Tuesday, February 28, 2012

leave it alone

Cool, torrential rain should really help the attendance at the Anchor event tonight.  Oh well.  I'm stoked about a sandwich and a Liberty Ale and watching the Beer Hunter.

I know a lot of important stuff went down in Sac yesterday.  The arena, the White Supremacists vs. Occupy, but let's talk about something that really important:

All the cars I've ever had have had over 100,000 miles, some way over.  At that point, things start to break, such as door handles, windows, etc.  One of the things that often breaks is the thing that pops the gas cap open.  My blue Geo had that problem, and now my 92 Honda has that problem.  So to open it, I need two people, one to press the thingy on the inside and one to press the thingy on the outside (like sex).  I hate asking people at the gas station to do it.  So you would think the solution would be to just leave the thing popped all the time (like sex), right?  Well, I try to do that and every time, within a day, some psychopath walking by shuts it.  Why? Why? Why? Do you think this is your good deed for the day?  Do you think someone is going to STEAL MY GAS if you don't do this?  Have you ever actually seen anyone siphoning gas out with a garden hose and mouth suction (like sex)?  This is not the depression, no one is doing that!!  Leave it alone, I beg you. Do another good deed, like picking a gum wrapper up off the sidewalk.

OK, I just have to comment on this arena headline: elation now - big votes next.  Elation? Isn't that a little strong?  Besides K.J., Breton, and a few developers who stand to make a bunch, is anyone really "elated"?


Anonymous said...

Yes, there are a lot of people in the city who are elated that tentative agreement on the arena has been reached. Sorry to burst your bubble there.

Anonymous said...

I just went on a walk. The sense of elation in the air was intense.


Anonymous said...

Kings fans are definitely elated. Irrationally so, considering how much this deal stinks and how likely it is to fall apart when the Maloofs have to pony up the $.


beckler said...

I guess I just don't know any Kings fans. They're not allowed in my bubble. But now that that guy burst it, how am I going to keep them out? I bet that guy is the one shutting my gas tank, too. Damn bubble burster.

Anonymous said...

Break the door to the gas tank off. But you may want to get a locking gas cap. People stealing other people's gas was a real problem before manufacturers started puting those little doors on.

Anonymous said...

Actually it was a real problem before manufacturers started putting anti-siphoning screens and rollover valves in the filler pipe.

The Armeniac said...

Bubble burster, like sex?

Break of the cover and get a locking cap, people are gonna start stealing gas soon, and we are actually in a Depression fyi!

The Armeniac said...

Also rollover valves in filler pipe sounds like sex too!

Anonymous said...

Can you just bend the little metal piece on the door back into the correct shape? or is a part actually broken off or missing?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one wondering why you don't just get the lever fixed? Seems like the simplest solution here.

The Armeniac said...

Quit bursting bubbles OMF!!

HK said...

You should get that fixed. People do steal gas! I've heard of someone in Curtis Park getting their gas stolen. Mega lame.

Also Mega lame: the new arena. What sealed my absolute disgust over the whole thing was watching one of the Maloofs sobbing like a big rich baby on TV. I really dislike those guys. Bleck.

Anonymous said...

Here's how I would re-frame the arena elation so it is not so vexing.

The arena supporters had to be either cynical, blinded by their biases or epistemically deficient.

Coming to the conclusion that arena subsidies are a bad deal for cities is not a difficult mental task in the age of Google. Some people (i.e., Marcos Breton) acted in bad faith, but most supporters were the kind of people who really wanted to keep the Kings in Sacramento and/or weren't smart enough to evaluate the issue rationally.

If you visualize only the bad-faith actors feeling elated, then you are going to feel vexed.

But if you acknowledge that most arena supporters are not your epistemic peers, you'll be more inclined to take a "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" type attitude. The Jesus thing may seem a bit smug, but nonetheless I think it is correct.

The Armeniac said...

I can't believe you think Jesus would support public financing of arenas!!

beckler said...

my coworker fixed the gas thing on my geo with a binder clip, I just keep forgetting to ask him to try fixing this one.

I heard that Joe Maloof was walking down the beach, thinking about the arena, and he noticed only one set of footprints and Jesus was like, "dude, I've got this".

beckler said...

binder clips are also useful during sex

ninja said...

"The Air Up There": a movie about Jesus saving basketball starring Kevin Bacon

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...


I'm going to assume that we are epistemic peers, and you're just being facetious.

A caveat to my comment:

I'm not saying that the "naysayers" are by definition smarter than the supporters. Epistemic peers are not only equal in reasoning and possess the same body of evidence, but value a standard of rationality to the extent that they will make the necessary effort to meet it. It is very possible that a lot of "naysayers" have just jumped on a band wagon, too.

Anonymous said...

In fact, we should test this assumption. Can anyone on this thread concisely explain why an arena is a bad deal for Sacramento? Let's call it the Breton test, since Marcos Breton thinks you all are ignorant sheep. OMF, NM and William Burg should be excluded, because we already know they know.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, you all. Don't let me down. I'm rooting for you.

Anonymous said...

How about this: the deal is swapping an asset (parking) for 50-years in exchange for one of 20-30 years (arena). In other words, what happens when the "new" arena is dubbed "too old" in 2040?

Anonymous said...

I guess I can't complain about this answer being anonymous...

But still, that's a pretty damn good answer!

Yglesias made a macroeconomic point a few weeks back that is somewhat relevant to this idea.


If arenas had a longer shelf-life, it would somewhat rational to justify subsidizing them as a community amenity. It would be more like an investment in the community's quality of life rather than like stockpiling Twinkies.

Any one else want to take a stab?

Darin said...

Hey Anonymous, why don't you make an argument for why it's a good deal? There is no economic argument that makes sense. The only reason to support it is, "I like the Kings being here and am willing to make the sacrifices: massive damage to the city budget for 50 years, more expensive downtown parking, city parking employees losing their jobs, greatly increased downtown & freeway traffice..."

I don't need to explain why I oppose the deal - people who support it need to explain why it deserves support.

Anonymous said...

I believe they've amended the plan from 50 years of parking to 30. Last I heard, anyway.


Anonymous said...

I support the arena for a very simple reason. Sometimes I just like to buy myself something nice.


DJ Rick said...

I had a good answer for why the deal's bad...even from the perspective of likely the biggest Kings fan in this bubble. But I guess I typed the captcha incorrectly. I really don't have the time to type that all over again.

Anonymous said...


In one sense, you are correct. Since some arena supporters have made the claim that an arena will improve the local economy, the onus is on them to substantiate it, since it is an unfair burden to prove a negative.

However, this doesn't absolve us (BTW, I'm a "naysayer", too) from having to justify our beliefs about the issue.

But "massive damage to the city budget for 50 years, more expensive downtown parking, city parking employees losing their jobs, greatly increased downtown & freeway traffic..." are all justifying arguments.

"Massive damage" is an overstatement. The damage is not entirely certain, because the brass tacks have not gone public yet, but I think it is pretty clear that the damage has been purposely limited to an opportunity cost. You just can't raid the coffers anymore, like cities did in the past.

"more expensive downtown parking" Downtown parking should go up anyway, for reasons unrelated to the arena, but it is true that the city won't benefit from this cost increase under the current scheme.

"city parking employees losing their jobs, greatly increased downtown & freeway traffic." Both valid concerns.

thank you, Darin!

HK said...

I really don't understand why they need a new arena in the first place. What's really wrong with Arco/Power Balance/Bankrupt Pavillion? Is a new arena going to make the Kings play better? I don't think so. The Kings have such a loyal fan base even for a team that is not very good. That point is why I could not understand them threatening to move. There is no way another city is going to love them as much as Sacto does.

And this comes from a person who is not a sports fan, but as someone who does not want to get gouged by taxes if this arena thing pans out.

p.s. - Rick, you gotta copy your post before you try and submit. Blogger fucks up half the time.

Anonymous said...


The argument the Kings give is that the facilities at Arco/PBP are "outdated," thus they have a harder timing attracting talent.

It's a signaling problem, basically. Think of all the money colleges waste on making things look shiny and state-of-the-art, so that they can brag about it in their brochures. The same deal with the stadium.

But I'm with you in being mystified by how quickly the value of stadiums degrade. I think the median age of them is 30 years. There are fucking Taco Bells older than that!

The Armeniac said...

OMF, I was pullin yr chain. Love ya to death!
Anon, So many ways to argue with your anonymous statements. But I'll stick to this, parking rates do not need to go up! This is crazy talk. We're in a depression, small businesses can barley hang on and you think increasing the cost of shopping at those businesses is a good idea!?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't parking money go to the (overburdened and broke) general fund right now? What will replace that income in the city budget?


Anonymous said...


The timing of increasing the parking rates I suppose is debatable, but the principal of raising fees and getting rid of free parking is sound. The basic idea is that cheap parking is subsidy to suburban commuters that comes out of the pockets of the less rich urban dwellers. I'm actually getting worn out, so forgive the lack of detail. Burg, didn't you write about this issue?

The Armeniac said...

I've heard the arguments for increased/reduced parking. They seem misguided to me, personally. Raising parking fees hurts street front shops and it's helpfulness for the environment is dubious at best.

Anonymous said...

All I know is this.

There will be many more years.

Of Voisin writing like this.


Anonymous said...

I still say that a $75 million throw rug would really tie this whole arena together. As long as we're splurging, let's fucking splurge!


Anonymous said...

Armeniac: the 'ouch' comment wasn't about you - it was re: the other comment about using binder clips during sex. (so maybe it was about you - i don't want to know.)

And, no, the %$#@ parking rates do not need to increase. They've already gotten high enough that I either ride a bike or skip going anywhere I have to pay for parking, and I LIVE here. Can you imagine average Suburban Joe coming here and paying for parking to go out to eat when he can go to a nice TGI Fridays right by his house and park for free? Not gonna happen.


Anonymous said...

Here's burg's article:

Sacramento Punk Shows said...

I actually know lots of people who are genuinely elated by the arena agreement. While I'm not, I kinda don't want to rain on their parade. They are nice people, they are excited, and it may surprise you to hear, some of them aren't even dummies. Yeah, it's weird, there's some smart people who are excited about the whole deal. And some of them don't even like the Kings that much -- my Monster Truck Show crew is pretty thrilled and there's a bunch of Lakers fans in that group.

I'm not elated (at all) -- although I don't think I would have hit states of elation if the whole thing bit the dust either.

However, while the arena thing is clearly moving ahead, it's definitely a long way from being done and there are plenty of roadblocks still along the way (doesn't somebody have to do an environmental impact review at some point)?

I've been amused at how both sides of this issue have been painting the heinous doomsday scenarios -- I know it's 2012 and all, but I'm struggling to see how it's the end of the world if they do build the arena, or if they don't build the arena. But talking to folks who really care about this issue on both sides, I am struck by the raving hyperbole surrounding this all. But, maybe that's politics these days.

I'm curious to see where it all ends up but kinda think the dueling visions of having an arena equaling death to downtown versus Sacramento achieving the highest levels of universal awesomeness are both more than a little off.

We shall see.

When do we get to talk about the fun stuff like the nazis being exposed and run off and the good/bad aim of Occupy Oakland?

DJ Rick said...

As a Kings fan, I'm glad we will still have a team of lovable losers here. They are a lot more lovable than the Kenny Natt team, and it seems inevitable they will even get to be pretty good soon. I've been a Kings fan from the moment it was announced we were getting a team when I was 10-11 years old. I thought Reggie Theus was cool because he looked kinda like John Oates.

As far as this deal is concerned... I'm not quite elated 'cos I think we should've seen more investment come from the Maloofs who stand to benefit the most. Only $73mil upfront? Has any public/private-partnered major league arena or stadium project required less from the team owners? I don't have any facts...just my memory...and my memory's telling me that this is the lowest number I've heard in as long as I can remember.

The Maloofs you see talking on TV are bumbling, but the one you never see on TV must have inherited all the brains. He shrewdly held all the cards and would not tip the Maloof hand in all of the negotiations since the earliest rumblings of need-a-new-arena. No one ever had even a ballpark figure of what the Maloof contribution would be. That's not negotiating fairly. Of course, once Anaheim offered to pay for everything (even the cost of moving), there was no need for the Maloofs to play fair.

My dream was that the Maloofs got shut down again and applied for relocation to Anaheim. And in the meantime, Seattle poached some other city's team neatly and cleanly. Then, once the move was put to a vote of all the NBA franchise owners, the Maloofs would be denied, with the motivating factor being jealousy that they were getting everything handed to them too easily by the city of Anaheim. Outta frustration, the Maloofs sell the team to David Berkel, and Berkel keeps 'em in Sac with a new arena that costs the citizens nothing...just as he did when he saved the NHL Penguins for Pittsburgh.

I hope that the Maloof's percentage of revenue from this arena is commensurate to their percentage of investment. Otherwise, I think they got too sweet a deal to stay, and a deal that Sacto probably can't afford.

Pro-arena voices have talked pretty big about how an arena can drive a development boom that will uplift the city. That makes enough sense to me, but I have my doubts that the most hopeful projections for this can be realized. I'll be rooting that I'm wrong.

Maybe the peak land value intersection will move north and to the west by a few blocks and take down some of the fake Tuscanized bullshit in Midtown, leaving a few husks for new restaurants within walking distance of my office, and maybe then we can have good Mexican food and maybe pupusas and bahn mi on the Grid.

'Til then, I will continue to roll my eyes whenever I'm watching a Kings road game, and Grant and Jerry talk about what tremendous momentum has been created ever since the new arena was erected in whatever city. Sometimes they're talking about a city I know quite well, and I know well enough that they have no idea what they are talking about. Portland, for instance....The area around the Rose Quarter is actually the blandest part of the city.

Anonymous said...

@punk shows

No, no, no! There are many things in the world that are difficult to understand, but understanding that the arena scheme is a bad deal is not one of them. Therefore, to support the deal, you either have to be cynical, blinded by your biases or epistemically deficient.

Being epistemically deficient doesn't mean your are dumb, necessarily. Maybe you don't care, so you choose not to seek out the truth.

When you paint this gray area where both sides make some hyperbolic points, while the truth lies somewhere in the middle, you distort reality.

There is not a middle ground on this particular issue.

The NBA is a weird business. Labor costs are extremely high, and the profitable TV ad markets are concentrated in a few cities.

However, pro-sport is supposed to be a national past time, so you have teams in less profitable TV ad markets. Thus, owning an NBA team is often not a wildly profitable business, and rich people like the Maloofs don't want to make their teams even less profitable by sinking capital into building sports arenas.

What do they do? They threaten to move the team to another city unless the home city subsidizes the arena. No politician wants to be the person who voted to "get rid of the Kings," so they spin the subsidy to the public as an economic revitalization project.

Economists have measured these projects in city after city for, and they have found that arenas are slightly detrimental to a city's economy. The reason being, people don't dig into their saving to spend more on entertaining when they are presented with more entertainment choices. They will either go to the movies or go to a Kings gave, but they won't do both.

Now there is some measurable probability that Sacramento will be an outlier to this trend. Maybe we'll get extremely lucky. But a prudent person doesn't make decisions on the off-chance that she will beat high odds. That's like playing the Lotto as your retirement plan.

Furthermore, arenas have a very short shelf life, so they aren't even something a city can look forward to passing on to future generations.

In the past, cities have funded their arena subsidies directly from tax dollars, but a few years ago Sacramenteans voted no to fund the arena this way. So KJ, the Maloofs and the NBA have come up with a scheme where the city will lease it's municipal parking lots to a private firm in return for a big lump sum of money to help pay for the arena. The city will lose about $9 million in fees, but apparently the city plans to tax ticket sales to recoup that loss.

To most people, this looks like a good deal, because there doesn't seem like there is any direct cost to the average tax payer.

But there is a huge opportunity cost. The biggest opportunity cost is the city will be stuck with those garages for 30 years. It won't be able to sell them off so that they can be redeveloped into things people may want in the future, such as offices or apartment buildings.

Not everyone agrees with this, but I think municipal parking garages are a regressive subsidy to suburban commuters which encourages bad development trends. For one, it reduces incentive to live downtown. If the garages were privately owned, there would be no political pressure to keep fees below market price. Space is a valuable commodity in city, and it should be priced accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon: I actually have no idea what you mean by 'epistemically deficient.' Do you mean 'ignorant'? I think so.

I looked up 'epistemically' and the definition is: "Of, relating to, or involving knowledge; cognitive."

so, that sounds like 'epistemically deficient' is, in simple terms,

Just a heads up that unless you enjoy talking down to your audience you might think about using terms that someone other than a philosophy major would understand.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the confusion.

But you learned a new word. Silver lining?

Sacramento Punk Shows said...

hey Anon -- not sold on the idea that there is no gray area -- you should see my hair.

I agree with much of what you wrote. I don't think the arena is a good deal for the city, or for me, personally. I just don't think it is the end of the world and I am open to the possibility that things could turn out reasonably well for the city from it all (I'm also open to the possibility that this is a ridiculous boondoggle that folks will regret for a long time).

On one hand the pro-arena forces have been spewing stuffing about how if Sacramento does this we will never ever be as cool as Indianapolis (oh my, how could we ever pass on the opportunity to be as cool as Indianapolis?!) and the anti-arena forces come up with such showstopping zingers as "Economists... have found that arenas are slightly detrimental to a city's economy."

I honestly don't know how this thing is gonna turn out, but I'm glad you think you do.

There's people I know in this city who for all their epistemical deficiencies are cool people and they are genuinely elated about this. And that's kinda sweet to see. (and I'm not talking about KJ, the Maloofs, Grant Napear, or any of the millionaire kings except for maybe Isaiah Thomas -- that dude's rad and may not even be bringing down a mill-- at least not this year),

Since things are definitely swinging in the pro-arena folks' direction at the moment, I'm kind of happy for them and I hope their grand visions of "what the arena will do for Sacramento" play out in some way -- I'm open to that possibility, although if I wanted to live in Indianapolis I would probably move there.

And while you may not see that there could possibly be a middle ground on this issue, it turns out that there are some people who are standing on that middle ground on this particular issue. Perhaps, you may have missed them due to your own personal case of epistemological blindness (which is the way my granpappy always used the term).


p.s. speaking of no gray area, when do we get to talk about nazis?

Anonymous said...

@punk shows.

One could say: Yeah, it's a scam, but I don't care, because I'm stoked about the Kings staying in Sacto.

One could say: There is a chance we exist in a computer simulation that is programmed to simulate all possible outcomes from its set of parameters. Building an arena might be one such outcome.

One could say: Bad government is good, because there is too much of it, and it needs to be discredited as much as possible. Let's build two arenas!

These statements might not be satisfying, relevant or morally acceptable to our epistemic community, but they would not put you outside the bounds of it.

I'm claiming that when one sincerely believes that the arena is going to make the local economy flourish and cost us nothing this puts one outside those bounds. It show that you are not on the same page or working with the same tool. Does this make you ignorant? Possible, but not necessarily.

Think of when Rick Santorum says that climate change is a fraud perpetuated by liberal scientists. How obligated do you feel to take his claims seriously? Me? Not at all, because he does not belong to the epistemic community (i.e., scientist) whom I depend upon to decide these things.

I'm not saying that my claim about our epistemic community (i.e., the citizens of Sacramento) can't be wrong, and I understand why it has riled some on this thread. Isn't it elitist to say that not everybody's opinion counts? Perhaps,but this is how I see it. Our society keeps getting more complex, and the people who must make decisions through the democratic process are less able to cope with that complexity.

Cheer to you, too.

Liv Moe said...

I bet this is the most air time epistemology has gotten on a non-international affairs/feminist/sociology blog in a long time. Next I think we should discuss hegemony as it applies to the strong mayor initiative!