Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is Chris Van Dyk, or any citizen of Seattle, taking the city to court?

I watched today's council meeting with great interest to see if council staff would confirm for the second time within a week that Ordinance 122357 (I-91) was impossible to apply to the current arena proposal.

Last Friday the city Budget Office said it was impossible. Today council staff repeated this point, even concluding their presentation with it.

What was disturbing were the public comments by Chris Van Dyk. He stated that he believes that Ordinance 122357 (I-91) does apply. He believes that the arena proposal, in its current form, does not meet the requirements of Ordinance 122357 (I-91).
Mr. Van Dyk went on to claim that the law did apply and stated that Section 5 of Ordinance 122357 (I-91) allows "any citizen" to allege that if an agreement does not meet his the requirements in the law, then the city could be taken to court.

Apparently, it doesn't matter if you think an agreement complies with the "spirit" of the law. It matters if any citizen does, according to Section 5 of Ordinance 122357 (I-91).

So, we have people out there like Mr. Van Dyk that have an opinion that needs to be satisfied even though the council has been informed twice that it is impossible to apply Ordinance 122357 (I-91) because of Section 2's requirement for "net cash on cash" return.

We have other public speakers from the same meeting state emphatically that they are against the arena, "no public money" for arenas, as potential litigants.

We have Port of Seattle Consultant, Peter Steinbrueck, have his opinion published in the Seattle Times, "Why the big rush on Chris Hansen's arena proposal?" (7/2/2012).
His apparent job is to stop or slow down the arena proposal.

At this point, I do not see how some "odd ball" doesn't take the city to court, even to just to "slow it down".

If you claim that Ordinance 122357 (I-91) doesn't apply then anybody could take you to court and claim that it does, and you failed to apply the law.

If you reach an agreement with Mr. Hansen without exempting the proposal from Ordinance 122357 (I-91) you run the risk expressed by Chris Van Dyk, ending up in court, and the cost of going to court with any citizen.

Please, stop pretending Ordinance 122357 (I-91) applies. Eliminate the risk of going to court by exempting any agreement you reach with Mr. Hansen.

Lastly, amend Ordinance 122357 (I-91) or repeal it. It is poorly written, and nothing but trouble.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
Seattle, WA

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Today's meeting.

Peter Steinbrueck's opinion.