Saturday, July 28, 2012

Big weekend for Seattle Arena efforts and hypocrisy

As reported by Tim Booth, AP Sports Reporter, the talks between the City of Seattle and arena developer Chris Hansen will be going on this weekend. The effort is to resolve some issues for Seattle early in the process, while not chasing Hansen off.

The reality of the situation is that a competing arena could get built outside of Seattle. Seattle would lose economically in a big way if that were to happen. There would be no interest and leverage by Seattle in resolving issues with Key Arena with a developer in Bellevue. Also, the substitution effect would have to local spending leave Seattle and go to Bellevue.

Support of WNBA Storm among Seattle arena issues Eds: Adds details, quotes. By TIM BOOTH AP Sports Writer SEATTLE (AP) — With the King County Council potentially taking a vote next Monday on a proposed new arena in Seattle, sticking points and possible concessions on traffic and the city's lease agreement with the Seattle Storm are building with the Seattle City Council. Seattle City Councilman Mike O'Brien told The Associated Press on Friday that city officials continue to negotiate with investor Chris Hansen over changes to a proposed deal between the city and the private ownership group. Among those issues are dealing with traffic concerns in the city's industrial SoDo neighborhood, and the possibility of having Hansen's ownership group take over the city's current annual subsidy of the Seattle Storm. The city's lease agreement with the Storm currently calls for a $300,000 payment each year from the city to the WNBA franchise as part of a revenue sharing agreement. Asked about talks on the Storm subsidy, O'Brien said: "I'm not exactly sure how that's going to fall out. That remains an issue." A spokesman for Hansen did not immediately return a message seeking comment. "Councilmembers have expressed to me that there are further concessions they are asking and if (Hansen) does not agree to those concessions we may lose this deal," said Brian Robinson, head of Arena Solution, a group supporting efforts to bring a new arena to the Seattle region. "My concern is the city will overreach in those concessions and they will lose this opportunity for the city of Seattle."
Support of WNBA Storm among Seattle arena issues

How did that go again? Oh yes, Sally Clark said in an email to me, regarding the city council exempting the Storm lease:

On Jul 1, 2012, at 1:57 PM, "Clark, Sally" wrote: The Storm history is interesting. Staff remind me that we did that as a "belt and suspenders" approach; that we didn't technically need to exempt the Storm, but chose to just in case of an odd-ball challenge to the lease. The approval of the Storm lease, negotiated to include public benefit and to recognize the condition of Key, still strikes me as different from investing in the development of a new arena. I don't believe we've put the Seattle University or Stars on Ice or other Key Arena shows through an I-91 filter.

Yes the Storm's history is interesting.

Councilmember Clark, I knew better back in 2009. Do you still think it is fair for the council to characterize the Storm lease as I-91 compliant and exempting it as simply "belt and suspenders" to keep some oddball lawsuit?

I'm the "oddball" from 2009 that challenged Tom Rasmussen to not apply a double standard by favoring the Storm over the Sonics. Here we are two years later and you are actively favoring the Storm, and their subsidy, over the Sonics by burdening them with that Storm subsidy.

The hypocrisy is nauseating.

Will any of you councilmembers be able to say that there isn't a double standard between your approach to WBOS and the approach taken with Chris Hansen?

For Key Arena, this is life and death, for Seattle, win or lose.