King Kevin and Company

Oh, how the other half lives!

And lies.

By “other half,” I don’t mean “the wealthy.” They’re as honest as any other group. No, I’m talking about those with their hands on the levers of government power . . . along with their subsidy-seeking cronies.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, an all-star in the National Basketball Association before becoming a politician, is splurging nearly $300 million tax dollars — roughly the city’s entire yearly budget — to build the owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings a brand new arena.

People objected, with 23,000 citizens signing petitions to put this lavish subsidy to a vote. Yesterday, a judge ruled that the measure would be kept off the ballot: errors in the wording of the petition “disqualified” it.

In a prepared sore-winner statement, Mayor Johnson called the petitioners “outsiders” who “have tried to undermine the right of Sacramento to control the destiny of our Kings, our downtown and our future.”

Johnson doesn’t mean the right “of the people” to control. He means his right to dictate for Sacramento even against the will of the majority.

The leader of one group working against a public vote on the arena giveaway attacked local businessman Chris Rufer, charging that “Rufer’s funding . . . is supporting STOP’s effort to steal 4,000 jobs, steal a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform downtown and makes him an accomplice in Seattle’s attempt to steal the Kings.”

Who’s stealing? Those spending their own money so people can vote? Or those blocking a vote so they can spend other people’s money?

“I’m against subsidy, period. It’s simply a moral argument,” Rufer explains. “If it was a subsidy for a fish pond, I’d be against it.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Feb
    27
    10:08
    AM
    Paul Veazey

    I like this Rufer fellow. I’m going to try to shake his hand when I’m next in the Sacramento area. Let the Kings build their own gym.

  2. Feb
    27
    11:20
    AM
    Jay

    What is new about this? Subsidies for sports stadiums, arenas, etc are common. How dare someone suggest that super wealthy team owners spend their money for a stadium or arena. They might have to pay their overpaid wealthy athletes a bit less.

    The hell with fire protection; police protection and decent schools. The stadium or arena is needed.

    And in 3 or 4 years, it will be “old” and the team will threaten to move unless they get a new stadium (or arena).

    New York has budget issues, but had money for NOT ONE BUT TWO new stadiums, and a subsidy for Goldman, Sachs besides.

    Bring on the clowns.

  3. Feb
    27
    1:25
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Washington, DC government can’t seem to keep enough textbooks or functioning school buildings to actually pull off much in the way of a school system, but promptly came up with roughly $700M to build a new baseball stadium. The city council and mayor get their own fancy sky-box to see the games. All normal, though if done in another industry would land both public officials and (so-called) businessmen in prison. And rightfully so.

  4. Feb
    27
    4:49
    PM
    rick

    OT

    An academic study is suggesting staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission are selling stock ahead of enforcement actions.

    The study, first reported in Bloomberg News and conducted by Emory University professor Shivaram Rajgopal and Ph.D. student Roger White, shows that a portfolio of stock that goes long SEC employees’ buys and shorts their sells returns about 4% per year for all securities and returns 8.5% for U.S. stock in particular.

    They found two reasons why: SEC employees are divesting ahead of enforcement actions as well as after the publication in print, but before publication electronically, of corporate insider sells.

    In the dry words of academia, “these results raise questions about potential rent seeking activities of the regulator’s employees.”

    http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2014/02/27/study-suggests-sec-staffers-sold-stock-ahead-of-enforcement-actions/?mod=MW_latest_news

  5. Feb
    27
    6:10
    PM
    Doc Savage

    “They” seem to be all alike wherever they are in public “service”. It’s getting to be a national affliction.

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