Friday, July 20, 2012

The Seattle Times: Arena fans pack hearing in full-court press

More than 500 people, many of them supporters of a proposal to bring the Sonics back to Seattle and build a new sports arena in the Sodo neighborhood, overflowed two City Hall meeting rooms Thursday night with testimonials about what the return of professional basketball would mean to them and the city.

It is unusual for there to be a joint council meeting with the city and county councils. The report from KING5 news was that this was the first time in 40 years, making the event historic.

The secondary benefit of all this hoopla is that democracy encourages democracy. I have been to a couple council meetings, and seen many on television. It is unusual to have 20 people show up, minus the newspaper reporters, lobbyists, and serial government complainers, you end up with a handful of folks showing up.

When 500 people show up it is not just newsworthy, but the exposure to a few people to directly participating in our democracy. This was a hearing, they were testifying, and likely for the first time. For at least a few people, this will not be their last time participating.

By Popular Demand, Democracy.

What makes for a successful experience is understanding that you have a role in all of this, and not just as a voter. For the great unwashed sports fans, knowing your facts, delivering your message with civility, and expecting fairness, is as basic as democracy gets.

A good day for the city, no matter which way they decide.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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