With a sales-tax/arena decision (Measures Q and R) looming before Sacramento voters, it’s worth looking at a notion often evoked but rarely explored: “civic pride.”
First, a note about the Keystone Kops.
You remember the Kops–silent-movie comedians and Webster’s graphic for “insanely incompetent.” The Kops were hilarious, but no model for civic behavior.
That said, on to “civic pride” and Measures Q (a countywide quarter-cent sales-tax increase for “public projects”) and R (a voter advisory to spend a chunk of that revenue on a new multi-purpose arena).
Details about Q and R have been reported elsewhere, but, in brief, the proposals are trumpeted as a way to revitalize downtown Sacramento by using sales-tax revenue to finance a new arena for the NBA’s Kings. The arena, it is argued, could anchor a breathtaking series of developments and transform the city’s core.
Translation: Joe and Gavin Maloof, owners of the Kings, demanded a fancy new arena and likely will move to another city if they don’t get one. Although frantic to keep the team, Sacramento politicians saw a chance to piggyback on this shakedown to raise money for needed redevelopment.
Everybody gets a little something, provided the Maloofs and politicians hash out a bargain acceptable to each side, and voters bless the deal.