How many arena jobs actually go to city of Sacramento residents?

How many arena jobs actually go to city of Sacramento residents?

“Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” That was the No. 1 (and No. 2, andNo. 3) justification for the city of Sacramento’s $300 million-plus subsidy for a new Kings arena. We were explicitly promised jobs for Sacramento residents and businesses.

How’s that going so far? “Great!” according to the Kings and arena builder Turner Construction, who gave a PowerPoint presentation on arena jobs to the city council last week.

The real answer is, “We have no idea” where those jobs are actually going. About $303 million in contracts have been awarded, representing 85 percent of the biddable work. About 81 percent went to “local” businesses. The goal was 60 percent. In terms of actual jobs, only 45 percent so far have gone to “local” workers.

Of course, it’s early yet. The city’s arena project manager, Desmond Parrington, notes that only 4 percent of the actual labor has been done.

But what does “local” mean? Those jobs and contracts may have gone to firms and workers anywhere in Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, El Dorado, Placer, Yuba or Sutter counties. Wouldn’t it be good to know how many of those jobs went Sacramento city residents— the folks who are footing the bill for the arena?

No one at the city seems to be asking. Bites was told that’s because “the city is not a party” to any of the labor agreements. Ridiculous. The city is footing the bill for this arena. We should know how many jobs, jobs, jobs are directly benefiting Sacramento, and how many are going to Roseville, Rocklin and Yuba City residents.

After some prodding, Parrington said the city will eventually get the information, sometime before the next arena-jobs report to the council. “We’ve asked for it. I think we’ll get it before March.”

The city council last week also pushed through a mid-decade redistricting plan, redrawing the boundaries of Councilman Jay Schenirer’s District 5 so that it again includes the UC Davis Med Center. The vote was timed to coincide with the fact that neighboring District 6, which includes some of the areas most affected by the switch, currently has no representative on the city council.

Bites asked Oak Park activist Michael Boyd, who was livid about the 2011 redistricting battle that put the Med Center in District 6, “was it right for the council to move district lines with the District 6 council seat vacant?”

“While I would have been more comfortable with a full council, the vote makes it clear the final outcome would have been unaffected” by the presence of a District 6 representative, Boyd replied in an email. Then he wrote, quite passionately, about the wrong he believes was done to Oak Park during the last redistricting.

Bites is tempted to say something like “two wrongs don’t make a right.” But aside from being cliché, there’s really no comparison here. The 2011 redistricting fight happened with the full city council, as part of a public process with lots of opportunities for neighborhood groups and their representatives to duke it out.

What happened last week was something much more underhanded. The council should have at least have waited for the District 6 election this spring. Not one city resident— in Oak Park, Elmhurst or anywhere else—would have been any worse off. Instead, the council majority (with Steven Hansen and Jeff Harris dissenting) went out of their way to screw the residents of District 6. Point made.

The Sacramento League of Women Voters and local government watchdog group Eye on Sacramento last week officially launched their campaign for comprehensive ethics reform at City Hall. They favor an independent redistricting commission, an ethics commission with enforcement power, and stronger laws on transparency and open government. They also want an open process with any reforms fully vetted by the public.

Eye on Sacramento’s Craig Powell said there may even be opportunities for citizens to participate in the drafting of the new laws. That sounds superboring and kind of awesome at the same time. The first public forum will be held in February, and the groups think they can get these reforms on the ballot in June 2016.

It’s not clear how this affects Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “ad hoc” city council committee on good governance. The ad hoc committee of four council members does not allow the public to attend any of their meetings, nor does it make public any of its minutes or meeting notes.

When asked about the citizen effort by radio station KFBK last week, the mayor’s deputy secretary of irony, Ben Sosenko, remarked, “We welcome the input of special interest organizations, even those that are not accountable to voters like elected officials are.”