Sacramento complex is non-issue for Auburn Chamber, past president says

Placer County chambers say it’s important to be involved in initial talks
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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While several local chambers of commerce have made their support of talks of a new entertainment/sports complex in Sacramento clear, one member of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce said it is a “non-issue.” Representatives from other local chambers say they have to wait and see what the details of the complex could be before they agree to long-term support. According to a recent press release, several chambers have “signed on” to the idea of the new complex by sending in letters of support to the “Think BIG Sacramento” campaign. According to the release, the Folsom Chamber of Commerce has given its support, and in Placer County the Roseville, Lincoln and Rocklin chambers have sent in letters. Wendy Gerig, chief executive officer of the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, said its support is not yet of the entire project. “Actually our letter, when we sent it in, and we sent it in fairly early, was in support of the dialogue that was taking place on a regional basis,” Gerig said. “At this point we don’t know any of the details of the arena. We recognize it is an amenity for the entire region.” Gerig said the chamber’s president, Al Johnson, is part of the regional task force looking into the potential new Sacramento arena. “So, we definitely will be kept in the loop from that perspective,” she said. “And also early on we polled our members to get a sense for what they were feeling. Suffice it to say it was overwhelming. I want to say 98 percent of the people responding to our survey were in support of being at the table and having a discussion. Because there were no details to discuss, we couldn’t really get down to a lower level of discussion as to what it is we are supporting, because we don’t know.” To those who might disagree with Placer County being involved in the possible complex, Gerig said she thinks it’s important to at least be involved in the preliminary talks. “I think … the broader the outreach, the more information we will have in order to make the right decisions for how we move forward, because I think this is a very important decision for our region,” she said. Bill Radakovitz, past president on the Auburn Chamber of Commerce executive board, said the chamber hasn’t been asked to give it’s support and that a discussion about getting involved in the task force hasn’t come up. Radakovitz said the chamber did attend the recent chamber regional meeting in Roseville where Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke about the initiative, but he didn’t feel it resulted in overwhelming support. “He made a compelling argument for support, but I think it got mixed reaction from the Placer County communities,” Radakovitz said. “Some people probably felt we should and I think the majority of people probably felt it was a Sacramento issue and they should deal with it.” Radakovitz said he doesn’t think the Auburn chamber will have any sort of future action item regarding the complex, and his personal thoughts are that he would need to see how it could benefit Placer County. “I think Placer County and the cities in Placer County are financially pretty strapped right now, and I don’t think taxpayers are willing to increase what they are paying now to support that project,” he said. “It’s a pretty expensive project, and my personal feelings are it should be supported by private interests. I would have to see the benefits coming to Placer County from that structure. That’s my personal feeling.” Dave Butler, chairman of the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said the chamber is supporting investigating a funding source for the potential complex by participating in the regional task force, but it has not yet approved being a part of any sort of funding for the building. “This is a very important initiative for the entire region, and it’s important to have a seat at the table,” Butler said. “And the leadership of the Rocklin Chamber was gratified to be part of it.” Joe Gagliardi, chief executive officer of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has given its support of the initial talks, but isn’t ready to say it would be for the project. “We are looking to see what it looks like in totality, and then we will re-evaluate,” Gagliardi said. “It depends on how they choose to have the money supported. I think that that’s all predicated on what it looks like. I think our approach was, ‘It’s worthy of continuing the process,’ more so than saying, ‘Hell no, we won’t go.’” Reach Bridget Jones at