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New Group Emerges in Campaign for Public Vote on Arena Deal

SACRAMENTO–

In the Kings’ own version of ‘Game of Thrones’ – Sleep Train versus Downtown Plaza – there’s been a late add in what could be considered the fourth quarter.

With just two months left in the petition drive that could force a public vote on plans for a new Kings facility, Voters for a Fair Arena Deal have formed to add names to that effort.

“We’re in favor of a subsidy we can all afford,” said Craig Powell, an attorney with Voters for a Fair Arena Deal.

Opponents are unimpressed.

“They say they’re pro-arena, but they’re collecting petitions and engaging in a campaign to put the arena on the ballot to try to kill the project,” said Joshua Wood with DowntownArena.org.

The Fair Dealers say they want a new arena, but they also want a plan with more city protections and a smaller union construction role than what’s been announced.

“Roughly 85 percent of the Sacramento market is non-union, so we’re giving a real hand out to the unions … and we’re against it,” said contractor Jason Pengel.

The pro-arena group is drawing a bright line between itself and Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or STOP.

That’s the coalition of voters behind the current petition.

“The debate surrounding STOP and their unfortunate name has grown bitter,” said Fair Arena Deal member Susan Patterson.

The campaign “code of conduct” for Voters for Fair Arena Deal states they want to disclose every donation above $250 on their website within 24 hours.

Members are also pledging not to accept money from anyone like Chris Hansen who wants an NBA franchise – two things that have burned STOP. But their campaign manager is a co-plaintiff with two STOP leaders in a lawsuit against the city of Sacramento over downtown arena plans.

Isaac Gonzalez said he’s still in the suit but he’s creating distance between himself and the folks he previously teamed up with to rail against the city.

“That lawsuit is around events that have already happened. Moving forward I’m not communicating in anyway with Cathcart or Camacho,” said Gonzalez.

The Fair Deal group promises to present Sacramento voters with an alternate financing plan for an arena by the end of the month.