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SACRAMENTO - A Sacramento judge told the people trying to force a public vote on a Kings arena subsidy he'll give them his answer next week, while suggesting they won't like what they're going to hear.

The Sacramento City Clerk rejected the 23,000 signatures gathered by two taxpayer groups, citing multiple flaws in the way the petition was printed and circulated.

The petition sponsors challenged the clerk's rejection in Sacramento Superior Court, but during a Friday afternoon hearing, Judge Timothy Frawley told their attorney he was inclined to support the city clerk.

"It could be argued that no single defect should invalidate the effort, but collectively there are so many errors it flaws it in a fatal way," Frawley said.

Attorney Bradley Hertz, representing Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork and Voters for a Fair Arena Deal, said 23,000 Sacramento voters should not be "disenfranchised" by the mistakes of a well-meaning amateur unfamiliar with the intricacies of election law.

Frawley asked Hertz to submit a written brief on one aspect of the case that he had failed to adequately address in an earlier court document with a Tuesday deadline.

After the hearing, Hertz said he was not encouraged by the direction the case was taking.

"It's never over until it's over, but we were disappointed with some of the preliminary findings," he said.

Frawley said he would issue a ruling next week, allowing either side to appeal his ruling to the Third District Court of Appeal.

The arena subsidy opponents face a March 7 deadline to get the measure on the June ballot.

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