Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arena Pro

This is right, we now have a real pro helping us cut a deal we can all be proud of, rather than the rather sad spectacle (of well-intentioned people way over their head down there in Vegas land) last time around.

Marcos Bretón: Wilson's the right guy for arena talks
By Marcos Bretón -
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When Sacramento officials flew to Las Vegas last summer to "negotiate" an arena deal with the Kings owners, the locals were like chickens entering a rotisserie.

They weren't guests at Joe and Gavin Maloof's table. They were the main course.

With all the leverage stacked in the Kings' favor, the Sacramento folks emerged from meetings as if flattened by a Peterbilt. The Maloofs emerged like they'd had a visit to a masseuse.

Hold that thought. And fast forward to former California Gov. Pete Wilson being retained by Cal Expo officials as the top gun against the NBA in the new effort to negotiate construction of an arena at Cal Expo.

Wilson's fee of $400-an-hour has evoked sarcasm – especially as a "discounted" price.

Get over it. It could turn out to be a bargain.

If there is one thing the former governor understands, it's power and how to use it. Because of this – and because Wilson has advantages his predecessors didn't – Sacramento arena negotiations are in a fair fight for the first time.