The group Mayor Johnson formed to defend public subsidation of a downtown arena says the Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork should be forced to pay the cost of verifying the signatures they delivered to the City Clerk's office earlier this week.
Shortly after the STOP group turned in about 35,000 signatures in an effort to put the $258 million arena subsidy to a vote, Kevin Johnson addressed the media:
"As elected officials, a mayor and council, it is within their purview to make a decision to go forward on an arena and we have done that 22 straight times. If the public says they don't like that ability, they want to do a ballot initiative. That is part of the democratic process, which I certainly support," he said.
On the other hand, Joshua Wood, executive director of a coailtion supporting the subsidy, says STOP should have to pay the cost of signature validation,
"The opposition has gone out of their way, to subvert the democratic process by secretly starting their campaign using money that was a secret donation by Chris Hansen from Seattle," Wood said.
The City Clerk is requesting a full count of the petitions at an estimated cost of $90,000-100,000 dollars. The Clerk's office has received more than 15,000 withdrawl forms.
As a side note, a survey of 4800 people by downtownarena.org shows 69% of respondants support the new arena, with 16% not supporting and another 16% undecided.