credibility! BUAHAHAHAHA!”
“Brilliant! Oh just think of the scandal! I salivate at the mere thought! But wait, won’t they see you trying to tape that sign to their table and try to stop you?”
“They might. That’s why I need you to create a diversion.”
“Yes, I will set off this firecracker in the parking lot while you tape the sign. That way, our plan is sure to succeed!” Then the two Kings fans implemented this strategy flawlessly and the specific STOP activists were so ashamed that they had fallen for such a cruel trick that they hid away and let their bumbling leader Tab Berg try to explain it all to the local television reporters. Meanwhile, the Kings fans watched the news at home and chortled with glee at the scandal they had wrought.
All jokes aside, it’s very important that Sacramentans understand the truth about the arena deal. If enough Sacramentans are truly so opposed to the arena, then perhaps we should have a vote. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. However, if the signatures are being collected in a dishonest way, then that is a disgrace. If the organization collecting signatures is using funding from out of town sources, as Carmichael Dave has claimed, that only makes things worse.
Kings fans may be called upon once again to fight for our team. Make sure your friends know the truth about the arena plan, and encourage them to support it. But remember that the challenge that STOP is nothing we haven’t seen and conquered before. #HereWeStay