Here we build

Paul Friedman is a native Sacramentan, Kings fan, UCLA graduate and is a student at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management

As a native Sacramentan, it’s beyond difficult to describe the past year of highs and lows regarding the Kings. Sacramento rallied and responded to the world that the Kings are our team. While the Maloofs’ decision not to proceed with our public-financing package is frustrating and saddening, we need to remember Mayor Kevin Johnson’s original message that a new entertainment and sports complex is not only about the Kings. It’s about us as a community.

The future prosperity, growth and direction for Sacramento is in our hands, not the Maloofs,’ and it is our duty to proceed with our vision. The Maloofs are our guests; we have supported the Sacramento Kings through wins, losses, signings and trades, ownership transitions and the tenuous process of developing a new facility.

But the Maloofs do not control nor dictate how we proceed. We need to now focus our attention away from the team and back toward the future of revitalizing downtown. Sacramento must continue progress on building an ESC, a vital piece for the future prosperity of the region. With AEG as a partner, Sacramento will be able to have first-class entertainment and events, similar to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and since AEG would have only received a fraction of revenue on game nights, it could still be an attractive investment for them.

Without the Maloofs’ contribution, we’ll need to make up that shortfall. Possibilities include asking AEG to invest more in return for more control of revenues. Perhaps CalPERS and CalSTRS are interested in making an investment, since the venture would provide hundreds of jobs and the revenue splits can be structured to help hit required returns. Corporate supporters might invest in return for ownership or future perks. We could also consider public sale of ownership interests, with owners’ names memorialized and possibly being exempt from some surcharges.

By continuing with the development of an ESC, our city will do what is in our best long-term interest. At the same time, we would most likely place pressure on a relocation committee if and when the Maloofs choose to file. If the Kings decide to become a tenant in the future, their lease will be adjusted accordingly.

This is no longer about trying to save the Kings. Let’s focus on our future. Here we build!