Voters for a Fair Arena Deal forms today to gather initiative signatures, change tone of arena discourse

Voters for a Fair Arena Deal, a small coalition of Sacramentans in favor of increasing residents’ input and ensuring fiscal responsibility on the new Kings arena, launched today to help gather arena ballot signatures and change the tone of dialogue surrounding the city’s largest construction project to date.

“We’re very troubled by the leveraging of Sacramento’s fiscal future by the plan that’s currently on the table,” said VFAD’s Isaac Gonzalez in a press conference this morning. “That’s why a group of residents and business leaders are meeting today to come up with [an] alternate plan.”

According to Craig K. Powell, president of Eye on Sacramento and one of the 12 core members of VFAD, the group will function completely apart from Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (or STOP), the anti-arena group whose signature-gathering initiative has been mired in controversy surrounding secret funding from Seattle investor Chris Hansen and paid signature gatherers from outside the region.

But that doesn’t mean they can ignore STOP all together.

While they aver to be pro-arena and pro-Kings staying in Sacramento, VFAD is also for the ballot initiative, and will begin gathering signatures this week.

As the ballot initiative was introduced by STOP, VFAD must provide them with the signatures they gather for filing with the city. In order to ease public concern, VFAD says they will have only one contact person with STOP (Powell), and the groups will only interact via email.

VFAD is acutely aware of Sacramentans’ issues with STOP, which is why they’ve compiled an eight-point code of conduct that includes educating signature gatherers on facts surrounding the current arena deal and immediate public disclosure of contributions over $250.

The group says they have received around $10,000 in contributions. They will disclose the “four or five” contributors that have donated over $250 tonight on their website.

Along with Gonzalez and Powell, members of VFAD include former SMUD director Susan Patterson, Ken Payne of the Sacramento Taxpayers Association, politico Tab Berg and Eye on Sacramento’s Dennis Neufeld. Patterson admits to having donated a “small” amount to STOP, and Gonzalez admits to taking part in the signature-gathering process with the group in the past.