Sacramento developer Gerry Kamilos had a rough day yesterday. He leads the Convergence Group - which spent the last year trying to set up a complex land swap involving the Railyards, Arco Arena and the state fairgrounds, but stalled along the way. Task force member Mark Harris called the Convergence plan an "abject failure" - and he didn't stop there.
Harris: "I'm not only disappointed but I'm offended that we've wasted as much time with the Convergence Group up to this point."
Kamilos called me after the meeting to respond. He says his group made it farther down the path to a new arena than all the failed attempts before it - and he says he has the strongest financing plan of any of the groups.
Kamilos: "Mr. Harris's mean-spirited diatribe demonstrated his total lack of understanding of the Convergence Plan."
Still, the task force gave the other three proposals more positive feedback - two of which are updated from last year: a Natomas Chamber of Commerce bid to keep the arena near its current site; and a group that wants to build the arena downtown, led by local entrepreneur Ali Mackani and McClellan Park developer Larry Kelley.
The team that got the strongest review actually has the least comprehensive plan because it formed just a few weeks ago - at the urging of Mayor Johnson. It's led by veteran Sacramento developer David Taylor, who spoke bluntly of the financing challenge for anyone building the arena.
Taylor: "There's no way in hell this project's gonna get done in any of our lifetimes without public help."
But, he says, it won't be a direct tax - and:
Taylor: "We won't be asking the city whenever we come up with a final plan to throw a bunch of cash at it, risk their general fund for it for 30 years, and then hope like hell everything works out."
Taylor's group wants to build the arena at the Railyards.
The eight-member task force includes a veteran Democratic political consultant, a former Sacramento city treasurer and a local businesswoman. It'll analyze the proposals over the next couple of weeks, then make a recommendation to the city council.