Saturday, June 30, 2012

Re: Friday's council meeting

Lynn Thompson,
Both Mr. Licata and Mr. Burgess introduced themselves to me immediately after the meeting. We had a very brief discussion about I-91 and the presentation.
The impression I got from them and the impression you reported are not the same.
They still have some questions, and would like further clarification, true.
Mr. Burgess'; issue with I-91 was that it was poorly written legislation (he also mentioned this during the committee meeting). I reminded him that initiatives are only good for two years and "we do a particularly poor job of going back and revising ordinances into better laws".
If the council wanted the law to say something else then they could have re-written it years ago, or gotten rid of it (as councilmember McIver suggested on 1/27/2009, when the council exempted the Storm lease from I-91).

Ironically, I-91 set a rate of return below a fair rate. Chris Hansen's proposal returns a bond market rate (because bonds actually are being repaid).
The fact of the matter is, even when Mr. Burgess imagined the city investing $200 million in actual cash it didn't have the response and answer was that the proposal still satisfied I-91. That answer was discussed during the meeting.

When councilmember Clark said, oh great, we have another arena, the response to that was that we would own real property with a value so great that in 30 years we could crush the out of date arena, sell the property, and make a good profit on property the city paid zero cash for.

You reported a few of the open questions but not nessisarily the corrisponding closing answers.

As a side note:
What didn't help anybody, and certainty not your or the council's fault, was the presentation from the mayor's Finance folks. At no point would I present a proposal to my business partners at the big airplane company I work for with so little hard data. They didn't even bother including I-91 legislation in their materials, you know, the subject of the meeting. Sally Clark should not have to turn to council staff and ask for a different set of charts to explain the summary statements of summary statements the mayor's office called a presentation.
A presentation should stand on its own, without further explanation. It's not a surprise that the council needs more information after that presentation.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

Sent from my iPhone
Visit me here:

On Jun 30, 2012, at 10:35 AM, "Lynn Thompson" <lthompson@ > wrote:

> I was there throughout but did follow up questioning afterward. Most of the council members did not agree wIth Hall Walker's analysis or at least had unanswered questions.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Jun 30, 2012, at 9:59 AM, "Mr Baker" <> wrote:
>> Ms. Thompson,
>> Many of the quotes used in your story came from the council in the scenarios they were giving Finance during the meeting.
>> Some of those questions and scenarios were asked before they had gotten through all of the information.
>> All of those questions and scenarios were answered. I was there at the meeting. Based on how you reported this, I'm not sure that you were actually there, but skimmed through the SeattleChannel video.
>> Either way, it's incomplete reporting, making the impression readers have inaccurate.
>> Please see the summary:
>> It complies with I-91.
>> It complies with the spirit of I-91.
>> Could the city make a better investment with $200 million dollars?
>> The $200 million dollars doesn't exist without the tax revenue, the city doesn't have $200 million in cash to invest in something else.
>> As it is, the $200 million dollars borrowed does return a market rate, a rate higher than a 30 Year Treasury Bond.
>> Maybe you should re-watch the video, look at the chart on page 10, and summary on page 13.
>> Have a great day,
>> Mike Baker
>> Seattle, WA
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> Visit me here: