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Build a New Sonics Arena

This Faggoty, Dope-Huffing "Newspaper" Thinks the City and County Should Approve a New NBA and NHL Stadium in Sodo

Build a New Sonics Arena

James Yamasaki

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Do we give a flying fuck about basketball? Sure, who doesn't love slam-dunkin' Ichiro? A ton of people love basketball, and since the city has subsidized stadiums for the Mariners and the Seahawks (not to mention McCaw Hall, Benaroya Hall, and the Seattle Art Museum), well, fair is fair. We've weighed the criticism, and it comes down to this: Build an arena, and Sonics fans get their team back. Don't build it, and Bellevue will eventually steal away what business KeyArena has left.

This is the right deal, in the right place, at the right time. So build it.

It's a Safe, Good Deal for the City

Arena critics warn that taxpayers could be stuck paying the bill on a risky bet. What a load of crap.

"I have studied public-private partnerships for nearly 10 years, and I have not seen this level of security for taxpayers in any other arrangement of this size," concludes Assistant Professor Justin Marlowe of the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs in a report commissioned by the King County Council.

How so?

We would only build the arena if an NBA franchise is acquired. ArenaCo is responsible for all cost overruns. And the public contribution is capped. Taxes and rent from the arena itself are guaranteed to cover the annual debt service, with the teams obligated to make up any shortfall, so the city and county would be repaid in full. Again: The city and county are repaid in full. You're not going to pay for the arena unless you spend money at the arena. And, in the unlikely event that Chris Hansen and his billionaire co-owners—Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and two members of the Nordstrom family—find themselves in bankruptcy, the value of the franchise rights alone (worth hundreds of millions of dollars) is more than enough to cover ArenaCo's obligation.

And oh yeah... taxpayers would own the arena and the land it sits on, essentially for lending ArenaCo our bonding capacity. Such a deal!

If We Don't Build It in Seattle, the Suburbs Will Benefit from It

A Seattle arena would draw tens of thousands of patrons downtown for concerts and games, dozens of times a year. But if Seattle passes this up, you better believe that Eastside developers will move forward with plans to build a facility in Bellevue. So that's our choice: We can have fans spend their money in Seattle—bolstering our businesses, our tax base, and our economy—or we can drive them and their money to the suburbs.

Want proof? A 2005 economic-impact study commissioned by the Seattle Center found that more than 43 percent of KeyArena visitors came from outside King County—more than 80 percent from outside Seattle—and 20 percent of the money they spent was on food, entertainment, and lodging outside the arena.

That's money we want spent in Seattle, not Bellevue, generating the tax revenue necessary to pay for essential public services and infrastructure that benefit even people who will never attend a game.

The Sonics Are Fun

It's not a matter of needing the Sonics. It's about wanting them.

Nearly every study on the social effects of pro sports teams has recognized that the teams increase a city's quality of life. A major study of Indianapolis residents published in Public Administration Review concluded that sports teams are "clearly critical" to the average person's civic pride, having an effect similar to that of art museums. Another landmark analysis came in 2004 by Gerald Carlino and Edward Coulson at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which considered the presence of a pro football team along with other quality-of-life factors like good weather and found that people were willing to pay 8 percent more in rent solely to live in a football-team-owning city. Other studies have found similar effects for basketball.

The simple fact is: People like the Sonics. They're fun.

We think Seattle should build fun stuff—especially fun stuff that helps downtown businesses and improves quality of life.

It's the Best Deal We're Going to Get

If Seattle's motto wasn't "The City of Crappy Stadium Deals," it probably should have been. Taxpayers picked up 66 percent of the cost of building Safeco Field, 70 percent of the cost of CenturyLink Field, 78 percent of renovating KeyArena, and 100 percent of the cost of the old Kingdome. All were paid for through sales and other taxes, and we're still paying off the Kingdome debt more than a decade after its demolition.

This deal is different.

The city and county contributions are capped at $125 million with an NBA team, $200 million if an NHL team is also acquired, between 25 and 40 percent of the estimated $490 million total cost. That makes for one of the best public-private arena deals in recent memory, and far better than the 80/20 public/private split Clay Bennett demanded before stealing the team away to Oklahoma City and a 100-percent-sales-tax-financed arena.

KeyArena Won't Work

The site of the arena that kajillionaire investor Chris Hansen is proposing to build is nonnegotiable: Sodo or bust. But if that weren't the case, KeyArena still isn't a viable long-term alternative for hosting NBA and NHL franchises without millions in infrastructure upgrades.

KeyArena's current configuration isn't NHL compatible. On top of that, the City of Seattle is responsible for maintaining KeyArena and making capital improvements, but those improvements have been shelved for years thanks to our million-dollar city budget sinkholes.

Then there's this to consider: Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, construction on a Sodo facility won't begin until we acquire an NBA team. The plan is to host the team at KeyArena while the new stadium is being built. If KeyArena is our new stadium, our teams would be homeless while upgrades were made. In essence, without KeyArena as a temporary home, the entire deal unravels.

Concerns About Traffic Are Overblown

Marine cargo businesses, unions, and other stakeholders at Seattle's busy seaport are rightly concerned about freight mobility through Sodo's already congested streets, but these are problems that already exist, that already require mitigation, and that do not on their own justify blocking the proposed Sonics arena. Some of this traffic is exacerbated by construction of the Highway 99 tunnel and will be alleviated by its completion and related improvements. Certain improvements like the Lander Street Overpass are likely needed with or without a new arena.

Yes, the arena would substantially increase the number of nights when events draw crowds into Sodo, but the resulting traffic would be no worse than what the port already tolerates from Mariners games, and apart from rare overlapping events, no different from what the port tolerated from 1978 to 1985 when the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sonics all played at the Kingdome.

The city needs to mitigate land-use issues and traffic snarls in Sodo regardless, and the council should commit to protecting the neighborhood and the port from further gentrification, but the site's close proximity to rail, downtown, and to three major highways makes it the ideal location for a new arena.

Critics Just Have an Ax to Grind

Finally, let's look at the motivations of the people who are out to kill this thing. The Seattle Times editorial board? Those bitches would sacrifice their youngest Blethen if that's what it took to deny Mayor Mike McGinn a win. The Seattle City Council? They're the only people in town who hate McGinn more than the Seattle Times. (Plus, a lot of the council's "arena skeptics"—including Tim Burgess and Sally Clark—think they'd make pretty good mayors themselves and don't want to be running next year against the guy who brought the Sonics back.) If the council rejects this arena, they will have screwed downtown businesses, legions of Sonics fans, and a general public who benefits from a thriving urban core—all for their political grudge.

As for property-tax-subsidized Port of Seattle, it wants what it always wants, which is more money and more leverage. It doesn't gain either by starting negotiations over, say, funding for transportation improvements at the port by saying it absolutely agrees with everything its opponents in this negotiation want.

So take the opposition of all these parties for what it is: self-interest, not civic interest. recommended

 

Comments (95) RSS

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Cato the Younger Younger 1
Sounds like a great investment opportunity to me. The uber-rich who want this should fork over all the money to build it. Afterall, it sure sounds like they will rake in amazing returns on their investment...all without exposing the public to risk.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on July 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Baconcat 2
Overturn Citizens United! But let hedge fund managers gamble with city money and bonding capacity.

The rest of us can eat cake
Posted by Baconcat on July 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
3
Safeco and Clink both are authorized to collect 10% admissions taxes. If this arena were truly a user-fee facility they'd pay their business taxes and collect the 10% admissions tax and rent, not the 5% admissions tax.

Did anyone else notice that the arena debt service gets repaid with property taxes revenues but the city/county owned building doesn't pay property taxes. That's the rest of the property tax payers not only paying more, but those payments being funneled to $35M in debt service. Sounds like a double-subsidy to me.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
4
Nailed it, Stranger. Nailed it.

In a day and age when the Seattle Times is nothing more than a mouthpiece for Frank Blethen's personal agenda, it's great we have a news outlet such as The Strangers telling it like it is. Someone has to.
Posted by EJJ206 on July 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
5
@Cato, with how the MOU is structured the public has little to no risk whatsoever. Chris Hansen has stated that any financial deficits will be covered by HIS investment group, meaning the city will get their money back regardless. The partnership is a necessity so that he can borrow money at a lower interest rate to finance the arena. If you are waiting for a 100% private effort to fund an arena, the Sonics probably won't be returning. Which may not matter to you, but it definitely matters to many citizens in the area.

Unless you are referring to the Port's concerns as the public risk (which is based merely upon speculation and data collected in 2003 see Seattle Times), then what risks are you specifically concerned about?
Posted by MCH on July 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
6
@MCH, except that Hansen's own statements say it's not about the interest rate but having a way to return the tax dollars.

http://www.sonicsarena.com/news/why-is-p…
In this regard, while it is true that there is a financial benefit to us from using the City’s and County’s bonding capacity—as these public entities currently have a lower cost of borrowing than would be afforded us by the private sector—the primary benefit to us is that the City and County are contributing back the direct tax revenues from the project, as opposed to the interest rate differential between the public and private financing rate.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
7
.Congrats to the Stranger for coming to their senses on this issue, for acknowledging that Fun Does Matter, and for sticking it to the Seattle Times & certain members of the Seattle City Council.  Bring em back!  
Posted by Slog Tipper David on July 25, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
8
Amazing how a lot of you still post comments stating false facts, and making comments about the "uber-rich" and "hedge-fund managers", as if they are bad people. You clearly don't get this deal, and definitely just are not a fan of sports, and don't get those either. So, while you may enjoy heading to the ballet on a Saturday night for entertainment, Seattle is a big city. Big cities have a lot of stadiums, a lot of sports teams, and congested streets. If you can't get on board with that, move to Mayberry. Let's do this.
Posted by MontLakejake on July 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
9
Well done, Stranger, well done. Bring em back!!
Posted by Slog Tipper David on July 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
10
@ChefJoe, reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, is it? The quote you posted said the reasons for using the city are 1) financial benefit to Hansen from using the City’s and County’s bonding capacity AND 2) financial benefit to us from using the City’s and County’s bonding capacity.

You act as if there could only be one reason, in fact, there could be a multitude of reasons.
Posted by blue reloaded on July 25, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
11
Your editorial is Shawn Kemp. The Seattle Times editorial board is Alton Lister.
Posted by Jay Holzman on July 25, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
12
Stranger endorsement= Kiss of death. See also: Monorail, Grant Cogswell, Surface Option/No Tunnel. McGinn is a trainwreck. Add "arena" to the list.
Posted by hmmmmm on July 25, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
13
BY the way, the King County Democrats took the opposite position. Sucks to be on the wrong side, doesn't it Goldy?
Posted by hmmmmm on July 25, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
14
@4: Fair weather Stranger poster. Member for at least a few hours. Looks like all the dunderheads will be here shortly. RRRHHHAAA GGOO SPPPOOORTS!
Posted by hmmmmm on July 25, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 15
Put it up for a public vote
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on July 25, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
16
great article, very well written. Let the critics continue to grind their lonely ax
Posted by blacktophustler on July 25, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
17
@hmmmmmm -- I was an all league offensive lineman, and I had a 4.5 GPA in high school. Went to UDub. Now make films for a living in Los Angeles. Don't bash what you don't understand. Live and let live, and STFU.
Posted by BMinus on July 25, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
D. Tooley 18
It is curious that the Dan Evans school is now doing the economic benefit studies.

The UW School of Economics, my program, has always refused to do same - much to their academic credibility. The Department of Geography used to do these, but no longer does - I'd suspect, at least in part, due the personal experience of moi in that regard.

The points of Baconcat are however right on target, but someone does need to do it and a Stranger/McGinn team has a much better shot at doing it right than anyone else...

Time will tell.
Posted by D. Tooley http://motleytools.com/blog on July 25, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 19
So...because publicly subsidized private ventures currently exist, we have to subsidize private ventures now and in the future because "fair is fair".

I love you guys and agree with you 90% of the time, but you are deeply fucking wrong on this one.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on July 25, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
20
I'm not sure we won't get a rude surprise, relying on the NBA francise as collateral. What if there's a bankruptcy and the NBA decides to just eliminate the team? Now taxpayers are on the hook.

We've done a bunch of these deals, all of which were were supposed to be great for the city, and we've always ended up getting screwed in the end. I'm not convinced that it's somehow going to different this time. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Posted by Orv on July 25, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
21
This Faggoty, Dope-Huffing "Newspaper" Ignores Economic Data, Fails Reading Comprehension, and Drinks the Kool-Aid

There, fixed that for you.

Posted by d.p. on July 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
22
@20
"We've done a bunch of these deals, all of which were were supposed to be great for the city, and we've always ended up getting screwed in the end."

But this time it will be different because this time:
a. the millionaires will own the team not like those other times when the millionaires owned the teams.

b. the government will pay for the stadium not like those other times when the government paid for the stadiums.

See? Completely different this time.
Therefore, guaranteed money for everyone!

And no risk for anyone except that millionaire who will not take any steps at all to protect his investment.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this
rob! 23
Really? You all are so convinced of the purity of your position that no staffer's (or owner's) name appears on this story, unlike your other gang-bang efforts like the Gay Issue and the Back-to-School issue?
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on July 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
24
@17, "and I had a 4.5 GPA in high school. "

Anyone else notice anything about the above?
Posted by hmmmmm on July 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
25
Funny how most of the people posting in favor of the stadium just happened to sign up today. Reminds me of the Scientology folks whenever there's an article written about them. They all sign up to the site and pretend to be random people who just happened to see the light when they read the article. Dirty pool mister, dirty pool.

If they want public funds, put the fucking thing up to a public vote.
Posted by wafflemaker on July 25, 2012 at 1:31 PM · Report this
MrBaker 26
I'm not sure we won't get a rude surprise, relying on the NBA francise as collateral. What if there's a bankruptcy and the NBA decides to just eliminate the team? Now taxpayers are on the hook.

If the NBA decides to eliminate the team, they call that "contraction", requiring all of the other franchise owners to buy and close the franchise.
In New Orleans the league chose to buy the franchise (putting all of the other owners on the hook), pay all the outstanding bills, and resell the franchise at a profit.

The MOU states that the Sonics owner can not borrow against more than 40% of the franchise equity, the rest must remain untouched so that in the event of everything Larry Phillips imagines could happen the sale of the franchise would repay Seattle and King County. Franchise values are between 350 and 400 million.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on July 25, 2012 at 1:32 PM · Report this
27
Wow. I fully agree with the Stranger on an issue. And I just saw a pig soaring overhead.

Posted by bigyaz on July 25, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
28
@20 and @22... "We've done a bunch of deals... and we've always ended up getting screwed in the end."

Apart from the Sonics and KeyArena, which deals are you referring to? Taxes from Safeco Field have ended and the taxes to fund the Seahawks/Sounders stadium are almost entirely levied on out of town visitors.

Posted by Guest31 on July 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
29
@20 and @22
"We've done a bunch of these deals, all of which were were supposed to be great for the city, and we've always ended up getting screwed in the end."

What deals are you referring to? Safeco and Seahawks/Sounders stadiums have been overwhelmingly successful. The taxes to fund Safeco have already ended and unless you're visiting from out of town or going to the stadium, the taxes from the Clink wouldn't impact you at all.
Posted by Guest31 on July 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
rob! 30
Wow. So you're so certain of the correctness of your position that no staffer's (or owner's) name appears in the article, unlike your other gang-bangs like the Queer Issue and the Back-to-School Issue?

And nary a dissenter among you?
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on July 25, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
rob! 31
(Sorry about the double comment. When I reloaded the page a couple of minutes ago, the comments ended at 22. Looks like I'm not the only one.)
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on July 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
32
@22 explain how we've been screwed in the football and baseball stadium?
Posted by swab on July 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
33
San Dimas High School football rules!!!
Posted by Ox on July 25, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
34
Oh for fuck sake. Yes. Let's tax-payer subsidize yet another bunch of billionaires that will leave the city high and dry when ever it's convenient. What are you guys trying to do? Suck up to rich people so you'll get invited to the grown up table?

Fuck you, Stranger. What a bunch of hypocrites you are. Stick to writing about safe cocaine and sophomoric irony and leave policy to people that know what the fuck they're talking about.
Posted by tkc on July 25, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
35
@24 Only that he must have been enrolled in AP courses in High School, thus giving him the ability to get a higher GPA.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on July 25, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
36
@32
You know that mariners had a 10% profit sharing provision and they found a way to lose $200M before Safeco opened so that they've never shared in any profits. We won't get any share of profits when the team gets sold either.

Everyone knows about the restaurant taxes and the hotel taxes, but the second biggest revenue sources for the debt on Safeco and Clink is the state giving sales taxes to the county. So, you're comparing a state legislature funding vs something mostly funded by the city for the majority-east side ticketholders.

http://www.leg.wa.gov/JointCommittees/LF…
Posted by ChefJoe on July 25, 2012 at 2:07 PM · Report this
37
The stranger is obviously run by a bunch of sellouts. A billionaire shows up and demands 120 million dollars of Seattle public funds, then at least another 168 million dollars of Seattle public funds for debt service, and here is the Stranger saying how great that is. The individuals running the Stranger are as money grubbing and full of shit as Fox News.
Posted by Jhande on July 25, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
38
"Finally, let's look at the motivations of the people who are out to kill this thing."

That's the dumbest section. A lot of us love this city and the fun of it more than you can imagine, and don't like to see us take a deal we don't have to.
Posted by gloomy gus on July 25, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
39
I agree completely with hmmmmm. Asking the public to pay for entertainment that helps subsidize millionaires is just wrong. The Stranger screwed up on this one. The City Counsel needs to put an end to this nonsense now! Next up: cancel Bumbershoot and the Capital Hill Block Party, close down Benaroya hall (subsidized with taxpayer money)and the SAM, and stop funding art walks. If people want to go see millionaire musicians, let them spend their own money and rent a private hall. If some millionaire wants to show off his collection of Rembrant and Titian paintings, let him do it on his/her own dime. Throw a private party at your house, and leave the Seattle Taxpayers at home. NO MORE CITY MONEY FOR DUMB ENTERTAINMENT!

Posted by Linwood on July 25, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
south downtown 40
ok, was The Stranger promised a sky box and free munchies at each game?
Posted by south downtown on July 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this
41
I agree completely with hmmmmm. Asking the public to pay for entertainment that helps subsidize millionaires is just wrong. The Stranger screwed up on this one. The City Counsel needs to put an end to this nonsense now! Next up: cancel Bumbershoot and the Capital Hill Block Party, close down Benaroya hall (subsidized with taxpayer money)and the SAM, and stop funding art walks. If people want to go see millionaire musicians, let them spend their own money and rent a private hall. If some millionaire wants to show off his collection of Rembrant and Titian paintings, let him do it on his/her own dime. Throw a private party at your house, and leave the Seattle Taxpayers at home. NO MORE CITY MONEY FOR DUMB ENTERTAINMENT!

Posted by Linwood on July 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this
42
@22
"explain how we've been screwed in the football and baseball stadium?"

Increased taxes on hotels, restaurants, car rentals and such.
And it's not just on game days.
Why did you not know about those taxes?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 25, 2012 at 2:22 PM · Report this
43
@28: Well, there's also the Kingdome, which we're *still* paying off 12 years after it was demolished. Our approach to these stadiums is like someone who buys a new car every few years and just keeps rolling the negative equity into the new loan every time. Pretty soon they own a $14,000 car with a $30,000 loan on it.
Posted by Orv on July 25, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 44
Tim Keck must have been promised something pretty sweet for The Stranger to whore themselves out for a millionaires sports arena: especially when we don't have any teams who have committed to come to Seattle if we build one.
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on July 25, 2012 at 2:28 PM · Report this
45
@32

Uh. Ever here of the Kingdome?

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweek…

Even though it was demolished over a decade ago, taxpayers still owe $83 million on the debt left over from the Kingdome, a ransom that won't be paid for another six years at least. That's $17 million more than the initial $67 million it took to build the concrete behemoth way back in 1976. Remember this the next time you go to Qwest or Safeco. Actually don't; then you won't have any fun. (HorsesAss from New York Times)
Posted by tkc on July 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 46
@45, speaking of which...Safeco is about the same age as the Kingdome when we blew it up. How much longer until the Mariners cry that they'll leave Seattle unless they get another new stadium?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on July 25, 2012 at 2:48 PM · Report this
47
Not only that but the idea than another sports franchise in the area is some kind of cultural boon or for the Working Guy, is absurd. The working class has been priced out of the NBA for almost a decade.

The AVERAGE NBA ticket is $50! The Lakers average ticket price is $100. The Knick average ticket price is almost $120. None of that includes premium tickets.

Like major league baseball is becoming, professional level basketball is a sport owned and for rich people. Which I have no problem with. As long as they pay for it themselves. But they don't. Thanks to morons who keep falling for the same shit over and over.

Any notion The Stranger has of some average Seattle Working Stiff taking their kids to the New Sonics for anything less than $150-$300 a game is fucking absurd.
Posted by tkc on July 25, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 48
@42 Show us where that is in the MOU, because I don't think it is.

Arena Tax Revenue (which is what pays off the city and county, outside of their ownership of the building and land): "...is the dollar amount
of: (i) all sales tax, property tax, leasehold excise tax, and admission tax revenues, as well as other tax revenues attributable to the Arena and Arena Tenant Improvements that have been received by the City or the County on and from the Project Site and Arena, and from all uses and activities conducted thereon, except for those tax revenues that are subject to legal restrictions that preclude their use either for payment of Arena-related debt or expenses hereunder (other than parking taxes attributable by contract to the Arena) plus (ii) City business tax revenues imposed under Chapter 5.45 SMC or any successor provision that the City has reasonably determined it received from ArenaCo and from other business activities engaged in, at, or from the Arena (including without limitation revenues from the business activities that have a substantial nexus with the City). "
Posted by Daddy Love on July 25, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
49
@45 fair enough. But, looking at the big picture, if you were to ask people today if they'd rather have the Seahawks and Mariners (and Sounders) or the millions it took above and beyond the original budget for the Kingdome, I think the answer would overwhelmingly be in favor of professional sports. Those three teams combined drew more than 3 million(!) people in 2011.
Posted by Guest31 on July 25, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
50
Before former State Supreme Court Justice (and Democratic legislator, and unabashed baseball fan) Phil Talmadge wiped his ass with the plain language of the Washington State Constitution to justify declaring an emergency to disallow a referendum and ram the voter-disapproved Mariners Stadium through, the plain language of the Constitution forbade the lending of public credit to private businesses.

Fortunately, I-91 still does (at least where sports facilities in Seattle are concerned).
Posted by Mr. X on July 25, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
51
@46: The Kingdome lasted 24 years. Safeco is 13 years old.

Did you attend Seattle schools?
Posted by bigyaz on July 25, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
52
@48
"Show us where that is in the MOU, because I don't think it is."

Comprehension not your strong point, huh?
Did you manage to miss the question to which that was the answer? It was about the previous stadiums.

Now can you spend a little bit more effort on comprehension so you don't publicly embarrass yourself again?

I even quoted it in my reply.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 53
@17, "and I had a 4.5 GPA in high school. "

Anyone else notice anything about the above?


He also has a four-way every night with a blonde, a redhead, and a brunette, and eats ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never gets fat.

But, the high-falutin' claims of anonymous Internet commenters aside, some high schools adjust GPAs upwards when students take AP and honors courses, which is fucking stupid, but there it is.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 25, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
54
@44 It won't be built until a team is secured. Read the plan dude.
Posted by swab on July 25, 2012 at 4:27 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 55
3 Reasons This Is A Stupid Idea

I have to assume the economic impact study being quoted was paid for by someone wanting to build a new stadium at the time.

Here is what it didn't consider:

The Substitution Effect: Sports are just one form of entertainment. Without an NBA franchise, the people here spend the portion of their entertainment budget currently dedicated to the pro basketball on something else (i.e. dining out, movies, etc…).

The Crowding-Out Effect: Sporting events attract crowds. When people know those crowds are going to appears, those who are not attending the sporting event tend to avoid the general area. For example, Baade and Matheson note that the 2008 Olympics in Beijing failed to increase the number of tourists in Beijing in August of 2008 relative to what the same city saw in August of 2007.

Leakages: Most NBA Players who play for Seattle won't live in the city outside of the NBA Season, and some won't live in the city inside the season (see Lake Sammamish). So, while there would be 12 highly paid employees of the new team, the city would see little of that multimillion dollar payroll spent in the city.

Also - fuck Oklahoma City

(and, the people who think we'll get an NHL franchise when we've never sold out an NHL pre-season exhibition game are drinking the crazy juice again...)
Posted by malcolmxy on July 25, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
56
@42 Bonds being paid off ahead of time for both stadiums. Seahawks stadium was passed by the voters (something anti sports anti arena folks always ignore) and the Mariners deal approved by the legislature was different than the deal barely defeated by the public. Again, enough with the revisionist history.
Posted by swab on July 25, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
57
@55 just because an NHL preseason game never sold out doesn't mean NHL wouldn't draw here. Come on man. The minor league Sounders barely drew anybody, the Sounders sell out every game now.
Posted by swab on July 25, 2012 at 4:40 PM · Report this
58
@56,

You want "revisionist history" - saying that the tax package passed without a vote by the legislature after the Mariners stadium was was rejected by voters is somehow "different" and therefore OK obviates the fact that I (along with everyone else around here) paid that tax on every restaurant and bar tab for years as a result is the very definition of revisionist history. And I'll throw in a side of disingenuous with that, too.

Oh yeah, and the vast majority of those who came to town and rented a car (or residents who got a truck for a for a local move or a rental car while theirs was in the shop) weren't so-called "stadium users" either.

However, I will grant that Paul Allen did manage to win a special early summer election that was held just for him and at the time of his choosing - when voter turnout was guaranteed to be low, thus maximizing the ability of his money to affect the outcome.

Posted by Mr. X on July 25, 2012 at 4:49 PM · Report this
59
@56
"Bonds being paid off ahead of time for both stadiums."

Yeah, and if the question was about whether the bonds were being paid or not then that would be relevant.

But the point was that when I went out to eat in Seattle I paid additional taxes to fund the stadium even on non-game nights.

Again, how is it that you do not know about those taxes?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 25, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 60
@58,

And don't forget residents who mostly rely on transit and rent a car for the occasional day trip or whatever. Also, aren't Zip Cars taxed the same as rentals? It's totally acceptable to tax car-less people extra to fund a stadium. It's not like they're trying to help the environment or anything.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 25, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 61
@57

MLS will go wherever people ask for MLS, because just like Europe, they can basically have minor league teams in the league that get promoted and demoted depending on the kind of talent the franchise is willing to pay for (i.e. it's cheap and it doesn't hurt the league to have a failed franchise at this point).

The NHL has never placed a franchise in a city that didn't 1st sell out a pre-season exhibition game that was placed there.

Ergo - we ain't getting an NHL team...unless you get a ton of friends to go to the next exhibition game that pops up at the Key.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 25, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this
62
What critics of the arena fail to acknowledge is that we'd be a broke city with or without this deal. Every city is broke right now. There is no pile of cash we're sitting on to feed the homeless or support the arts or do any of the other altruistic things you want instead of a sports team. What we have is some debt capacity that you curmodgeons pray will finance more "necessary" things or we can use right now to bring to Seattle what pretty much every other broke-ass city has and cherishes that much more amid broke-ass times: a team stoking civic pride. So quit bellyaching, drop the Occupy BS for a moment and get behind the best deal we'll ever see on something that actually bring enjoyment to regular people. Who knows, you might even like the product they put out there.
Posted by FuManShoes on July 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 63
@62 wrong.

Suck it, Eastside!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on July 25, 2012 at 6:51 PM · Report this
MrBaker 64
Off topic, what the fuck is up with the Seattle Times editorial board.

Take off your partisan foil hats for a second and just compare the Stanger editorial with the crap ST puts out.
Seriously, fuck, they aren't helping the anti-arena side with shit like that.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ed…
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on July 25, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
65
Well put Fumanshoes. And yeah Mr. baker the smear campaign the Times has been running is embarrassing.
Posted by Slog Tipper David on July 25, 2012 at 9:40 PM · Report this
66
Me no like watch sports.  Me like play sports.  Billionaires want to watch millionaires play:  Buy own stadium!

-- Sent from my HP TouchPad
Posted by ug on July 25, 2012 at 9:59 PM · Report this
67
Good job, Stranger, and good for you for standing up to what will undoubtedly be a lot of ignorant bleating from your reader base. This is a good deal all around for the city and the involvement of SPOARTS OH NO and rich people doesn't change that.
Posted by Reader01 on July 25, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
68
"If they want public funds, put the fucking thing up to a public vote."

How about we get Eyman to run that petition? How would you feel about it then?
Posted by Reader01 on July 25, 2012 at 11:20 PM · Report this
69
Like a mammoth erection, my respect for you people just shot up monumentally.
Posted by FreeJena2 on July 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM · Report this
70
Whatever gave you an idea that I even wanted the other stadia? I hate ballparks. They're bad neighbors in every possible way. And Key Arena is one of the worst. You can't even walk past it when it's open without being assaulted with snide, very loud announcements saying you agree to be searched if you go in. I _don't_ agree to be searched in any circumstances, for any reason. But I wasn't even TRYING to enter, anyway. I was just innocently passing by on my way to a meeting.

If Bellevue wants the baneful ballparks, they're more than welcome to them.
Posted by Valerie Shubert on July 26, 2012 at 1:30 AM · Report this
sonic_reducer 71
Well reasoned and thorough article. Thanks!
Posted by sonic_reducer on July 26, 2012 at 7:52 AM · Report this
sonic_reducer 72
FUN DOES MATTER.

I feel like valuing fun and nerdiness/oddities is a part of what gives Seattle it's delightful nature. And powers its wide variety and large number of festivals/events.

Thanks!
Posted by sonic_reducer on July 26, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
73
"I have studied public-private partnerships for nearly 10 years, and I have not seen this level of security for taxpayers in any other arrangement of this size," concludes Assistant Professor Justin Marlowe of the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs...

Prof. Marlowe has been a long-time evangelist for public-private partnerships so, sorry to say, we should be highly suspicious of what someone, who is an evangelist for PPPs, and is on the faculty of a university receiving some funding from Gates/Microsoft, etc.

This just doesn't sound right --- even though they claim a future bankruptcy shouldn't affect King County bond ratings, do they have the banksters' confirmation in writing on that???

Usually, it's JPMorgan Chase, or one of the elite bankster types, who underwrite those bonds --- anyone trust JPMC lately?????

King County, but lending their balance sheet to ArenaCo and Hansen and his hedge fundsters et al. (Nordstrom, Balmer...), is also lending their future bond credibility.

Variable rate bonds...??? (Especially given the future brittleness of economic growth??? We have to consider real surrounding financial and environmental and geotechnical variables --- during the construction of this stadium, more surface shocks on the roads due to heavy construction loads being transported, concurrent with underground excavation for the world's largest deepbore tunnel????)

This just doesn't sound right, all the way around.

I would direct everyone to Dr. John Goldberg (not on the faculty, but unofficially affiliated with the University of Sydney) and his summary on typical financing background on infrastructure PPPs in Australia (similar to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase's PPP structures in Greece...).

Please pay close attention to the three bulleted items:

http://wwwfaculty.arch.usyd.edu.au/web/s…
More...
Posted by sgt_doom on July 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
74
love the stranger, totally disagree with this. the NBA is not a stable enterprise. with free agency and a slough of trade demands from marquee players, a team can go from packed houses one year to empty seats the next year. yes, those 6,000 people who rallied in pioneer square will be there for every game, no matter what the team looks like. but a modern sports arena (for an NBA team) seats 20,000+. and dont forget ticket prices are going to be catered to the "bellevue" crowd anyway.
Posted by dudedudedude on July 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
75
To all the people asking for a vote on this:

That already happened! It was for I-91, which passed. This MOU meets the requirements laid out in I-91 and the reason for the "taxes" (which come from use of the stadium so if you don't go you don't pay) is for the City/County to make a profit off the deal (thereby complying with I-91 WHICH WAS VOTED ON!!!)

And to those of you that are going to say "Well, what about the increase in property taxes?" The increase comes from property values rising in the SoDo. Not to your house in Greenlake. I'm sure Chris Hansen is very sorry the land you own by the stadium would be worth more for you if an arena is built.

Seriously. Read the MOU and get your facts right, people. It's embarrassing that there is so much uninformed blathering in here - I thought us Stranger readers were supposed to be intelligent liberal elitists????
Posted by guest609 on July 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
76
@75,

I-91 was a vote in principle on whether to support arenas, not a blank check for any particular proposal. The supporters of I-91 knew that elected officials don't want people to vote on stadia, so they wrote a law that would allow citizens to weigh in the next time one of these boondoggles was rammed down their collective throats. So no, it is not blanket authorization for any and all stadium schemes that may come up now or in future years.

But, as it happens, this proposal is also NOT I-91 compliant, which is why the supporters of that initiative have promised to sue if it goes forward (hint - for just one example - diverting admissions taxes that would otherwise go into the general fund does not create the required level of profitability that would be required to comply with I-91).

Your argument about property tax increases is also bullshit, by the way. This proposal does in fact shift some of the tax burden away from the stadium property (whether owned by Mr. Hansen or if ultimately owned by the public) onto every other property tax payer (and their tenants) in the city.

BTW - Bob Dylan just announced that he's playing at Key Arena. You know why? Because it's a perfectly good venue (that is, except if you need luxury boxes and other new revenue-generating goodies to help meet your NBA payroll under a broken business model that also requires massive public subsidies to succeed).

Posted by Mr. X on July 26, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
77
The only thing the Stranger did not answer is why don't rich fucks like Steve Balmer and the Nordstroms pay for the arena themselves if it is such a great idea?

It is ironic that in the same issue in which the Stranger skewers Mitt Romney for being a rich asshole you announce support for other rich assholes. So what gives....did Hansen and his friends buy you off?
Posted by Hoke on July 26, 2012 at 4:45 PM · Report this
78
Your supportive article does not answer the question why rich fucks like Balmer, the Nordstroms, and other mystery money men don't build this arena with their own petty cash IF the arena is such a good deal.

Could it be the arena deal isn't that great, and rich fucks want the guarantees provided by the city and county before they chip in. So what did Hansen bribe you guys with....pizza and beer?
Posted by Hoke on July 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM · Report this
79
In the end, the so-called "progressives" of Seattle are bitches for big money.
Posted by Wing It on July 27, 2012 at 8:41 AM · Report this
80
All these assholes saying no to this deal are the reason that the Sonics lefted in the first place. This is a great deal. The city of Seattle benfits for the tax reveunes increases. So Chris Hansen should have to build it him myself and then give to the city of Seattle and pay rent. You cant have your cake and it too.
Posted by Michael1722 on July 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
81
I think that this article is a load of crap. Has the Stranger staff been dipping into the NBA stash of steroids. Here we are still paying for the Kingdome the Seahawks Stadium and after the voters said no got end run on the Mariner's Stadium. I seem to recall a vote in this town after the last uber millionaire took the Sonics to Oklahoma that the public did not want to fund ANY new basketball arena, period. Why should we as you put it lend the taxpayers bonding capacity to build this thing. We have enough public works projects that need completing or repair that we can use that bonding capacity for like even the long overdue Lander overpass.

I personally am a movie buff and that is my choice of entertainment not sports not that I have anything against those that do. No public money is used to finance multi-plexes with the latest state of the art everything. When they become obsolete they either are renovated by the operator or closed and I pay for it with my ticket price. This historical model of public financing in all or part for these sports arenas is bogus and needs to stop. Let the millionaire owners and millionaire players and or their investors pony up the cash needed to house their private business enterprise. Corporations are not people. The public needs to be investing in rapid transit, fixing our notoriously bad roads and so forth. And please stop with the nonsense that this is a no lose proposition. As we know shit happens. The Sonics supposedly had a clause that prevented them from leaving Seattle and we all know how that turned out. In twenty years or less what is to prevent Hansen from coming back whining that the facility is outmoded and needs to be upgraded or he is taking his team and leaving in spite of his "no move" clause. If they secure an NHL franchise those owners in several years will be whining that they need their own arena for hockey. That's the problem, it never stops. Just how much cumulative public debt are we going to be on the hook for as a result of professional sports. I wish that there was this kind of resolve to improve public education in this town or to lower the cost of attending UW.

Read the voters' lips no public funding of any kind to build a basketball arena. We've been there and done that.
More...
Posted by Steve Hunter on July 28, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Report this
82 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
83
Nn-nnnnooooooooooo! The Stranger endorsing a sports arena is surely a sign of the end times.
Posted by ww on July 29, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
84
This "deal" has got to include clear boundaries between Port of Seattle interests (mainly transportation and PERMANENCY) and Hanson's commercial and real estate interests. Otherwise Hanson and other developers will inevitably encroach in on the Port and the thousands of LIVING WAGE jobs it provides.

Their common interest would be in developing an efficient transportation infrastructure. The city of Seattle and the Port could probably use Hanson's investment dollars and (maybe) innovative ideas, but the Port's longevity has got to be assured!
Posted by Progressive Worker on July 29, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
85
Professional athletics should be illegal. Driving ranges too.
Posted by iEarthling on July 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
86
Please let them move to Bellevue. I'm sick of traffic downtown, as I live very close to the damn stadiums (and don't need more traffic). I lived on Queen Anne for years and had to deal with Key Arena Sonics traffic. I travel to and from Beacon Hill and Queen Anne on an almost daily basis. I am sick and tired of all the traffic because of fookin sports. Especially, the Mariners. Too many games in baseball season. Nightmare. Please let Bellevue deal with some of this nuisance, as most people come from out of city to watch the games. I don't care about extra revenue for businesses around the stadium. They doing well with all the damn games going on already. I'm tired of paying with my time....I live in Seattle. Take this shit elsewhere!!!
Posted by EnuffAlready on July 30, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
87
Please let them move to Bellevue if that's an option. I'm sick of traffic downtown, as I live very close to the stadiums (and don't need more traffic). I lived on Queen Anne for years and had to deal with Key Arena Sonics traffic. I travel to and from Beacon Hill and Queen Anne on an almost daily basis. I am sick and tired of all the traffic because of sports. Especially, the Mariners. Too many games in baseball season. Nightmare. Please let Bellevue deal with some of this nuisance, as most people come from out of city to watch the games. I don't care about extra revenue for businesses around the stadium. They are doing well with all the damn games going on already. I'm tired of paying with my time....I live in Seattle. Take this shit elsewhere!!!
Posted by EnuffAlready on July 30, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
88
@76 Bob Dylan plays at Key Arena because the acoustics are so bad no one would notice his voice sucks. Yyaaaaoooouuuu belrlrlooooong to mreeeeewyweee!

Sorry, that was right over the plate. Wait, that's a sports reference you won't understand.
Posted by Skittles on July 30, 2012 at 6:52 PM · Report this
89
@86&87 selfish much?
Posted by nonhater on July 30, 2012 at 8:22 PM · Report this
90
You might be a dope-smoking newspaper, but all the real homos left your paper in the 90's. Eat shit and die.
Posted by thegoodfight on July 30, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this
91
Also, we already have a basketball team: The Storm. Oh, wait, that's women's basketball so that doesn't count, right?
Posted by thegoodfight on July 30, 2012 at 8:36 PM · Report this
92
Is that Grant Brissey in the lower right of the illustration for this article?
Posted by Buttah on July 31, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
93
Oh, yes, THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT !??

here are reasons AGAINST the stadium
I have not seen reflected elsewhere just yet:

1. Hidden Dollar coast
Even if the public appears to not pay much directly,
here are the hidden untold costs:

* increased traffic. costs the public, public transit a lot.
more wasted gasoline, lack of affordable parking during events

* stadium construction binds precious construction resources.
It is not that we can ramp construction up and down as we wish.
Trained construction jobs and contractors are precious reseources.
We need them for more important infrastructure projects.
As a result, because of the law of supply and demand,
and because supply cannot simply be ramped up,
and because of competition over other resources
that will drive up costs for other seemingly unrelated public projects.

* It enables the ongoing ever more greedy attitude by teams.
the old stadiums dont do it anymore, heh ? By enabling this,
there are more costs in the future from supporting this kind of
greed.

2. costs to the planet, society
* in an age of where people truly need to
devote more time for more community based action,
more sustainable local smaller-scale fun
this is just more extravaganza than we need
* we play into the hands of the powers-that-be
who want to keep us distracted with senseless
repetitive entertainment. we have already enough
sports entertainment. the people are supposed to
be kept stupified by triva-based entertainment.
Infatuation with rooting for a team keeps people
divided in some perverse way rather than uniting
for a common cause.
* more carbon emissions from both increased traffic
and construction.

3. political cost
* if this goes wrong, people will get ever more
cynical about government. cynicism blocks us from
working together, creating more effective government
because it makes us disengaged from getting involved.
that too is what the powers-that-be scretly want to happen.
More...
Posted by The_Less_The_Better on July 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM · Report this
94
There are so many people commenting on the dumbest shit! Did you guys even read the fucking article?
Posted by Andrew1979 on August 1, 2012 at 10:57 PM · Report this
95
@91

Right.
Posted by JMike on August 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this

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