Sacramento Downtown Arena Debate

SACRAMENTO, January 6, 2014 – The second community debate on public financing for a new downtown arena will be held between John Hyde and R.E. Graswich on Thursday, January 9, at the Pocket-Greenhaven Library, 7 – 8 p.m.

The event is hosted by Inside Publications, monthly news magazines serving the communities of East Sacramento, Land Park, Pocket and Arden. Former Sacramento City Council member Rob Fong will moderate.

“Hosting this event makes perfect sense for us,” said Cecily Hastings, Publisher, Inside Publications. “Our readers are engaged, they’re interested in the issues that affect their neighborhoods, and they look to INSIDE Publications as a source of relevant information.”

Access to information is a key point. The first arena debate between Hyde and Graswich at North Natomas Library in December was briefly disrupted by two audience members who objected to the presence of TV and personal video cameras. Debate organizers promise free access to all cameras at future debates.

“We’re honored to work with Cecily Hastings,” Graswich said. “Inside Publications aligns with our primary goal – to bring the arena debate to communities around Sacramento. That’s why we’re taking steps to ensure these debates are free to the public, open to the media, and unrestricted with respect to video.”

The first debate, moderated by former Sacramento City Council member Lauren Hammond, was highlighted by exchanges over the history of public subsidies at the Downtown Plaza arena site. Hyde contended that public redevelopment dollars were wasted on the failed mall’s construction. Graswich said the mall produced sales taxes and the property owners took the biggest financial loss.

The second debate is expected to focus on the public’s right to vote on the arena subsidy. Hyde believes a public vote is appropriate. Graswich claims a public vote is illegal under the City Charter.

“Despite the disruption, the first debate was generally civil,” Hyde said. “But I fully expect the intensity to grow as the debate continues. Graswich and I will continue to challenge each other, and we invite the public to challenge us to defend our positions. That spirit of open, vigorous debate will be vital in helping Sacramento citizens draw their own conclusions about the value of a publicly funded arena.”
Date: Thursday, January 9
Time: 7 – 8 p.m, doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Location: Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library
Address: 7335 Gloria Dr, Sacramento