The Mayor wants any interested groups to answer basic questions like: What’s the site? Who’s involved? And how will it be paid for? The deadline for applications: 45 days.
Johnson: “This is something that is going to expedite; it’s gonna be something I believe will bring to bear at least one or two proposals. If there’s more than that, that’s great. We cannot have all of our eggs in one basket at Cal Expo.”
Johnson was referring to the only existing arena proposal out at the Cal Expo state fairgrounds – one that has shown little progress in two years of negotiations.
Any new proposals that come in will be evaluated by a task force with members picked by the mayor. The city manager runs Sacramento’s day-to-day operations – but assistant city manager John Dangberg says his office has no objection to the mayor’s effort.
Dangberg: “I don’t expect that the city manager’s office or city staff will be sitting on that task force, but it is likely that we will be at the table observing the process and participating from the outside.”
That way, Dangberg says, if the mayor and task force DO send one or more projects to the city for a closer look, city staff will already be up to speed.
Hey, Mayor, About Your Engagement ...
Besides the arena, there was another subject that had reporters grilling Mayor Johnson Tuesday at his weekly press conference: his recent engagement to Washington DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Johnson says he and Rhee plan to keep their relationship bi-coastal for the foreseeable future. But he says it could be worse – he goes back east a lot on city business, and she comes out to Sacramento every few weeks too.
Johnson: “Two times a month, we usually get lucky enough to see each other. The two days or so we get to see each other over the weekend is maybe more than some marriages or couples who live in the same household actually get together.”
As for how he proposed?
Johnson: “No way, no way! But I will tell you this – it was effective and it worked!”
The mayor says there’s no wedding date yet – and probably won’t be for a while.