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The primary reason the Maloofs have explored relocation _ several failed efforts to build a new arena in Sacramento_ won’t be answered by the deadline. A feasibility study for a new arena in Sacramento isn’t scheduled to be completed until the end of May, and there has always been a divide between Kings fans and the broader public on how to finance a facility.

There were already a half-dozen protesters standing a few feet away while Johnson and business leaders met at the credit union, expressing their concern over public time _ and dollars _ spent on a private sports team. They held signs that read “We need education not recreation” and “If we don’t work, they don’t play.”

“Politicians have more serious things to worry about. We need to invest the kind of time and energy on more important things like education and jobs,” said Keon Johnson, one of those on hand to protest.

Four California lawmakers, including the leader of the state Senate, sent a letter to Stern on Tuesday pledging to work with local leaders over the next year to try to build a sports and performing arts complex to replace the Kings‘ arena.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, said he would use his clout to make sure his district gets its share of state bond money that could go to build the complex.

Johnson’s efforts have been concentrated on keeping the Kings for at least another year to allow for the time to approve a plan to build a new facility. For now, he waits, only hoping to have another opportunity to approve a plan for a new Kings arena.

“The moment we get word,” the mayor said, “if we’re lucky enough _ and this is not to be presumptuous _ but if we’re lucky enough to be given another year in Sacramento, then we have to immediately start our new campaign for an entertainment and sports complex.”

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Associated Press writer Don Thompson contributed to this report.