- Goldy | The Stranger
- An overflow crowd lined up early for this afternoon's Sonics arena hearing at City Hall
City Hall's Bertha Knight Landes room quickly filled to its 250 person capacity for this evening's joint council Sonics arena hearing, sending another couple hundred people upstairs into City Council chambers to watch on TV. I've parked myself front row, center aisle, where I can make funny faces at the council members, and perhaps even comment here on the proceedings until my interest wanes or my battery power runs out, whichever comes first.
UPDATE 5:35 PM:
They just called roll, and Reagan Dunn is here! Take that, Bob Ferguson.
UPDATE 5:58 PM:
The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 15 is here in force tonight, dominating the first dozen or so public commenters. This is the union that represents many Key Arena employees, and they are here to demand that Key Arena not be privatized as part of the deal, and that any publicly financed arena if built, be unionized as well, guaranteeing living wage jobs and health benefits. "We don't want to be traded away to the lowest bidding team," one IATSE member said. It's an issue that hadn't occurred to me before, and a condition that certainly belongs in the MOU.
UPDATE 6:05 PM:
The Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council also has several representatives here, and surprise: they're for constructing a new arena! The maritime unions on the other hand, not so much.
UPDATE 6:09 PM:
When I wasn't looking, Reagan Dunn disappeared! Hmm... maybe Bob Ferguson is onto something?
UPDATE 6:11 PM:
Sally Clark is in Boston, but Tim Burgess says she's watching online an texting him.
UPDATE 6:18 PM:
The Sonics Guy just spoke, and got by far the loudest round of applause of the night. He's also apparently a big Kathleen Drew fan.
UPDATE 6:22 PM:
"Nattering nabobs of negativism like the Seattle Times." Didn't catch the name of the guy who said it, but it drew a lot of applause.
UPDATE 6:26 PM:
There's a weird sorta broadcast delay thing going on, in which the crowd in the overflow room upstairs can be heard cheering loudly about 45 seconds after the crowd cheers down here. (Or maybe they're cheering before we cheer down here? That would be freaky.)
UPDATE 6:30 PM:
Environmental attorney Peter Goldman, who opposes the arena, apologized in advance to the crowd before he spoke. That gives you an idea of the partisan makeup of the audience.
UPDATE 6:33 PM:
Tip to public testifiers: don't ask council members a rhetorical question, and then stand there waiting for them to answer. Just saying.
- Goldy | The Stranger
- Tim Burgess with that clock he carries around with him that counts down to the end of the McGinn administration.
UPDATE 6:50 PM:
So a non-snarky thought on this evening's proceedings. Last time I covered something like this was the hearings over the Metro-saving $20 car tabs. The conventional wisdom at the time was that there wasn't the two-thirds majority needed on the county council to pass the measure, and while the crowds came out overwhelmingly in favor, there was a sense that the council members would vote the way they planned to vote regardless. It didn't work out that way. The car tabs passed. The point is, when the public turns out so overwhelming on one side of an issue, council members do tend to listen.
UPDATE 6:52 PM:
Supporters just turned in a petition in favor of the arena with over 12,600 signatures on it.
UPDATE 7:01 PM:
Still no sign of Reagan Dunn, while Bob Ferguson sits there busily taking notes. Another example of Dunn padding his attendance record by showing up for roll call and then bugging out?
UPDATE 7:08 PM:
Of the 12 council members here, four are using iPads, four are using smart phones, three are scribbling on notepads, and Jean Godden is scratching notes onto a clay tablet.
UPDATE 7:24 PM:
Finally getting to a string of anti-arena testifiers—people representing port related businesses and unions. "You can build an arena anywhere; you can't move a port."
UPDATE 7:34 PM:
"You are now running on reserve power," my MacBook is telling me, which means I'll soon be running home to feed and walk my dog. Considering most of the people are pretty much repeating the same pro and con arguments, I don't think I'll miss much.
UPDATE 7:38 PM:
Just to be clear, still no Reagan Dunn. He came, he left. And now, so will I.