The battle to build a subsidized arena for the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team has long been tied to San Diego.
The team, bought last year by a big-money high-tech partnership including Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs and his wealthy brothers Jeff and Hal, sons of company founder and Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, is vigorously fighting to stop the arena proposal from going to a public ballot, despite the fact that opponents, calling themselves “Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork” (“STOP,” for short) have gathered what they say are sufficient signatures to put the subsidy question before voters.
Among those against the project has been San Diego's Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, in opposition to a so-called project labor agreement reached between the City of Sacramento and labor unions to provide workers for the project.
Yet another San Diego connection, in the form of Chris Lehane, famously the partner of Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani in their "masters of disaster" consulting operation for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, is currently at work on behalf of the taxpayer subsidy.
As reported here in October 2011, Lehane was employed as an advocate for the project well before the advent of the Jacobs purchase.
While Fabiani has labored for years to corral sufficient public money to build an elaborate new Chargers venue somewhere in San Diego county, his associate Lehane — known in some parts as the "master of the political dark arts" for his opposition research work — is serving as executive director of "Think Big Sacramento," a group set up by the local business-and-political establishment to promote a new basketball arena for the Kings.
A new political committee, named “The 4000,” has been formed by the Jacobs brothers and their allies to advance their arena's cause. According to the group's most recent campaign disclosure statement, filed January 31, Lehane, whose address is reported to be in La Jolla, received $6452 through the end of last year.
On the income side, the committee reported getting $47,353 in non-monetary contributions, including printing, polling, and consulting services, all paid for by the Sacramento Kings Limited Partnership.
Total expenditures were $98,501, with $51,148 in debt outstanding at year’s end.