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Ruffalo: County’s support for new arena is no slam dunk

By: Jim Ruffalo, Looking Behind the Scenes
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Supervisor Uhler suggests citizen involvement We all are painfully aware that the Sacramento Kings very much want Placer County taxpayers to help pay for a new home court, but if those NBA folk are expecting a slam dunk, perhaps they need to check in with Fourth District Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler. Uhler was appointed by BOS chair Robert Weygandt to be the county’s representative to a hastily gathered lash-up of neighboring counties, all of which are expected to help out the local NBA team. Truth is, the group was put together to get taxpayers from the various counties to dig deep. After all, the local Maloof clan supposedly is down to its last million or two, and would hate to dig into its own wallet in order to finance the project. Uhler isn’t going for the full-court press on the opening tip-off. “While I’m looking forward to hearing what the Mayor (Kevin Johnson) has to say, I also want to see the team’s financial statements, and hear what the NBA and Maloofs’ portions of the expenses will be,” he said. Whatever the final outcome will be, it will be based upon economics rather than a rah-rah opportunity of occupying courtside seats to a future Kings game (without having to drive to Anaheim). “And that economic decision has to be made on the basis of what is best for the region, and not just Sacramento,” Uhler said, adding that he’s a believer in the concept of regional enterprises provided they’re done properly and are not one-sided. He said a plus for the Kings is that more than half of their employees reside outside of Sacramento, meaning that more than a few Placer County citizens may be drawing paychecks from the team. And some time during the discussion, Uhler promises to unveil a fast-break, at least for the more traditionally minded NBAers who want to just sit back and take our money. “Right now, it seems we’re being asked only for taxpayers’ involvement, but why not think about making us partners in the solution,” he said, adding that an idea might be for individual citizens to become investors in the new arena, and therefore take part in divvying up future profits. Uhler agreed that the local entrepreneurship involvement in professional sports franchises seems to be working well for the NFL at Green Bay. There, the Cheeseheads own much of the team’s stock, and take an extreme interest in the Pack’s operations. For instance, anytime there’s a blizzard there, which could happen as late as the Fourth of July, fans show up in droves, shovels in hand, to rid the stadium of snow in time for kickoff. Uhler has an interesting idea, and it sure beats just forking over taxpayers’ money to a team that really should be building its own arena ... LOPland: The beleaguered denizens of nearby Lake of the Pines are in the throes of another election cycle, that every two-years endeavor to elect members to the Board of Directors. There are two vacancies, although many LOPlanders say it should be three with one current director reportedly ailing and about to submit his letter of resignation (right after the election, that is, so that the Board can appoint its own minion). There are just two candidates, meaning that — again— those who reside within the Walled City have about as much choice as does the Venezuelan electorate. However, there is one ballot measure, that being an advisory vote on whether to prohibit garage sales. Actually, to be legally correct, the ballot should have said yard sales, because the homeowners association can ban those. But garages being indoors, well, there have already been court cases severely limiting a homeowners association from holding sway on what goes on inside private dwellings. Now it wouldn’t be an LOP election without a little controversy, and there is that this time around. Seems that a careful revue of board minutes shows that placing the garage sale item on the ballot was never discussed, not voted upon, causing me to question the bona fides. Director Chuck Lautrup fessed up to placing said item on said ballot without first seeking board approval. “We’ve had complaints in the past on how such sales are (messy) and I wanted to take the temperature of the residents to see what they thought about banning them,” he said. “It’s just an advisory vote, not binding, although I suppose the process should have been done more formally.” Lautrop’s version of “more formally” probably meant taking the matter to the board in the first place, and he should remember that there are two ways to take a temperature, and one is much more preferred than the other.