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Scott Ellis 5:15 a.m., July 1
Say what you will about the many stadium proposals littering the California landscape these days, they are very good at providing work for political consultants.
Take for example the longtime partnership of Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane, veterans of the scandals and intrigue of the Clinton-Gore White House era.
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.
It is co-chaired by two of the town's biggest politicos, Democratic state Sen. Darrell Steinberg and his GOP colleague Ted Gaines.
"Think Big Sacramento is a challenge and a statement," says the group's website. "This is our chance to show the country what our region can do by coming together to build a first-class sports and entertainment facility that makes us all proud."
With funding from big business, including AT&T and Anheuser-Busch/Markstein Beverages, Lehane and company have hit the hustings to convince local taxpayers that the city should participate in financing the stadium deal.
(AT&T is a longtime donor of free Kings tickets to legislators and their staffers.)
Yesterday the battle became more heated when Sacramento city councilwoman Sandy Sheedy unveiled a poll showing that 71 percent of respondents want a public vote on any city funding plan.
Lehane quickly lashed back, telling the Sacramento Bee that his group had done an earlier poll that had the majority of the citizenry happy to proceed.
That poll, he said, told respondents that the stadium would be used for other community events in addition to Kings games.
Pictured: Chris Lahane on CBS News