Johnson's A's Talk: Jockeying for Position on Kings Arena?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, February 27, 2009

Whenever a team tries to build a new stadium or arena, there’s always a bit of gamesmanship afoot.  Hence the unsubstantiated rumors that cities like Anaheim and San Jose are interested in the Kings if the Cal Expo arena doesn’t work out.  So it’s no surprise that Sacramento might push back a bit.  Still, Mayor Johnson managed to raise some eyebrows at his State of the City address this week when he talked about what Sacramento should do if the Kings leave town.
Johnson: “I don’t care if it’s the Oakland A’s, I don’t care if it’s the Golden State Warriors, we have to have a top-notch world-class franchise in our city.” 
You know that little laugh in the audience after we heard the word “A’s?”  That’s not an accident.  The team’s effort to build a new baseball stadium south of Oakland in Fremont just fell through.  Afterward, the mayor said he hasn’t had talked with the A’s yet, but said there was no reason not to try.
Still, Sacramento State public policy professor Bob Waste thinks Johnson wasn’t just tossing teams out there for the heck of it.
Waste: “I think it was posturing, but mayors are supposed to posture.  He was sending out a signal right before important negotiations on the basketball arena.  He was doing exactly what mayors are supposed to do in the situation.” 
In fact, today’s meeting could go a long way towards cementing the Kings future in Sacramento -- or it could be a big step back.  So rumors about Anaheim, San Jose and the Oakland A’s might not go away anytime soon.