Today the five-member “Oligarchy Caucus” voted to delete agenda item 22, which would have directed the City Manager and staff to tell the public and media how much the “Arena” will cost.

You can watch the video here, starting at 4:01.50.

All 13 members of the public who provided comment spoke passionately in support of the item, with no opponents. They were me, Rich Wright, J.P. Bryan, Fr. Rafael Garcia, John Hogan, Ana Reza, Veronica Carbajal, Kenneth Bell, James Peinado, Lisa Turner, Brian Kennedy, Robert Storch, and Mike Aboud.

After a vigorous discussion in which Reps. Rodriguez, Annello and Molinar as well as the Mayor argued in favor of transparency, there were several minutes of procedural confusion followed by a 4-3 vote to “deny” the item–that is, prevent it from coming to a vote. Rep. Hernandez made the motion, seconded by Svarzbein and joined by Salcido and Rivera, with Lizarraga absent. The Mayor announced he would use his veto.

Then, after City Council went on to several other agenda items, Rep. Salcido brought back item 22 for further discussion at the 6:34.10 mark. This led to additional debate that culminated in a 5-3 vote to delete the item, with Reps. Annello, Molinar and Rodriguez dissenting. The Mayor was away on urgent business. The public speakers, including myself, were already gone.

The utter lack of transparency on the part of Reps. Svarzbein, Hernandez, Salcido, Rivera and Lizarraga is stunning.

They do not want the taxpayers to know that the “Arena” will not cost $180 million. Rather, it will cost more than $500 million.

Their logic: It would cost money to obtain a new cost estimate and therefore they should not ask for one, as if adjusting $180 million for a decade of inflation requires an expenditure!

The simple truth is they do not want to offend their key donors: the Oligarchs.

Never mind that all but two of the Oligarch candidates lost their elections in the last two cycles, including Dee Margo, who went down in a giant ball of flames.

These five are all in, the taxpayers be damned.