Monday, May 28, 2012

SODO Arena Proposal starts down the legislative paths in Seattle and King County Councils

At this point the arena proposal will get a serious and official look over by Seattle and King County Councils. What we have, more or less, are two trials (that's what legislatures do). This week we get an introduction in the city council, and a re-introduction of sorts in the county council. The city council has been non-committal to this point, other than the two councilmembers that were at the news conference for the public rollout of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the city and county executive. That wasn't just a show, but the mayor and county executive transmit a formal request to their respective councils for them to take up the issue for consideration. I prefer that the councilmembers are non-committal. They should not take absolute positions without actually reviewing the evidence provided by the city and county staffs, open and public expert testimony provided by consultants hired directly by the councils, public testimony, and their own judgement on this proposal being in line with other city goals. The city and county councils had their Finance Committee Chairman at the news conference for the MOU. The MOU is a financial proposition. The King County Council Finance Committee they will have a briefing at 9:30am, Tuesday morning specifically on Ordinance 2012-0202. This Special Meeting will be televised live on King County television, or you can catch the recorded video of this meeting posted on the bill page, or the Special Meeting page. Well, the legislative kickoff is tomorrow. There will be plenty of media reports. I expect some measured quotes from councilmembers, and hyperbole from the Seattle Times editorial columnists (they suck eggs). Don't let media reports biased in opposition to the arena go unchecked. Meanwhile, at the city. . . This is all that is really happening tomorrow at the city (not too much). The Full Council will refer bills to committees. There are 5 pages of bills on the referral calendar, the arena bill is on page 2. The bill sponsor is Tim Burgess.
BY BURGESS: C.B. 117480 Related to a new multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility; authorizing the Mayor to execute a memorandum of understanding with King County and ArenaCo; and to execute an interlocal agreement with the County. [committee]Government Performance and Finance
Here is Council Bill Number: 117480 You might not feel like reading the council bill, but I encourage you to at least skim the Fiscal Note. The city does a good job of document writing, putting many items in question-and-answer format. Just skim through for a question you might have and city and county staff have made an effort to answer it. It's Remarkibly short, includes tables with dollars, etc.
Other Implications:    a)      Does the legislation have indirect financial implications, or long-term implications?
  The Arena MOU outlines a public/private partnership that would last over 30 years.  It is anticipated that the operation of a multi-purpose arena as contemplated in the MOU would induce indirect economic activity within the City, although that activity is not directly accounted for in the revenues described above. 
b)     What is the financial cost of not implementing the legislation?  
In the event that the City does not move forward with this agreement, it is anticipated that such a venue might be constructed elsewhere in the region.  This may draw economic activity out of the City and would present operational challenges in particular for KeyArena as competition for attracting events would be increased.
c)      Does this legislation affect any departments besides the originating department? 
This legislation would require the collaboration of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, the City Attorney’s Office, the City Budget Office, the Department of Planning and Development, the Department of Transportation and Seattle Center.  These departments have been actively involved in the development of this proposal.
d)     What are the possible alternatives to the legislation that could achieve the same or similar objectives?  
The primary alternative to the proposed agreement would likely involve an alternative site.  This site was selected by the private investor in part because of existing zoning and significant existing and planned transportation infrastructure. 
e)      Is a public hearing required for this legislation? 
Yes.  In addition, while not official public hearings, four public meetings were held on this topic to gather input and comment from the public, as well as to discuss concepts addressed in the MOU.    f)       Is publication of notice with The Daily Journal of Commerce and/or The Seattle Times required for this legislation? Given the public/private partnership, a CLEAN hearing will likely be required.
g)      Does this legislation affect a piece of property?
The MOU sets in motion additional processes that may involve the City purchasing property for the arena site.  The private investor has acquired land adjacent to First Avenue South between South Massachusetts Street and South Holgate Street.
If you are going to something, go to the county meeting.

2 comments:

SteilacoomSteve said...

Mr. Baker,
I have been a lurker at Sonicscentral since the team left. I have tried to post comments there but they always go to moderation. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had thought about organizing something to get a lot of Supes fans to the important council meetings. Maybe coordinating with someone supportive like Softy or Mitch from KJR to set up something, rent some buses and get the room full of Sonics fans. When the Vikings vote was going on, there were loads of fans, same with the council votes in Sacramento. I think it would be a powerful visual.

Mr Baker said...

I think that is what the rally on the 14th is supposed to kickoff.

I think that as we get closer to actual council votes we will see an emphasis on being visible at these meetings.

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