USC Price School of Public Policy

Sacramento Mayor Shares Insights with MPA Students

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson with class

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, center, with MPA students from the PPD 501B: Public Sector Economics class.

By Tera Hannah

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson made a special visit to the USC Price School of Public Policy in Sacramento Nov. 30 to speak to students from the PPD 501B: Public Sector Economics class, taught by Adjunct Associate Professor Robert Ingenito.

Students in the master of public administration course were required to research a government-sponsored economic inefficiency and deliver a presentation on the policy implications of their research. Students Chelsea Willett, Tera Flores Hannah and Carl McLaney presented on the topic of “Public Funding of Sports Arenas,” explaining its economic theory and making arguments both for and against it. The students invited Mayor Johnson to speak to the class and share his first-hand experience and personal perspectives on the subject.

Johnson, a Sacramento native and former NBA star, discussed his “Think Big” campaign, a regional initiative launched in 2010 that focuses on job creation and economic development — including plans to construct an entertainment and sports complex in downtown Sacramento.

Johnson noted how a new arena and entertainment center in downtown would not only spur new jobs and economic growth, but also promote a sense of civic pride across the region. His plan would involve monetizing city-owned parking facilities, instead of raising taxes or diverting city funding from other public services.