Sacramento tells citizens the NBA needs subsidies; future Kings owner turns down NBA subsidy. Huh?

On Vivek Ranadivé's free-money dis. Plus: Liz Studebaker leaves the Midtown Business Association, guns and Thai food.

I probably shouldn’t call out Sacramento Kings suitor/savior-elect Vivek Ranadivé. He has a black belt in karate.

But Sacramento’s promised the guy $300 million in free cheese to build a downtown arena, so it’s OK to feel scorned: Earlier this week, multiple media outlets reported that Ranadivé—should he buy the team after the NBA board holds its final vote this coming Wednesday—will forgo NBA revenue sharing.

The NBA money machine works like this: Teams in world-class cities—New York, Los Angeles—rake in more lucrative TV contracts than broke-ass Sacramento. But the NBA needs this cow town, apparently, so those big dogs share a few bones with runts like Sacto and Milwaukee; it’s the “a rising tide lifts all boats” thing. And these NBA subsidies are worth upward of $25 million a year, according to reports.

But Ranadivé and Co. reportedly were worried that league owners would prefer Seattle over Sacto, since the Emerald City would be a payer into this revenue-sharing pot and not a moocher. So, they promised the NBA board of governors that they wouldn’t take any handouts once the new arena was built.

Ranadivé—who is part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, so he knows what he’s turning down—insists that there will be sufficient new-arena revenue to compensate the forsaken millions. But the move still baffles.

And stings: Mayor Kevin Johnson fed us Sacramentans the line that billionaire whales wouldn’t be interested in our city unless we put out hundreds of millions in public funds to erect a new arena. That our market couldn’t compete, so we needed public subsidies. But now Ranadivé says he doesn’t need the biggest subsidy of all? So much for that logic.

The bummers abound this week: Liz Studebaker is leaving Midtown.

The Midtown Business Association executive director, in her second year on the job, was doing the neighborhood right. Unlike so many city leaders, she was actually out there, a face at events, which is so important: This city needs people who get it.

She was accessible, sure, but she also actually knew how to navigate neighborhood and business interests without igniting a Midtown apocalypse. And she brought excellent projects to the community, like the new Saturday farmers market on J and 20th streets.

Sadly, San Diego, Studebaker’s former home base, also knew she was the real deal. And a gig with that city down south apparently was too good for her to turn down. The MBA will begin its search for a new leader this month and hopes to lock in Studebaker’s successor by July.

What won’t be leaving Midtown: guns.

On Tuesday, a city council microcommittee was scheduled to discuss its latest firearm ordinance. Sacramento has little control over regulating guns outright, but can impact policy via zoning rules.

The new ordinance introduces the idea of “conditional use permits” for gun shops, according to Randi Knott with the city. What this means is that, not unlike alcohol permits for bars and restaurants, restrictions can be placed on firearm stores within the city limits.

Meanwhile, all existing gun shops, such as M & J Gun Trade on J and 23rd streets in Midtown, will remain.

Which isn’t that big of a deal. As Knott explained, she was curious about “how many firearms have been stolen from gun dealers and firearms dealers over the last five years” in Sacramento. So, she poked around.

“The answer was zero,” she told SN&R.

Quick observation: What’s up with all the new Thai food spots on the grid?

There’s one taking over the former Mati’s Indian Express location on 16th Street. And Sawasdee Thai Cuisine opened last week at the revolving-door former home of Mongo Mongo Mongolian BBQ and that short-lived garlic-mecca joint before it.

That makes nearly 10 Thai spots on the grid—not counting the two dueling-neighbor Thai restaurants on Broadway.

I’m all for a plate of rad na every so often. But the grid now has more than the Thai-restaurant capital of America: Davis.