Jim Ruffalo: Placer County may have pleasure of helping fund that new arena

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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Selling off the pages of the notebook while trying to raise enough money for a gallon of gasoline ... And as long as we’re discussing attacks on our wallets, consider the Sacramento Kings. True, the nearby NBA team’s request to move to Orange County got turned down like a motel bedspread, but that doesn’t mean our money is safe, even way out here in Placer County. In fact, our greenbacks should be on an endangered species list once we found out that state Sen. Darrell Steinberg has become involved in the matter. For those of you with memories as short as the run of Paul Reiser’s latest TV show, it should be pointed out that the last time Steinberg stuck his nose in this direction, it was when he was touting his AB 650, an assembly bill in which he proposed that Sacramento’s neighboring counties should send some of their sales-tax money to Suckatomato in the interest of fairness. As usual, “fairness” was defined only as to how Steinberg wanted it described. He claimed that Sacramento had the bulk of the shopping and automotive malls, so it was only right that Placer and its neighbors pony up some dough. Both the Gentle Reader and myself know full well the logic behind that proposal was about as strong as a PG&E canal outside Colfax, but that didn’t stop Steinberg from trying to steal our dough. Thankfully, even the Democrats couldn’t support something as futile as AB 650, so it died a quiet death. But now be warned, Steinberg has placed himself squarely in the forefront of trying to put together a package of everybody’s money — except the NBA’s — to try to build a new arena for the Kings Checking with local supervisor Jim Holmes, I learned that the thought of having neighboring entities help Sacramento pay for the new arena has already been sprung upon us yokels. “Yes,” Holmes admitted, “the idea has already been taken to our economic development people because clearly it is in the best interest of our region to have (the Kings) nearby.” Well, does that mean that it is clearly in our best interest to help Sacramento pay for a new arena? Holmes quickly added that if that becomes the working proposal “we’re not going down that route.” Make no mistake — Sacramento has just about 300 days not only to come up with a viable arena proposal, but to ensure that it will be built. Anything less than that, and — in my learned opinion — the Kings have already been guaranteed enough votes to move out of here in time for the 2012 season ... No place like Holmes: As most of us know, we are in the midst of realigning elective districts because of the latest census figures. And also well-known is that the bulk of Placer County’s population growth has been centered upon the Roseville-Rocklin-Lincoln area. That was made crystal clear when Placer County Supervisors were recently shown the proposed supervisorial district boundaries for the next 10 years. As was earlier predicted in this column, 3rd District Supervisor Jim Holmes’ current residence might wind up in a different district. However, that does not mean that Holmes is in the market for a new home. “I get the feeling my current home will most assuredly be in the 3rd District when all of the (realignment) has been approved,” he said. “The new district will probably have a boundary at Dry Creek, then run to Joeger Road. It probably will lose much of the city of Auburn, and pick up some of Rocklin.” Holmes probably is correct for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because once the new boundaries are proposed and discussed, it’s still those very same supervisors who have the the final say on just where to draw the line. Granted, Holmes could easily make the case that his small corner of the world should be grandfathered in, especially in light of the fact that he could accept having his home in District 5, where he would take on incumbent Jennifer Montgomery. No doubt, neither of them wants that. Which brings us to the theory of professional courtesy. Unless a seated supe has a very personal problem with other board members, then he or she is not about to be redistricted out of a job. Maybe in the big time, but certainly not at this level, not when it’s well established that 10 years is a short time in politics, and you could be the target the next time around. Final note: Thanks to Mark Spannagel, chief of staff for local State Senator Doug LaMalfa. He e-mailed that last week’s column made him realize that he did not receive my message seeking info on the recent California Republican Assembly convention and donnybrook. Spannagel not only provided several contact numbers, but also promised better communications in the future. By the way, still no response from the offices of either Congressman Tom McClintock or Assemblyman Dan Logue. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. Reach him at