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Judge blocks Sacramento STOP Initiative from ballot, construction crews expected to break ground on new arena in the fall

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March 5, 2014

By Josh Altic

Drawing of the proposed arena

The Sacramento STOP initiative, sponsored by the group Sacramento Tax Payers Opposed to Pork, which sought to require voter approval before the city could authorize any funding of sports arena construction or renovation, was blocked from the ballot on February 26, 2014, by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley, upholding the original ruling by City Clerk Shirley Concolino. Frawley not only said that the initiative was "infected with errors," but also ruled that the initiative violated the city charter by trying “to restrict the City Council’s future power to manage its financial affairs.” This decision did not come as a surprise, since previously, on February 21, 2014, Frawley stated that the petitions were very flawed and that, although each individual error was not serious, the errors taken together added up to a "fatal flaw."[1][2]

Brad Hertz, attorney for STOP and Voters for a Fair Arena Deal, admitted that there were many technical errors in the petition process used by subsidy opponents, but said, “It was a lot of very enthusiastic people with, you might say, too many cooks in the kitchen. All of (the flaws) are minor, technical. … No voters were deceived.”[3] Earlier, when the petitions were first rejected by City Clerk Shirley Concolino, STOP published a press release that said, “This is a very dark day for democracy in Sacramento. The city clerk is trying to use a small number of minor and insignificant printing errors in the initiative petition to disenfranchise Sacramento voters.”[4]

This decisions leaves developers working for the Sacramento Kings free to begin work. Construction crews are expected to break ground on the new arena in the fall.[2]

Similar measures

Sports arenas

Project veto referendums and building restriction measures