A committee considering bids for construction on the Seattle Center's Fun Forest site looks likes it's already tilted in favor of a proposed Chihuly museum. Two members of the panel that will consider the bids will be culled from groups that have recently supported the Chihuly Museum project and have strong ties to the Space Needle, which is behind the museum.
As I just posted, the Seattle Center recently announced it will begin seeking bids for ways to use public land at the Seattle Center in mid-April. A request for proposals, as the bid-seeking process is called, essentially allows anyone the opportunity to submit ideas for developing or otherwise using the space.
Sounds like the Seattle Center is finally embracing public process, right?
But Seattle Center spokesperson Deborah Daoust wrote in an email today that the review panel will include members from both the Seattle Center Advisory Commission and Century 21 committee, as well as individuals recommended from both city council and the mayor's office.
The problem is, certain members of the Seattle Center Advisory Commission and the Century 21 Committee have already publicly spoken out in favor of the Chihuly Museum project. For example, Jan Levy spoke for the Chihuly Museum at Tuesday's meeting and she is Century 21 Committee co-chair; her fellow co-chair is Jeffrey Wright, owner of the Space Needle. Wright is financially backing the Chihuly Museum. Levy also serves on the Seattle Center Advisory Commission. Robert Nellams, director of the Seattle Center, also spoke in favor of the project at Tuesday's public meeting—even though he was moderating the meeting. Representatives from Seattle International Film Festival, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Intiman Theater, and other vested Seattle Center interests all stumped for the Chihuly Museum.
It's unclear how many alternative bids will go before this review panel or how many people will sit on the review panel. But, whoever it is, they should be impartial. Certainly, people involved with the Seattle Center, the Space Needle, or Century 21 committee should recuse themselves.