FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Hoop schemes: Sacramento’s corporate bid for an NBA All-Star Game

Sacramento might host the NBA All-Star game in 2022 or 2023. Just ask Vivek Ranadivé, the owner of the Sacramento Kings, and Christopher Lehane, Airbnb’s head of global policy & public affairs.

“It is a chance for Sacramento to continue its transformational economic development and showcase world-class sustainable efforts and the loudest fans in the NBA,” they opined in The Sacramento Bee. “We think it is a slam dunk.”

Why are their hopes high? The gravy train is rolling and the duo like that. The Kings, a perennial NBA Western Conference cellar dweller, received a robust hand from the taxpaying public to build the Golden 1 Center, the team’s downtown arena that opened in 2016.

The economics and politics of this sports arena opening reveals the vital role of government in private wealth-creation. Former two-term Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a retired NBA guard and full-fledged member of what Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford calls the African-American political mis-leadership class, led a campaign to prevent a public vote on this public subsidy for a basketball arena. It was a success—for some, not so much for others.

Consider this. “Eye on Sacramento (a budget watchdog group) calculated that the city taxpayers’ total subsidy of the new arena amounted to $333 million – not counting $350 to $400 million of future interest payments on the city’s $300 million arena bonds,” according to Craig Powell, the group’s president.

This public subsidy to an NBA franchise has in part helped Ranadivé to amass a net worth of $700 million. It is nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile, downtown and the adjacent Midtown Sacramento is gentrifying. New apartments and restaurants are open. Taxpayers invest in non-public real estate such as the Golden 1 Center that reaps private profits. A Forbes reports details the proverbial bottom line.

“Downtown property sales have totaled nearly $885 million since Golden 1 Center construction began. In the last year, 11 downtown properties with more than 1.3 million square feet of space sold, totaling approximately $359 million.”

What preceded this? The answer is displacement of low-income people. Take the closing of a single-residency occupancy rental property such as the downtown Senator Hotel. On paper, the former SRO tenants there were to move into other rental units; however, there were tenants occupying them, according to Veronica Beaty, policy director for the Sacramento Housing Alliance. Did someone say shell game?

Meanwhile, downtown and Midtown Sacramento renters are struggling to find affordable housing. When supply drops, demand and prices rise. This is not theoretical physics, folks.

“We have seen the highest rent increases in the nation,” Beaty said. “It’s not fully attributable to the Golden 1 Center, but that has put pressure on our affordable housing stock.”

Welcome to the economics and politics of neoliberalism. The well-heeled demand and receive via government public dollars for private wealth-creation. The Sacramento City Council “attracts” investment of multi-millionaires like Ranadivé through taxpayer-funded projects such as the Golden 1 Center where the NBA Kings play.

Low-income people get higher rents. What is not to like for real estate investors? Such “transformational economic development” profits them to no end. Call it a slam-dunk.

More articles by:

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email sethsandronsky@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail