Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is not backing down from a request for information about Microsoft's dealings with California, a gesture that many interpreted as a warning to prospective Sacramento Kings buyer and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
After reports emerged that Ballmer was one of the investors seeking to purchase the Kings and relocate them to Seattle, Steinberg sent a letter to the Department of General Services asking for data about California's contracts with Microsoft and the monetary value of the state's past purchases from the technology giant.
It's ultimately an idle threat, since Steinberg has no way to strip Microsoft of its business with the state of California if the deal goes through*, but leave that aside. What's especially asinine is his reasoning:
"There's something that doesn't feel right about making money working directly with the state of California - in fact, having some of their largest contracts with the state of California - and at the same time using at least some of those gains or profits to try to move a major asset out of the state of California in its capital city," Steinberg said after emerging from a closed-door meeting about the Kings with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and other lawmakers on Thursday.Okay, let's get real here. We're talking about the Sacramento Kings, who were previously the Kansas City/Omaha Kings and the Cincinnati Royals before that, and the Rochester (N.Y.) Royals before that. You'd be hard pressed to find a more nomadic franchise in professional sports. We're also talking about the NBA, where teams change names in midseason (The New Orleans Pelicans?) and completely transform their identities all the time. After all the reason that Seattle is out of the NBA is that their previous team, the SuperSonics, miraculously moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. If the Kings leave, all Sacramento needs to do is wait until some other team gets tired of their market and moves away. You could have the Sacramento Raptors or the Sacramento Grizzlies or the Sacramento Bobcats at any moment. And if the Kings were to move to Seattle, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they'd move again to Des Moines or Macon or somesuch -- that's how the NBA rolls.
*I would love to see California switch over to Ubuntu, although they'd probably have to make sure their software is CARB compliant first.