Arena: Highlights of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Wednesday Presser

As negotiations ramp up on a financing plan for a new downtown arena, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson issued a joint statement with NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday.  The two leaders mutually agreed that the next critical arena vote be delayed until March 6th.

The mayor addressed questions about the latest update in the arena project at City Hall Wednesday afternoon.  After the jump, bullet-point highlights of Johnson’s press conference.

  • According to Johnson, the main reason to delay the vote was to “ensure that there’s an adequate time for public and council to review any financing plan.”  As Rob McAllister noted in the final installment of his three-part arena series, agenda reports are typically available for council review five days before an upcoming meeting.  The goal is to have the plan ready by next Thursday – exactly five days before the March 6th vote.
  • In addition to leasing city-owned parking assets, Johnson said Sacramento has been in talks with the county to put their three downtown parking garages in play.  If Sacramento county agrees, that’s extra money that could help close another small funding gap in the project.  Johnson hopes to have some sort of feedback from the county by Tuesday.  It should be noted that two county supervisors, Phil Serna and Jimmie Yee, are members of the Think Big arena task force.
  • As laid out in the press release, Stern and Johnson agreed to a nine-day work plan.  A critical meeting involving the commissioner, league officials, the Maloofs and city negotiators will take place Sunday in Orlando.  Johnson expects” a member or two” of the NBA’s relocation committee to be part of that meeting.
  • The mayor said both he and Stern spoke to officials with AEG on Wednesday.  Will they be in Orlando as well? Said Johnson: “I’m not sure they’re going to be able to make the meeting, but I think we’re very comfortable on their role even if they’re not present at that particular meeting.”
  • Five council members, along with city manager John Shirey, stood with Johnson during his press conference.  Most notably present: Councilmember Darrell Fong, who has expressed reservations about the arena plan in the past.  Sandy Sheedy, Kevin McCarty and Steve Cohn were not present.  Said Johnson of the other city officials attendance: “I think what it is, it’s a full commitment by all council to say that we want to give this a shot.  We all want to get all the information before making a final conclusion in a decisive vote.”
  • The NBA’s relocation deadline has not been extended.  But Johnson is confident that they can get a plan in place suitable for the league, public and council’s liking by March 1st. Said Johnson: “I feel from a city standpoint, as I said earlier, we will deliver our obligation and fulfill every commitment that we’ve laid out since this time last year.  We will honor the March 1st deadline…”
  • In an interview with Turner Sports’ David Aldridge, Stern appeared to conclude that AEG’s involvement will financially contribute to the NBA’s investment.  Johnson didn’t want to speak for the commissioner, but said this about the potential arena operator’s participation: “I think we all feel pretty confident on our end that (their financial contribution) does not go toward the Maloofs’ investment.”

Reminder: CK columnist/contributor Rob McAllister will be providing updates from All-Star Weekend in Orlando.  Be sure to follow him Twitter.

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