- Bellevue developers Skip Rowley and Bob Wallace are angry that "limited public financial resources" are being used to subsidize a Sodo arena... when they could be used to subsidize a Bellevue arena.
In a hilariously hypocritical letter mailed to Eastside "community leaders," influential Bellevue developers Skip Rowley and Bob Wallace rake two Republican King County Council members over the coals for voting to approve the use of "limited public financial resources" to build a new arena in Seattle's Sodo neighborhood instead of, you know, using limited public financial resources to build a new arena in Bellevue.
"The recent debate over a new arena in the Sodo area of Seattle demonstrated that our elected officials are out of touch with the people who elected them, " Rowley and Wallace angrily write. "Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert ignored the interest of their constituents in order to support the arena."
So, who exactly are Hague and Lambert's constituents? Rowley and Wallace, of course. And what exactly are their interests...?
Lambert and Hague's support of the Sodo arena damaged efforts by Bellevue officials to build a new arena on the Eastside.
One of the arguments against building a Sodo arena is that it would doom the city-owned KeyArena, leaving taxpayers with a money-losing white elephant. But as this letter makes clear, KeyArena—already on the downslide toward the end of its 25 to 30 year lifespan—is doomed regardless. Rowley, Wallace and others started planning an Eastside arena the minute the Sonics left for Oklahoma City, a facility they doubtlessly expected to be funded through a substantial public contribution.
This, of course, is what makes the entirety of the Rowley/Wallace letter so utterly laughable. They decry the Sodo arena as "a sweetheart deal for the developer at taxpayer expense" when that is exactly what they were shilling for in Bellevue. They bemoan how "cities and counties are strugglingly to pay for basic services," while consistently supporting the Republican anti-tax agenda. They accuse Hague and Lambert of making a secret "backroom deal" when they and their exclusive club of Eastside developers are masters of the art.
Ironically, insiders tell me, these personal attacks against Hague and Lambert are only steeling their resolve. And with a new and improved Memorandum of Understanding coming before the council for final approval, it's hard to imagine how the two could justify flipping their votes without coming off as mere puppets of the Wallace/Rowley/Freeman Eastside developer cabal.
It's not often we get to view such hot Republican-on-Republican action. So enjoy it while you can.