No new arena in SODO, say 34th District Democrats

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The 34th District Democrats are now officially on the record as against the proposed SODO arena.

That’s the result of a resolution approved following an hour and a half-long forum in which three supporters and three opponents participated.

Many stressed this wasn’t an anti-bring-back-the-Sonics vote, but rather a vote reflecting serious concerns about the location, as have been voiced by organizations including the Port of Seattle and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (here’s their July 25th letter).

The pro-SODO arena speakers:
County Councilmember Joe McDermott
Southwest Youth and Family Services director Steve Daschle
Labor organizer Jermaine Smiley

The anti-SODO arena speakers
Justin Hirsch, ILWU member
Dave Montoure, restaurateur
Peter Goldman, environmental lawyer

Leading off, Goldman advocated for rewriting the stadium agreement, saying he believes he represents a “strong majority of citizens who are shocked … at the way the arena has been railroaded … A full-court press is the only way to describe what’s gone on around here. … Opposing this arena isn’t about whether or not to bring the Sonics back. … And it’s not about whether we should have public-private partnerships … many times it’s the only way to bring things forward.” He said instead it’s about whether private investors should dictate where to build arenas with (the help of) taxpayer money, and whether a vision by “our forefathers” to maintain “a vibrant industrial area” (the port) would be “jeopardized.” He says the potential impacts, such as environmental, have not yet been analyzed; “the MOU that (the county) has approved already designates this as the site.” He says that’s a violation of the State Environmental Policy Act. He wants elected officials to “put the brakes” on the project and study it before finalizing anything.

Next, Councilmember McDermott argued that the proposal already had been thoroughly vetted, with meetings, hearings, an independent panel, and that what the County Council approved last week was a stronger document than the one that King County Executive Dow Constantine had sent to them. “We know that transportation issues exist in SODO,” he said, adding that they had existed long before this issue arose. He also stressed that the proposal uses only a small percentage of the county’s bonding capacity.

Dave Montoure spoke next, in opposition to the SODO location for the arena. He stressed, however, that he was not speaking on behalf of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which he chairs, and which sent a Montoure-signed letter to the City and County Councils. He took issue with Executive Constantine for calling SODO arena opponents people who find excuses not to get things done, and listed panels and organizations that had come out against it and didn’t seem to be excuse-finding types. He also voiced concern for industrial jobs.

Steve Daschle then spoke, in favor of the arena. His board supports it, he said, seeing it as relevant to their agency’s mission of helping youth, who often build relationships with professional athletes – like Brandon Roy, who was involved with bringing a new basketball court to the play yard outside the SWYFS building in 2008 (WSB coverage here). The kids SWYFS serves are “often without hope,” he noted. “Often sports is the key that can unlock the inner motivation.”

Longshore worker Justin Hirsch followed him. He said ILWU is not necessarily “opposed to an arena per se, but (this location) will ultimately prove disastrous to the economy of our region … (it) would create a substitution effect on consumer spending,” with “minimal” economic benefit to the region “at best,” and a displacement of maritime uses for land in the area. “At a time when our country is recovering from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, it is (a bad decision) to displace (that type of economic activity).” He said that negotiations over Terminal 46 have been “negatively effected” by the discussion of another potential arena. “The risk to jobs and the economy is not vague and distant, but clear and immediate.” He noted that “no comprehensive mitigation plan exists” and “it remains unclear who would pay” for one.

Jermaine Smiley spoke last. He said, “I hate to be against my union brother but … the port infrastructure problems have (long) existed.” He suggested that other municipalities might be happy to make room for the arena – like Kent. “I don’t want to see the Kent SuperSonics, I want to see the Seattle SuperSonics. … The port has not offered alternatives.”

Before the resolutions were brought up for consideration, the floor was opened to Q/A. The first question asked whether arena proponent Chris Hansen was “hedging” it. Speaking in his defense was Councilmember McDermott, who pointed out that Hansen is a hedge-fund manager, but also pointed out that prominent local businesspeople were backing it too.

Second question came from Susan Harmon, asking for a show of hands regarding who on the panel supports bringing back the Sonics – all six raised their hands – and saying therefore the sports issue should be taken out, to talk about “what it’s really about.” Eventually Councilmember McDermott retorted that while “it’s important to look at alternatives … there is only one option on the table right now,” with no one else offering to put up money to build at another location.

The third person to ask a question wondered how much SODO land Chris Hansen owns now. Montoure said six acres, but mentioned that a Florida sports complex, for example, had 20 acres. “How many acres is it going to take?” asked the questioner.

Marcee Stone next brought up an independent study that was supposed to be done, paid for by Hansen – “Is that true?” McDermott replied, “That’s the way the agreement currently reads, yes.” “So,” Stone went on, “what is independent about the study?”

Next person: “Aren’t we afraid that if this can’t be done, that (Hansen) will go away?” McDermott: “We have only one proposal on the table. Do we have to take this one? No … In time, certainly other proposals would come forward. We have only one proposal on the table … so (the community must decide) whether this works for us or not.”

Goldman jumped in to say that the MOU approval now would create “unstoppable momentum” for the proposal.

Another audience member voiced concern about “gentrification” and a threat to “blue-collar working-class jobs.” Goldman replied, noting that Lake Union has industrially zoned land that certainly would be more valuable if condos were allowed “but we’ve made a deliberate decision to make Seattle affordable … which is why this is such a surprise to me, that we might do something to risk that.”

Next person brought up the number of people games would bring to the stadium zone. Montoure said, “Any day game displaces economic activity in SODO – if you’re going to add 44 more games, you’re going to rob (those businesses) of economic activity.”

McDermott observed that some recent and in-progress transportation improvements such as the East Marginal Way Grade Separation, Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project and Atlantic Street overpass will provide some relief from traffic trouble.

Hirsch subsequently disputed the traffic study’s validity. He talked about one project – the 509 flyover – having been changed for construction of the Silver Cloud Hotel next to the existing stadiums.

McDermott agreed that it wasn’t ideal for the traffic study to have included part of Friday as a weekend day.

There also were questions about financial projections and taxpayers’ commitments. McDermott said the city’s financial projections – more conservative, as he described them – showed a funding gap, but that handling it would not affect general-fund expenses for the city like fire or police.

“The assumption here is that everything is gonna work,” said Goldman, who contended that this would exhaust “the city’s councilmanic bond authority – the bonds that it can approve without going to the voters. … I guess what I’m saying is that we are using a lot of our debt for this.”

As the meeting approached the hour and a half mark, though many hands were still in the air, two final questions were allowed. One was a question about what kind of projects were coming up that might also draw on the city’s bonding authority. Maybe a road measure, suggested Goldman, pointing out the maintenance problems on local roads: “We’re like a third-world country.” Smiley retorted that the pothole problem had been around for 20 years – “the arena’s not going to take away pothole money or paving money, they don’t spend it as it is.”

Daschle had mentioned the shortfall in human-services funding; McDermott said he wished the county could use its bonding capacity to fund that, but currently, it cannot.

The final questioner from the audience suggested that it all looks like a “win-win” situation to her regarding dealing with traffic issues, especially considering these types of agreements didn’t exist when the two previous stadiums were built. McDermott reiterated that a variety of studies have been called for to get all that information particularly regarding the Port’s concerns. Montoure then asked, “Why hasn’t the port been at the table all along, then?”

Goldman said, “We already have great sites – why would we want to build it (here)?”

“Where are those sites?” someone called out.

“Bellevue,” he said, drawing a hiss, then drawing applause when for one, he suggested, “Rainier Valley.”

Smiley said he didn’t see Rainier Valley as a realistic option. And he simply didn’t want to see it in Bellevue.

Is the arena a done deal?

“As we learned from the monorail and Seattle Commons,” said Daschle, wryly. “Nothing is inevitable.” With that … around 8:30 … the meeting moved into:

ARENA RESOLUTIONS: The anti-arena resolution was introduced first. Marcee Stone, speaking for it, talked about port workers in her family: “These kids are doing their very best (to get economically stable). I do not want to see something that is there to benefit the wealthiest people in this area … that will harm the workers in that area … I have to say too that I am disappointed about the process (in which) this has come about.” She also brought up the transportation challenges she experiences in the area every day, “sitting on a bus on 3rd Avenue,” and she mentioned the story we reported earlier today, that Columbia Street is in the lead for a post-Viaduct transit pathway off Alaskan Way into downtown, another piece of a tangled traffic puzzle for West Seattleites.

Councilmember McDermott then spoke against the resolution, saying he wanted the organization “not to close the door” on a process that he said had at least five more decision points ahead.

The anti-SODO arena resolution then passed, 50 to 23. (Read the text here.)

The pro-SODO arena resolution (text here) was not considered, because no one made a motion to consider it.

A third resolution, supporting KeyArena – not as an NBA location, but to say it deserves funding for modernization (read the text here) – passed, 55-6.

Other notes from tonight’s meeting:

POST-PRIMARY: The meeting began with a round of celebratory applause for the results from Tuesday’s election, which has the Democratic candidates leading for key offices such as governor and attorney general.

GARDEN PARTY: The 34th Dems’ big fundraiser of the year is coming up on August 17th at West Seattle Nursery, with attractions including food from The Swinery, ice cream from Full Tilt, live music, and “sweet deals” – as chair Tim Nuse put it – in the silent and live auctions.

OFFICERS ELECTED: The 34th DDs lost two vice chairs recently; elected tonight to replace them were Marcee Stone and Ted Barker.

The 34th District Democrats usually meet on the second Wednesday of the month, 7 pm, at The Hall at Fauntleroy; info at

131 Replies to "No new arena in SODO, say 34th District Democrats"

  • Findlay August 8, 2012 (9:30 pm)

    34th District Democrats … For Arena-Inequality!

  • JEM August 8, 2012 (9:42 pm)

    As someone who works in Sodo, my observation is that traffic problems are caused by port traffic (and BNSF crossings). Arena traffic would mostly be during off hours for port, so don’t know why they are complaining. The worst traffic is due to afternoon mariners games that let out around rush hour. 7pm games do not have much impact.

  • Down In Delridge August 8, 2012 (9:43 pm)

    I hope I am not the only West Seattleite that is more than troubled by the fact that a person on this panel doesn’t even live in the 34th District. In fact, they don’t even live in the city, but instead live on the east side. They seem to think that they know what is best for WS not on just this stadium issue but on other matters as well. Such as the DESC project being shoved into Delridge.

  • Kayleigh August 8, 2012 (9:44 pm)

    This is why we can’t have anything nice here in Seattle. People will whine and block stuff unless the nice thing is exactly how they personally want it. So stuff gets debated for years and nothing gets done. Have you people ever heard of ADAPTING TO CHANGE?
    Rest assured I won’t be joining or supporting the 34-DDs, and I’m a lifelong Democrat.

  • mengle August 8, 2012 (9:47 pm)

    I am now against anyone in the 34th district democratic party.
    I will always vote against you !!

  • bettnort August 8, 2012 (9:48 pm)

    Completely disagree with the 34th District Democrats – and I’m a Democrat. A new arena and bringing back the Sonics will be a net positive for our our community. I don’t want the Port to turn Sodo into another Harbor Island.

  • sw August 8, 2012 (9:51 pm)

    Guess I’m calling myself an “Independent” from now on, as their actions certainly do not speak for me. Thank you Joe, Steve and Jermaine for having the vision to see beyond the naysayers and work to move our city forward in spite of those who continue to foster the insipid NIMBY “Seattle Process” attitude that we’ve battled for decades.

  • West sea neighbor August 8, 2012 (10:01 pm)

    Who made these bozos, and I do mean BOZOS, representatives of anyone. You have no right to speak on behalf of ANY of the residents of west Seattle. Fine if you call yourselves the “Justin Hirsch/Dave Montoure/Peter Goldman Democrats”, but how dare you claim to represent the views of a party for an entire district?

  • Justin August 8, 2012 (10:01 pm)

    The 34th district democrats will be no longer. Lets vote these bums right out of office.

  • Brad August 8, 2012 (10:08 pm)

    Absolutely pathetic findings by the 34th district. I agree with the comments above, time to take action and get rid of these losers!

  • mr. the horse August 8, 2012 (10:10 pm)

    wow. how very, very dumb…. c’mon 34th, pull yr head out.

    • WSB August 8, 2012 (11:32 pm)

      For those who think the 34th District Democrats are people you can vote out – they are not elected officials – except for a few elected officials who do belong to the group, such as pro-stadium Councilmember McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine. They’re local residents (the district includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon and a few other spots) who care about issues and candidates and meet monthly. So if you are a Democrat, go to the meetings. You could have been voting against the anti-SODO stadium resolution tonight if you were a member (membership info here: ) … They do a lot of volunteer work, political and nonpolitical (regular work parties at the White Center Food Bank, for example) too and like every community group are always excited about new help. The resolutions brought up tonight were proposed by membership, not group leadership, so if there’s something else you care intensely about, join in, get involved, lead the way. Like any community group, they are representatives because they show up. That’s all you have to do … if you think the people who are showing up and doing the work aren’t representative of your views, then show up and be there to voice your views and do the work too – TR

  • Mike August 8, 2012 (10:12 pm)

    So let me get this right… the trains and semis cause traffic backups all the time, but arena traffic that lasts about an hour is the cause of all traffic in SODO? OH and isn’t the area the new arena is supposed to go on DESIGNATED as land for an ARENA? This should not be rocket science. You can be against the arena, but it’s not like we’re having some developer come in and change city codes to fit their personal needs to build…it has been designated for an arena for a LONG time now.
    I’m a registered Democrat but our local Democrat representation is failing horribly at representing us. Pushing me closer to vote for the opposition.

  • kc August 8, 2012 (10:18 pm)

    I often drive past the port in the evening around the time that an NBA game would be played and the port is a ghost town.

  • Strike em out Kinney August 8, 2012 (10:37 pm)

    These so called non progressive officials wont be getting my vote.

  • Look Before you Leep August 8, 2012 (10:41 pm)

    For the record, I don’t personally care if we finally get another arena. But I don’t understand the need. I went to a few Sonics games with friends. I RARELY recall (if ever) Key Arena was sold out completely…usually left over seats, but now the problem is we need 5000 MORE seats to have a basketball team? Seriously? The Sounders had 60,000 people at a game a few days ago. They’ve effectively taken the ‘sports’ gap when the Sonics left and THEN some. We’re not that big of a city, but we still feel so insecure we need to have professional football, baseball, basketball (mens and womens), hockey, and soccer? Isn’t that a bit overkill for a city of our size? Who cares, just don’t ask me to pay a DIME for the place. If some billionaire wants to build it and charge $x a ticket and overpriced beer to make a profitable private business, so be it. But if it’s NOT profitable for-profit business, but in fact needs to be socialized/subsidized, then forget it. If we don’t have the money to even keep our freaking libraries open regular hours, we don’t have the money to be subsidizing unprofitable 5th or 6th professional sports teams.

  • greg August 8, 2012 (10:41 pm)

    Tacoma is the city of destiny because it has a better port. Seattle has been losing port work to Tacoma so it is poisoning local opinion. Queen anne is terrible. I love the idea of a sporting district in Sodo and have become very anti bicameral.

  • Disappointed August 8, 2012 (11:09 pm)

    34th District Democrats – I am very disappointed in you. From the few comments above, you have actually hurt Democrats, as well as your community. Perhaps you should consider making NO recommendation (as opposed to the wrong one).
    WSB – thanks for the great reporting.

  • M.Walton August 8, 2012 (11:10 pm)

    I am so disappointed in the 34th St Dems. who fell for an emotional appeal that has no facts behind it. This hysteria about loss of jobs is not based on facts or data projections. If the loss of jobs were true, the Port revenue receipts should reveal higher profits for the winter months when there are no sports to impede their progress. But there data doesn’t show that, This arena is half the size of the Mariner stadium. Has the presence of these stadiums caused the Port to lose jobs? They have not said that. Hansen only paid for a transportation study at the City’s request; the SDOT not Hansen oversaw the study in May 2012, and its filled with facts. The Port’s study was paid for by the Port and was based on old studies nothing recent except for 1 day of traffic on friday when there was a Mariner’s game… Don’t we all know that Seattle traffic on Friday is always bad no matter where you are in Seattle? And BTW if the Arena goes out of the City limits, good bye to the Key, because the competition from an arena elsewhere will put the Key firther underwater. The SoDO investors were going to work with the City to repurpose the Key. But even though you didn’t support it, it will still happen. Then you will see that the truth and facts were on the side presented by McDermott, Daschele and Smiley.

  • Alki August 8, 2012 (11:11 pm)

    I totally support the 34th DD’s position. Take the taxpayer completely out of the SODO arena proposal and then I might consider supporting the project.

  • LAintheJunction August 8, 2012 (11:11 pm)

    As a member of the 34th District Democrats, I can speak for myself in saying that I support the arena and was sorry to see the vote go against it the way it did. But it was a good forum and the majority ruled. Hopefully our city and county elected leaders can do just that – lead. Joe McDermott had it right when he said that we can work together to have the arena AND jobs – we just need to focus on the “and”, not the “or”.

  • Seaviewer August 8, 2012 (11:20 pm)


    The traffic issue is so overblown. I can’t stand the port complaining about this. They know it won’t effect them. They just want their stupid Lander overpass.

    I’m old enough to remember when the Sonics, Sounders, Seahawks and Mariners not only all played in SODO, but all played in the same damned building. 79-81 had all four teams playing in the Kingdome. It didn’t effect the port then and it won’t effect them now. And they know this.

    SODO has proven itself to be a great place to put a stadium. Plenty of transit and parking options. Walking distance to light rail, commuter rail, the ferries, and practically every bus route in the county. It’s also walking distance to downtown Seattle where around 200,000 people come and go everyday. A basketball arena is a drop in the bucket for that neighborhood.

  • thegodshavegonecrazy August 8, 2012 (11:23 pm)

    Wow, the idea that we don’t “have anything nice” in Seattle is a revelation to me…I wonder why I (or anyone) muddle(s) through this awful hellscape, bereft of all that is “nice”?

  • Mike August 8, 2012 (11:23 pm)

    Good job, 34th!

  • acbytesla August 9, 2012 (12:10 am)

    Congratulations to the 34 District Democrats for seeing beneath this railroad job by Chris Hansen. The Port of Seattle is far too valuable of an asset to throw it away on a basketball arena that could be located virtually anywhere.

    The traffic issues in SODO are substantial and another sports facility with 100+ dates a year could seriously jeopardize Terminal 46 and thousands of jobs. I’m glad to see that some people are keeping their eye on the main course and not just the empty calories.

  • The Jack August 9, 2012 (12:13 am)

    Right on seaviewer, I too remember those days. Lookbeforeyouleep should read history before you speak. The Sonics, to this day hold several NBA attendance records that may NEVER be broken. When Bennett dismantled the team to a bunch of rookies that got BEAT every night is why the seats were empty. Having worked in Key Arena from 97-99 there were fewer than 500 seats empty at most games

  • disilusioned WS rez August 9, 2012 (1:08 am)

    My first (and last) 34th meeting. If thats democracy in action, I can’t imagine what democracy at rest looks like. I haven’t seen that many unhappy old people since the Charlestown Cafe closed. It seemed the opposition didn’t want to hear facts, they just wanted to say no because it was a rich guys idea. And don’t get me started on the Port of Seattle and their minister of dis-information. I felt like I was watching that Iraqi defense guy that kept saying things that everyone knew weren’t true (including him) but he had to say it becasue he was told to. I am really dis-heartened by the process. As someone who lives and works in West Seattle, I’m embarrased the rest of the city will see what happened last night and think everyone in WS has sipped from the Ports jug of Kool-aid.

  • visitor August 9, 2012 (1:12 am)

    I don’t understand people who want to write on the blog about how awful the 34th District Dems are, when they can’t even be bothered to go to the meeting and speak up in a forum where they can have a voice. Or have a vote. IF they had been there, they would have heard the arguments on either side, and I must say, the arguments for the stadium were extremely unconvincing compared to the eloquence and reason on the other side. The 34th did well, with the majority standing for industry, blue-collar workers, and family-wage jobs, the backbone of the Democratic party. If the pro-stadium people are willing to sacrifice our maritime industry and move it to Tacoma, and it they’re willing to gentrify our industrial core in favor of minimum-wage service jobs, maybe they’re not liberals after all.

  • Steve Fisher August 9, 2012 (1:18 am)

    The port is lying and using this for their own purposes pure political bs… a diversion for their own mafia like dealings

  • Dano August 9, 2012 (1:30 am)

    WOW….. Exactly how many arenas does Seattle need?!…. I mean seriously, my elementary school needs a new heating system…. But we can’t get the funding… It’s too expensive.

    Until someone can explain how MORE sports related crap is going to dramatically improve everday people’s lives…… I’m never going to understand this. (…it’s not jobs, either folks…..) We’ve built two new sports stadiums in recent years…. When they’re built, the jobs go away…… But we can’t just keep building MORE sports arenas!!!…… That’s simply ridiculous!

    I’m glad the 34th Dems took this position….. Thank you for thinking reasonably.

  • Gary August 9, 2012 (2:08 am)

    Seattle has been circling the drain for years under Democratic rule. I really hope we don’t get the stadium, figured we would screw it up anyhow. Let Bellevue or Tacoma benefit from this project I’m happy to support them!

  • jhande August 9, 2012 (2:16 am)

    Good vote 34th District D’s. The citizens of Seattle do not wish to pay for the Hansen arena proposal. Don’t worry about the negative comments, the vote results were posted on a pro-Hansen website, and they rushed over here to do whatever it is one calls, what they do.

  • jedifarfy August 9, 2012 (5:01 am)

    So between the major bus changes and a third arena that you know will be built no matter what, exactly how am I supposed to get to work in a decent amount of time, and home at the end of the day? One small bottleneck on the viaduct yesterday, and my commute was increased by 50%. I like driving, but gas and parking eat my budget for things like food. Perhaps it’s time to buy less, live off bread and peanut butter, and start commuting myself.

  • Walter August 9, 2012 (5:03 am)

    VERY surprised that 34th District Democrats can’t see that the Port issues are overblown. Perhaps the facts simply don’t matter? Is this a political stand based upon the “clear message” that the 34th District Democrats stand up for the “common man and woman” and not “big business,” that if anything is perceived as going against this that it should be shot down — even if not based upon facts? In my mind, this is a classic example of the absurdity of politics at work.

  • WSDEM August 9, 2012 (5:13 am)


  • Walter August 9, 2012 (5:44 am)

    Concerning Peter Goldman’s comments that a “strong majority of citizens…are shocked … at the way the arena has been railroaded … A full-court press is the only way to describe what’s gone on around here.” There is the belief that nothing ever gets done in Seattle because the process that you describe. Certainly there needs to be a reasonable amount of this, but not to have most ideas die, clogged up in the political process.

  • Art Critic August 9, 2012 (5:44 am)

    I’m exhausted about our tax dollars going to millionaires to build their luxury suites and field turf monumuments while voter/taxpayer/working poor get mother Hubbard soft soaped and more important things are called socialism or comically communism by people addicted to Fox News and it’s affiliated Sports Industrial Complex designed to placate the masses of Hero Worshipping American Dreamers BS, since now they find it difficult to Shock and Awe. Talk about Corporate Welfare? Go 34thdemos, put that limited dollar to more important things. We don’t need more arenas, we don’t want more stadiums. We even voted against it, in our democracy. I don’t believe in nba,nfl,MLB. Get that vision thing goin. 80$ a seat I better see some good jazz for that…

  • CandrewB August 9, 2012 (5:50 am)

    “Take the taxpayer completely out of the SODO arena proposal and then I might consider supporting the project.”

    Take the taxpayer completely out of the SODO arena proposal and then it’s really none of your business.

  • work downtown August 9, 2012 (5:50 am)

    Finally some sanity. We do not need another stadium in that area. Rebuild KeyArena – its perfect for the Sonics. We do no want to lose the Port business, its extremely important to the City of Seattle.

  • jiggers August 9, 2012 (6:17 am)

    If people actually cared about a basketball team here, they wouldn’t have let the Sonics leave in the first place. Hardly anyone cared several years ago when they threatened to leave. You all should have came out then and supported the team. Yeah.. you just don’t know what you got until it’s gone right?

  • Ken August 9, 2012 (6:30 am)

    Thanks for the clarification on what the 34th dems are and are not. The willful ignorance of some of the posters indicate they are conservatives.

    Anyone can attend the meetings. Anyone can join. Anyone from anywhere can ask to speak at the meetings and the executive board will put it on the agenda if it is relevant to a proposal. Anyone that lives in a precinct without a PCO can become the PCO for the asking as long as you can say you are a democrat no matter how green blue or red you are. There are all kinds of Dems.

    That’s why we vote.

    Democrats have representatives where republicans have “leaders”. If you pro sports stadium folks feel passionate enough to want to change this, then join up and vote in the membership votes on resolutions. Every democratic organization is available to be taken over if enough people feel passionate about their version of the issues.

    I did not go last night because I despise pro sports and the politics of placating billionaires with tax dollars. I figured those who were not not as prejudiced as I could make the decision after listening to the speakers.

    I am not a nimby but when the viaduct rebuild is going to dump tens of thousands of cars into the existing sodo gridlock we do not need to be adding to the problem.

    Put the thing in Tukwila near a light rail stop and it will become a light rail subsidy.

  • Nick August 9, 2012 (7:02 am)

    Build the arena.

  • D-mom August 9, 2012 (7:30 am)

    Well said Look Before you Leep. I have no interest in another stadium, especially one that sits between my office and home. I already deal with enough stadium traffic and higher parking prices on game days. Why don’t we address all those issues that people bring up where responses are “they existed before this proposal”. I’m glad the 34th voted against it.

  • ChefJoe August 9, 2012 (7:53 am)

    Wow, the 34th is a pretty big chunk of Joe McDermott’s home territory too. A vote 70% against the measure he’s representing on the council does not bode well.

    Arena politics: getting toxic fast
    A better argument, in my view, is that a preservation-minded city would be foolish to throw away 100 years of investment in creating a fine port, one that now has the classic combination of deep water, convenient rail lines, two interstates a few blocks away, and the complex weave of skilled support services such as repacking yards, repair facilities, inspection and customs operations efficiently nearby. Rather than its being the Port’s fault that it has built all this and can expand it, is it not more fundamentally a planning failure that Seattle decided to put the stadiums in this awkward, conflict-certain industrial zone?

  • JD August 9, 2012 (8:02 am)

    I never thought I’d see the day I was in agreement with democrats

  • O August 9, 2012 (8:14 am)

    Go Supes!

  • CDB August 9, 2012 (8:37 am)

    I totally agree with the 34th District Democrats. I have worked in SODO for 18 years a block away from the proposed site. Those people you claim there is not a traffic issue apparently have never actually been in the SODO area and experienced the constant traffic delays. I understand the sentimentality involved in “bringing back the Sonics” but let us not operate on sentimentility to the detriment of practicality.

  • LAintheJunction August 9, 2012 (8:38 am)

    Tracy’s right – two of the most vocal proponents FOR the arena are our elected representatives who live in the 34th – King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and King County Executive Dow Constantine. The resolution against the arena was proposed by members, not elected representatives. Any resident in the 34th District who considers themselves a Democrat can join the organization for just $15.
    As I said in a comment above, I’m a member, was at the meeting, and voted AGAINST the anti-arena resolution. I would have liked to have some of you there with me. The vote was 50-23, and if everyone who is commenting angrily here had been at the meeting, it would have been a lot closer, or perhaps even a different result.
    But the bottom line is that the 34th District Democrats are an all-volunteer organization that relies on the strength of its members. As Tracy said, we do a lot of great community work, like registering voters in White Center, doing outreach in diverse communities, volunteering at the food bank, phonebanking for progressive Democratic candidates, and talking with our neighbors about important issues like health care, jobs, environment, etc. So don’t judge the entire organization on the basis of one vote, especially if you weren’t there to participate yourself.
    We meet every second Wednesday at 7pm at the Hall at Fauntleroy, where Barton meets California. Join us and help shape the 34th to match your vision.

  • Pheeel August 9, 2012 (8:48 am)

    “I mean seriously, my elementary school needs a new heating system…. But we can’t get the funding… It’s too expensive”

    The arena has nothing to do with your school not getting funding and will have no impact on it going forward. Don’t confuse the two issues.

  • Jon August 9, 2012 (8:49 am)

    VOTE THEM OUT NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • datamuse August 9, 2012 (8:55 am)

    Hey Jon, I think your capslock is broken.

  • aparent August 9, 2012 (9:01 am)

    I thought (by reading the meeting minutes) that the people at the meeting did a good job respectfully weighing the pros and cons of the proposed project. It’s too bad that more input wasn’t available from those here who seem to think it is a “no-brainer”. Any important decision like this needs to be well-informed, and not made simply on emotion. To me, the scariest thing here is that so many folks are quick to form an opinion about this and I assume other politcal matters without any real information, education on the topic or research. Thanks to WSB for covering it and making this and so many other issues easier for the citizens to read about and understand from both sides.

  • jiggers August 9, 2012 (9:04 am)

    Public health care facilites are way more important to invest in than wasting public monies on a billionaires dream..

  • JoAnne August 9, 2012 (9:08 am)

    Ken what do you know about what goes on in the Republican party? Nothing I would bet.
    We have a great Tea Party contingent and volunteers who work tirelessly on issues like crime, immigration, healthcare, and taxes.
    I am sick of Democrats thinking they can say any nasty, crazy thing about Republicans and get away with it. If you have to lie to win, why would anyone want to be on your side?

  • rose August 9, 2012 (9:30 am)

    once again, west seattlites are all about no fun.

  • CJ August 9, 2012 (9:48 am)


  • Ken August 9, 2012 (9:51 am)

    did the 34th district republicans suddenly start advertising the location of their meeting? I will have to Google and see. It has been a “sekrit klub” in west Seattle for nearly a decade.

    Did no one tell you how your own nominations were made?

    “I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” — Adlai Stevenson

  • Wally August 9, 2012 (9:51 am)

    Democrats that are for Big Union and Anti- Business. What a shocker.

  • tried of Port of Seattle August 9, 2012 (9:59 am)

    T18 has lost all but two steamship lines in the last two months to tacoma. T46 sucks I have drivers that take 3 hours to get in and out of there everyday. traffic is not the problem, its how slow the terminals work. T5 is the best terminal in Seattle with in and out time and they are open thru lunch. bottom line is that taxpayers will not have to pay for the arena unless you are going to a game. this is a win win for the city. the port of seattle will/has lost jobs to the Port of Tacoma not because of traffic but becuase of teminals in seattle are very slow.
    PoS don’t blame the arena on your lost of biz.

  • sw August 9, 2012 (10:02 am)

    Wow. Some of your back yards must look like the 1950’s.

  • Ken August 9, 2012 (10:10 am)

    I voted for Joe and Dow to represent me. And I will again. This one project might get built because they are very effective politicians and advocates for all the concerns of Democrats in the area. This is not the first time nor will it be the last time that we will disagree on a subject.

    But I know both of them will listen to my opinion and the opinion of any other resident of the county if they can be articulate, reasoned and concise. I don’t have a reasoned or concise position to advance on this issue so I did not contact either of them :)

    I don’t like pro sports of any sort and can no longer even tolerate tv “news”.

    But if you want your opinion to count in the future, get involved in your local political party of choice.

  • Dave August 9, 2012 (10:53 am)

    JoAnne the Republicans and especially the Tea Party are about hate, bigotry, bullying and plutocracy. Nothing else and please don’t pretend otherwise.

  • Scott August 9, 2012 (11:27 am)

    This is a potentially huge gift to the City, and people are finding a way to paint it a different color. The financial backing and protections in the MOA make this a no brainer. This isn’t takng tax dollars away from anything.

  • boy August 9, 2012 (11:31 am)

    Freinds don’t let freinds drive drunk, So freinds don’t let freinds vote democrat. Unless you like the state the state is in and want to continue on the same path.

  • ryanl August 9, 2012 (11:35 am)

    we should make the port into a giant park on the water & start to gentrify SoDo!

  • Scuba Steve August 9, 2012 (11:39 am)

    It’s impressive to see so many comments indicating that people are actually not locked into one political party regardless of its actions.

    The ability to vote on actions and issues rather than on political affiliations shows a refreshing sign of intelligence. It’s a West Seattle Thing!

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 9, 2012 (11:59 am)

    JoAnne the Republicans and especially the Tea Party are about hate, bigotry, bullying and plutocracy. Nothing else and please don’t pretend otherwise.
    Dave you are COMPLETELY CLUELESS as to what Republicans and the Tea Party are about.
    Do your self a favor and turn off MSNBC and Maddow, Matthews.

  • Art Critic August 9, 2012 (12:00 pm)

    Arena Sports, a huge gift we don’t want need or care about . If it were being built on the moon I could entertain the idea that it wouldn’t cost shift tax dollars. As considered, tax dollars are already being spent on the salaries of all the govt officials wasting time considering this. How many millions diverting traffic, police, fire, lost time sitting in traffic during construction, it doesn’t take much imagination to conceive too many of our tax dollars being diverted to less important things. Let’s put that private money to more important things while we are on the subject. How about a world class Art Museum? In SODO!

  • tired of phoney testimonials August 9, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    The way this has been railroaded by Joe McDermott & Dow C. informs the backlash they are getting from their own ranks. They chose to listen to a rich guy who negotiated a deal in secret, effectively preventing other alternatives from being on the table, instead of all of the stakeholders that some of whom, oddly enough, also happen to be Democrats.

    The writing on the wall is here, and these leaders need to reconsider their position. Filling a park with greenshirts is one way, and this is another. It is too bad that the pro-arena people cannot seem to listen to concerns, other than to adjust their messaging occasionally. It really shows they are not listening at all. “Git er done” is another way of saying, ‘we are not listening’.

  • DW August 9, 2012 (12:33 pm)

    I love how quickly the arena is progressing. I wish all public projects could move as fast. Letting everyone have a say is why our process takes so long.

  • sw August 9, 2012 (1:05 pm)

    I’d be very interested to hear about all of these “alternatives” that keep being mentioned.

    Currently, we have an investor with roots in the community who has proposed building an arena in an area currently zoned for stadia. He has presented a MOU that addresses the site, financing, cost overruns, contingency plans, debt service and more. He has paid for a traffic study which found traffic issues to be neutral, and no one has been able to offer facts to disprove this.

    The Port counters with traffic and loss of jobs – glossing over the fact that they are losing 20% of their business to Tacoma because it’s cheaper doing business down there. They also are adverse to mention that the majority of the new jobs created will be at Sea-Tac Airport – NOT the container yard. The Port is merely using the arena as a tactic to get someone to fund infrastructure improvements that were promised long ago. Can’t blame them for that, but their real motive in all of this needs to be reiterated.

    So let’s hear ideas for alternatives – site, funding, investors, revenue. Have any? Sure is easy to say “no”, isn’t it.

    Perhaps we should scrap the arena and build a Trader Joe’s on the site. Seems to be the only thing that most people can agree on.

  • Oh man August 9, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    I worked on the Key Arena rebuild. What an amazing project completed under budget and right in time for Season start. But, oh, how quickly these millionaires tire of the toys we citizens give them. I recall Key Arena had its share of toady politicians sucking up the movers and shakers. But Key Arena was a bargain at $33M, and it preserved the vitality of the Seattle Center. Do we really want Sodo to look like Belltown and Paul Allen’s South Lake Union? Do we screw the small business owners so that Chris Hansen can make some more money?

    I say Hell No.

  • bonbon August 9, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    Boo hoo complainers, you didnt get your toy. Try getting angry over somthing that matters. Sports are for sheep.

  • LA August 9, 2012 (1:20 pm)

    Port relted or not, I don’t see the need for another taxpayer supported stadium in Seattle. That whole area is a big clusterbleep right now anyway with all the road work going on. Give it a rest already or go ahead and build it elsewhere. Our roads can barely handle what we have going right now.

  • visitor August 9, 2012 (1:33 pm)

    Here were the arguments FOR the arena last night: McDermott: (why did I vote for him?) The Sonics are treasured. Smiley: we want jobs building the thing and Daschle: Sonics are good role models for kids and one of the old Sonics donated things to kids. ha ha ha The BEST role model for children in poverty is a parent who makes a living wage, who can support her/his family and who can bring hope to her/his children for a better life by sending them to college.

  • Disappointed August 9, 2012 (1:39 pm)

    What difference does the opinion of the 34th DD organization make anyway? They are not elected by the general public and they are not in any way part of the decision making process. They are not the Seattle City Council. They the King County Council.
    Why do we even care what they think? Why did they even bother with issuing an opinion?
    Personally, I don’t care about their opinion, other than the fact that they have hurt election prospects of fellow Democrats.

  • sw August 9, 2012 (1:41 pm)

    @Oh man – you make an excellent point.

    Key Arena was a bargain – and precisely the reason we’re in this situation today. While a novel project from a design and engineering standpoint, the building was built on the cheap and doomed to obsolescence right after the doors opened. It is losing business to other cities because of its inadequacies.

    The city has no money to pay for necessary maintenance let alone improvements to Key. The facility as it currently stands will continue to go deteriorate and become a bigger white elephant than it already is.

    Chris Hansen has offered to pay for improvements to Key, as well as fund studies to determine what its long-term future should be. He’s also offered to manage Key in tandem with the new arena and coordinate events at both – getting the city out of managing the building. Does the city have a plan to preserve Key Arena in this manner?

    As far as the gentrification of SoDo – it’s already happening. If parties would work cooperatively instead of only in their own self-interest, common ground could be found. Chris Hansen has made an effort to do so – the Port has not.

  • ChefJoe August 9, 2012 (1:59 pm)

    Chris Hansen has offered to pay for about $5 million in upgrades while he uses the Key Arena for two years without paying rent for it (rent is not in the MOU, their use of it is). His adviser’s letter in the Key proposal says it’s imperative that Hansen control the bookings of both the Key and his arena so as to “eliminate any conflicts over dates and reduction in rental fees”. It’s not an act of generosity if they want to chop it up into an 7000 seat theater like that Mercer Arena that’s right next door and vacant.

  • ChefJoe August 9, 2012 (2:04 pm)

    Hey Mike… the SoDo arena is being built on the very southern tip of the “stadium transition overlay district” designed to protect the industrial areas to the south. Take a look at the zoning materials and you’ll see that the transition overlay district covers most of Hansen’s property, but not the BNSF sliver to the East and it’s at the very edge of the district. How much “transition” would your neighbor feel if you built your 3 story house right up to the property line ?

  • bonbon August 9, 2012 (2:12 pm)

    I dont know Mike, it seems with your unwitty use of adjetives you might be the teenager in the basement. Clearly youth sports in your local community playfield and a giant mess of an arena are two completely different things. To bad for you Im a young, fit and successful woman who will fight this arena.

  • Brandon August 9, 2012 (2:16 pm)

    does anyone have any idea where our “tax dollars” are being spent for this arena? if you do please speak up because i’m tired of hearing people say that yes tax dollars will be spent…but having no clue where they would be spent on.

  • Louisa August 9, 2012 (2:23 pm)

    Sure wish we could rally this much energy and discussion about ways to improve Seattle Public Schools!

  • tired of phoney testimonials August 9, 2012 (2:37 pm)

    @Brandon: $120m of TIF for G.O. Bonds is public revenue. So is the markup on the property that Hansen will get when he flips it to the city. How much has the city and county spent thus far in consulting, legal advice, and staff hours on this?

    Bottom line is that this is a typical sales gimmick. They want the city to be psychologically committed to the deal before understanding the problems associated with it. Helps to have a 5 year binding contract that they are calling an “MOU”.

  • ChefJoe August 9, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    @Brandon, the spreadsheet at Seattle Clerk’s MOU attachment shows 27 million in city property taxes and 8 million in county property taxes going towards the debt service on the arena. Hansen won’t be paying property taxes, the rest of us will when it shifts to public property.

    And the time the streets in front of the arena gets rebuilt by a city crew while Hansen won’t be paying city taxes will be be some of those other times the rest of us will be footing the bill for the arena. We’d encourage a whole lot of businesses to move into the city if they were given a check for an estimated 30 years of city B&O taxes to do so….. somehow our leaders don’t think that’s prudent but with athletes paid $5M/yr on average it’s a ok.

  • tried of Port of Seattle August 9, 2012 (2:54 pm)

    what are you talking about LA, where the arena it going to be built there is no road work going on.
    Also “another taxpayer supported stadium” where are you getting your info at about Taxpayer paying for it? the only taxpayers that will be paying for it will be the taxpayers going to the games.

  • Mike August 9, 2012 (2:58 pm)

    ChefJoe brings up a valid point… except that my house is 1 story and my neighbor is the one that built their garage addition 1″ from my fence. ;)
    Here’s a map outlining the zoning. Note that Safeco is built OVER the railroad.

  • ChefJoe August 9, 2012 (3:09 pm)

    Yes tired, if the NBA and Hansen live up to their end of the deal for all 32 years then the city will have “paid for” an arena by forgoing between 272 and 390 million in tax revenues (well, 35 million of that is from the residents). Good deal ?

  • Wesley Brian Beshears August 9, 2012 (3:49 pm)

    HARASSMENT, like I have already written, The Seattle City Council has year after year harassed the Seattle residents concerning the replacement of the arena. Harassment: harassment (either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious. Such activities may be the basis for a lawsuit if due to discrimination based on race or sex, a violation on the statutory limitations on collection agencies, involve revenge by an ex-spouse, or be shown to be a form of blackmail (“I’ll stop bothering you, if you’ll go to bed with me”). The victim may file a petition for a “stay away” (restraining) order, intended to prevent contact by the offensive party. A systematic pattern of harassment by an employee against another worker may subject the employer to a lawsuit for failure to protect the worker. I may be wrong but if the people of Seattle do not wish to pay for this new arena in part or whole, this year, and next year the “Board” brings it up again, and the following year it is brought up again, does this not fall under the definition as Gerald and Kathleen Hill have described the word HARASSMENT…
    The “Board has heard us all say NO year after year after year.
    When will a group, committee, or some assembly finally check into the idea that this is harassment, and sue to stop this HARASSMENT……..

  • MikeH August 9, 2012 (3:57 pm)

    Take the port out of the equation here and lets look down the road to when the tunnel is opened up.
    There will be no on or off ramps for those that are commuting to and from West Seattle to downtown and that is going to put 1000’s of drivers on the surface streets right smack in the middle of SoDo Any one that has recently experienced the viaduct being shut-down for an racing event knows exactly what I am talking about. Gridlock… the likes of which can make a normal 10-15 drive take upwards of 90 minutes.(yes it happened to me). Do we really need any venue that will draw more traffic to the area? I think that anyone who works or lives there would say NO. To hell with the arena in SoDo. Seattle is a world class city and we are doing just fine without the NBA.

  • Geoff Taylor August 9, 2012 (4:30 pm)

    Commuting to and from downtown from west seattle has always been a pain during rush hour. And obviously has been much worse with the bored tunnel construction. But once the tunnel is finished in 2015, things will get substantially easier with the additional lanes on SR99, off-ramps that split into multiple lanes and with the SR99 shoulders being designated as transit HOV lanes during peak hours. If the arena is approved it will take a couple years to build once a team is acquired. Putting the opening day sometime after the bored tunnel is finished. At that point, traffic WITH an arena will be better than the traffic that exists now without one. And lets not forget that most peak arena traffic will take place after rush hour.

  • MikeH August 9, 2012 (6:39 pm)

    What are you thinking man? When the tunnel is complete in order for West Seattle commuters to get to and from downtown… they MUST drive on 1st ave or E. Marginal Way and then get on the W.S Freeway or the low level bridge…AND the SR99 toll will practically guarantee that commuters will be on the surface streets.

    • WSB August 9, 2012 (7:06 pm)

      MH, one correction: There will be a south-downtown exit from 99 right before the tunnel entrance. Also, taking the bridge to 4th South is an excellent Viaduct alternative today if you are going downtown and not beyond. Here’s the map of how it will look when the tunnel opens – note the northbound 99 exit to Alaskan Way surface:

  • Port Of Seattle is full of chit August 9, 2012 (7:43 pm)

    You want to know what the main reason for traffic in SODO is? Not the stadiums, not the commuters, but the Port itself! They open the lower bridge and run their trains nonstop without a care for how it affects traffic in the area. I’m all about commerce but please don’t believe the b.s. the Port is feeding you. Take out Safeco and Centurylink Field and traffic would still be a mess. Everytime I get caught waiting for 25 minutes for a train there is no baseball or football or soccer game going on. The port is the MAIN reason traffic sucks in that area and it will stay that way with or without a new arena. As far as Jiggers and MikeH- I’m sorry you guys don’t like sports, I really am. That doesn’t mean you guys need to be bitter and ruin it for the rest of us that do. Sports are a major part of my life and there are many thousands upon thousands of people like me. What do you guys like? The symphony? The Opera? Whatever it is that you guys like, I’m sure I have no interest in. That being said, I support what you guys like and would support building a new facility to facilitate your needs and your way of entertaining yourselves. That’s what it should be about. We should facilitate each other and support what the other person likes to do whether we like to do it or not. That’s what a great city is about. It’s about getting things done to accomodate everyone’s needs. You may not need this arena but us Sonics and hockey fans do need it! I have lived in Seattle my whole life and love this city with all my heart. I’m starting to worry that if this arena doesn’t get built and we continue to moan and cry about other people’s way of having fun that this city will lose it’s sense of fun and just become a bitter, complaining bunch of miserable people who can’t get anything done. To all my fellow Sonics fans- please please please boycott Starbucks! That guy is a cultural terrorist and he should be run out of this town! He should either step up and donate money to this cause and work his butt off to get our team back or he should never be able to show his face in this town without fear of retalitation for the void he left in so many of our hearts.

  • Port Of Seattle is full of chit August 9, 2012 (8:30 pm)

    WSB- Thanks for correcting MH. You have corrected me before and though I felt dumb at the time(and still do), I appreciated your knowledge on the topic at hand. MH- does the H stand for Hater? Just curious

  • West Seattleite August 9, 2012 (9:03 pm)

    I don’t want a new coliseum. The old one is fine.

    I don’t want NBA basketball back.

    I don’t want my ex-wife back.

  • West Seattle since 1979 August 9, 2012 (9:56 pm)

    Jon, they weren’t voted in! They’re volunteers, as Tracy and others others have mentioned above. Two of the actual elected officials were for the arena.

  • visitor August 9, 2012 (10:11 pm)

    The reason some people are passionate about keeping what’s left of the industrial base in SODO is because some people DEPEND on it for their livelihood – as opposed to recreational preferences, be they professional sports, opera, or Chinese checkers. The two should not be compared. Recreational preferences vs. paycheck? Is there any way to compare the two? IT seems some sports fans are so blinded by their love of professional sports they haven’t seen the industrial base slowly eroding in this city. Yes, shippers are picking up and moving to Tacoma and points further south. There’s a desperate need to keep what’s left here. The industrial infrastructure is like plumbing – people don’t want to think about where their products come from. It’s dirty, unsightly, and not glamorous, but our (the city’s) standard of living depends on it. And some people in this city depend on this industry to make a living. It’s unbelievable that some commentators are willing (with impunity!)to sacrifice the industry and its workers for their personal recreational preferences.

  • Harmonic August 9, 2012 (10:40 pm)

    Are you kidding me! It has capacity less than CLink and Safeco. I just don’t understand. We start with JOBS building the thing, JOBS to maintain the thing (permanent), JOBS to run the thing (my first temp job when I moved here was to grab boiled hotdogs and wrap at the kingdome). An arena brins MONEY to thie city.

    I could hate all professional sports, yet realize this.

    So frustrating. That cut off the nose to spite the face sure seems to ring true in Seattle.


  • Port Of Seattle is full of chit August 9, 2012 (10:47 pm)

    visitor- are you a port spokesman? You sure sound like you are on their payroll. Has the port suffered from football or soccer games being played at Centurylink field? Has the port suffered from baseball games being played at Safeco field? The answer is no. You know why the answer is no? Because the port doesn’t shut down when there are games going on. The port never shuts down. Why would an arena that seats less than half of the people of the two stadiums cause the port to shut down? They are gonna run their freight trains and cargo ships whether or not there is a new arena. The port has coexisted with Safeco and Centurylink so why would a new arena all of a sudden shut down the port? I want to keep industrial jobs as well. The port will continue to thrive and we can create more jobs from the building of this arena and from running this arena so please stop with your scare tactics that the port is gonna all of a sudden cease to be able to function because some of us are enjoying a basketball or hockey game. Not if, but WHEN this arena is built, please do not be a VISITOR to this beautiful, much needed addition to our great city. Instead, stay home and keep worrying about how our poor port (which generates more money than all but a couple of ports in the country!) will survive. Our port will be fine and we WILL enjoy our Sonics and hockey team whether you like it or not.

  • Port Of Seattle is full of chit August 9, 2012 (11:00 pm)

    You know what’s really funny? I bet you a huge portion of the materials used to build/run this new arena will come in through the port. How ironic that the port is throwing such a hissy fit over something that they are gonna make money off of. Something smells fishy to me and it’s not that big freighter that just docked it’s shady politicians and the people running the port.

  • MikeH August 9, 2012 (11:47 pm)

    WSB, Thank you for the link to the SR99 plan, but my observation is correct even if I did not state it correctly. W. Seattle commuters have no exit until they are north of downtown..same goes for getting back on to go South and what will the toll be to use it. The tunnel will force more commuters from W. Seattle to the surface roads.. trust me on this one.
    Mr POS troll, why would you infer that the H stands for hater? I love professional sports especially hockey and I was here when the Totems played but I just can not see the need for this arena at its location nor the need for public funding of any sort. A private investment group getting most of the revenue? If it is going to fly then lets rework the MOU so that the city and its citizens benefit financially.. not just the hedge fund manager and his millionaire buddies.

    • WSB August 9, 2012 (11:58 pm)

      Yes, all studies concur that more people will use surface streets if there is a tolled tunnel. But the exit to surface Alaskan Way is south of downtown, not north. It is an exit from 99. I have been covering the stakeholders and working group meetings, which get the first briefings as the project evolves, for four years, and it’s all very clear. We don’t take editorial positions so this is not said in support or opposition to the stadium plan, or the tunnel for that matter, but some West Seattleites mistakenly believe that they will not be able to get off 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and the tunnel, and that simply is not true. It IS true, of course, that it’s not going to be a mid-downtown exit any more, but it is a downtown exit. It is also explained verbally, if the map isn’t working for you, by WSDOT, here:

  • visitor August 10, 2012 (12:14 am)

    >>>The port will continue to thrive

    Seattle lost 20% of maritime traffic last month. Further extensive losses are possible in 2015.

  • G August 10, 2012 (12:21 am)

    “JoAnne the Republicans and especially the Tea Party are about hate, bigotry, bullying and plutocracy. Nothing else and please don’t pretend otherwise.”

    Hey Dave, maybe you have a beef with JoAnne, but can we keep it civil here or leave that for craigslist? You are insulting many fine people – possibly your neighbor. I am a moderate Republican, and millions of Republicans work tirelessly in their communities, besides taking care of themselves and their families. You should get out more often.

    But as far as the arena, the Port of Seattle has been losing work to Tacoma for years, because of favorable rent down south. I doubt an arena would be the death knell, cargo is already down appreciably.

  • visitor August 10, 2012 (1:21 am)

    >>>the Port of Seattle has been losing work to Tacoma for years

    This is just not true. Seattle lost the Grand Alliance to Tacoma in 2012, but Tacoma lost Maersk in 2009 and Sea-Land to Seattle, before that.

  • redblack August 10, 2012 (6:15 am)

    G: before you lecture anyone on civility, i suggest you re-read the first 20 or 30 comments. this conversation started out uncivilly – by a bunch of posters who don’t realize two basic truths, but who decided to pop off anyway:
    1. that the 34th district dems aren’t a government entity and have no authority over anything but their own party’s policies, and then only at the local level.
    2. that chris hansen is not going to foot this project single-handedly and that preferential tax breaks, cushy EIS, favorable zoning, and traffic modifications are the same as taxpayer funding. probably more valuable than actual cash.
    billionaires aren’t stupid, and they rarely invest in anything that doesn’t make them more money. what? you all think this guy is giving this thing away as a gift?
    and to those of you railing against the port, the port is the sole reason that seattle is the thriving city that it is today. don’t forget where your cheap imported consumer goods come from.

  • West Seattle since 1979 August 10, 2012 (7:25 am)

    The arena would seat about 19,000. That’s about the number of people who go to an normal Mariners game in 2012. Not the games when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town. Not Ichiro’s Last night. Not their attendance other years, just normal games this year. That’s what we probably should be comparing arena attendance to.

    I work in Pioneer Square and commute to West Seattle about 5:15 pm or so, and don’t notice any traffic problems on normal Mariners game nights this year.

  • flynlo August 10, 2012 (8:26 am)

    If the Port is so successful, why is it that we pay ~$.22 per $1000 of assessed value in property taxes to the port? When was the last time (if ever) that we got to vote on the size of that levy?
    There is an interesting article in the Seattle Times today regarding the widening of the Panama Canal to allow larger ships to pass thru. Would be interesting to see how the Port intends to “expand” against that!

    • WSB August 10, 2012 (8:33 am)

      Regarding the Panama Canal mention – that’s what the three cranes recently delivered to Terminal 18 were about (and a delivery before that) – new “super post panamax” cranes (forgive me if I get that slightly wrong, will crossreference when our current breaking story is over) to handle the mega-sized ships.

  • JoAnne August 10, 2012 (9:20 am)

    If you were interested or involved you would haven no trouble finding Republican activists.
    The idea the Republican meetings are “secret” is absolutely inane, as is the idea that Tea Partiers are “racists.”

    I thought that stupid “racist” accusation went away when Brietbart offered a $10K reward to anyone who could come up with a recording of a racist comment by anyone in the Tea Party.
    No one has ever claimed that reward, and it’s been 3 years..
    Like I said, you’d be better off limiting your comments to topics that you know something about.
    You know what they say about people who ASSume.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 10, 2012 (9:30 am)

    Will the new arena bring economic benefits to the city? That is the $64,000 question, isn’t it?
    Well lets look at a few things here. From Oct through April the only stadium/arena that is consistently used is CLINK field for Seahawk games.
    The addition of the new arena and NBA team will add about 41 events during that time. Even if they average 15,000 of the ~19,000 capacity that is an extra 615,000 people coming to the SODO area. Double that (add the 40 home NHL games) if we get an NHL team. Not to mention the addition events/concerts that will held there.
    Now will all these people just spend money at the arena and the arena parking lots? Nope. They, not all, but a good portion of them will spend money at the bars and restaurants in Pioneer Square, SODO area. Taxes that will go to the city/county/state and not to the ArenaCo. Also remember that there will be a portion of those people that will travel from out of town and stay in hotels which will bring in more revenue. When I went to Sonic games at Key, I RARELY bought food there, too expensive, but would go to Dicks or Dukes or any one of the other eating establishments in the area. The private parking lots WILL not be handing over their taxes to ArenaCo, but to the city/county/state. True the Safeco parking lot and CLINK parking lot taxes will go to AreanCo, but that is about half of the taxes collected for parking throughout the area. Even Metro and Sound Transit will make more money in the added ridership on buses and Link Light Rail by the added fares from riders using that option to get to the games/concerts instead of driving.
    I don’t buy the old standard that these people will just spend their money anyway on something else if there was no NBA or NHL. Look at the revenue of the businesses around Key Arena before the Sonics left and after.
    The traffic issue brought up be the Port is a smokescreen to try to get traffic mitigation that they want but to get someone else to pay for it.
    Safeco Field and CLINK bonds were paid off early using the tax plan that was put in place for it. Remember that plan? It was an added tax on restaurants ($.10 on $100.00 spent That is 10 CENTS), added tax on hotels and rental cars and an added tax on event tickets. NO PROPERTY TAX increases; NO SALES TAX increases WERE USED TO FUND those two stadiums.
    Key Arena will get some upgrades with no cost to the tax payer. But not to the point where it will be viable for an NBA team long-term, and it will STILL be unsuitable for hockey. That is one of the main reasons the Seattle Thunderbirds now play in Kent vice Key Arena (blocked site lines) or Mercer Arena (too small). The Seattle Storm will benefit from these upgrades, as well as giving Seattle another venue for concerts.
    Remember, these games will be played during a time when there is very little going on in the SODO/Pioneer Square area and will bring added revenue to the business in those areas, AS WELL as added tax revenues to the city.

  • MikeH August 10, 2012 (10:08 am)

    Thank you WSB. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify the future routing of SR99. It still say it be a mess even with or without a new arena in the SoDo district. Traffic volumes are bound to increase..especially as gentrification creep becomes a reality. Have a nice day!

  • MikeH August 10, 2012 (10:21 am)

    WSB.. the new cranes at 18 were already purchased in advance of the Grand Alliance departing for Tacoma. Yes they are the largest of its type on the West Coast. Stevedoring Services of America which is the lessee at T-18 and also has their global headquarters on Harbor Island is the purchaser of the 6 cranes. The Port does not own nor operate them. The pace of containership sizes evolved so rapidly that in the past they would outstrip the lifespan of a container crane in short order. The 6 new ones are engineered to handle anything currently afloat and also can handle future generations of containerships well in to the foreseeable future. And for anyone wondering… no I do not work for the port… so save it.

  • Kathy August 10, 2012 (10:22 am)

    I agree with the 34th District Dems and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. An arena in SODO will draw people (and their cars) from all over but the people in West and South Seattle who need to travel through SODO for any reason, night or day, not just to get to a game, will be the ones suffer from increased congestion there. We already suffer enough. Building an arena at the proposed site should be contingent upon first solving mobility problems not just for freight but also for commuters, who need to get to downtown, Seattle Center, Ballard, etc. for business, shopping, entertainment. We depend on this route for transit connections to other parts of the region. I am surprised at Joe McDermott, I know he supports public transit, so why are we talking about worsening car traffic in this city while Metro riders are held hostage on buses stuck in game day traffic? It would be a big boost to the health of the downtown economy if we had a a frequent unobstructed way to get there at all hours of the day without having to bring a car and hunt for parking. Rapid Ride won’t do this unless we get a transit only right of way through SODO. Biking and walking through this area are also difficult due to lack of infrastructure and poor road and sidewalk surfaces.

  • MikeH August 10, 2012 (11:55 am)

    So you say the Port is lieing… what about the Seattle Planning Commission report, is that a pack of lies as well? The Mayor appointed them…

  • MikeH August 10, 2012 (11:57 am)

    Take a bow Kathy! You hit the nail right on the head!

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 10, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    There is already a SODO Busway that runs from Spokane Street past the stadiums. It is what used to be 5th Ave. South. ONLY buses are allowed to use it. They could cut over to 4th or 6th Ave South at Royal Brougham Way and proceed to downtown.
    In Downtown 3rd Ave South is a Bus Only transit lane through the area.
    After using the viaduct to get from West Seattle to South Lake Union for work EVERYDAY for 7+ years the ONLY time I saw increased traffic, and not as bad as when there was a disabled car/accident in a lane, was an afternoon Mariners game.
    Even traveling through the area at 5PM on a normal evening game the traffic still moved at a decent pace 30-35 MPH.
    On Sundays after a 67,000 Seahawk’s game if you waited about 20-30 minutes to leave after the end of the game it was pretty easy and quick to get out of the area.
    Oh and in ALL the events I have attended at Safeco Field and Clink Stadium I ONLY ever seen the port have a traffic problem on WEEKDAY Mariner games. About 6 times a year. NEVER have I seen a port traffic problem on a weekend, even when there was a Sounders game in the afternoon AND a Mariners game that same evening. AND never on a Sunday Seahawks game.
    Remember the NBA and NHL games would start at 7:00-7:30 PM normally. The port ceases operation at 3:30 PM. heck even on Monday Night Football with 67,000+ converging on SODO I had no major issues in traffic. Sure there was a slowdown, but not as bad I would have imagined or was with an accident or disabled auto. But with the tunnel anyone heading to Ballard (if you don’t know how to get to Ballard without going along Western, then you need a lesson in map reading!!!), Lake Union and points north will bypass the SODO traffic situation anyway!

  • Tom August 10, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    As usual, commenters get way off topic on these things so they end up of limited value by way of determining what information is valid and what incorrect or just plain venting.

    So far, a ton of what I’ve read is misinformed at best, and plainly wrong at worst.

    I will say this: I am a 34th D Democrat and I want this to happen in SODO. The “traffic” issues are solvable (let’s all be the GREEN people we THINK we are and take RAPID RIDE downtown – or is that only for everyone ELSE??). And the SODO area is going to grow as a destination spot no matter what. (What, you figured a city of a million people wasn’t going to spread a quarter mile from the middle of downtown?) Put it where density is already happening and make it walk-to friendly for folks visiting our fair city. Duh.

    I couldn’t be at the meeting but I sure wish I had been…

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 10, 2012 (1:24 pm)

    Sorry Kathy, but your traffic woes about getting to Ballard, Seattle Center and Downtown during events at SODO are specious.
    Even with the tunnel you can get to all those places.
    Ballard – Take 99 and the tunnel North to 45th and then exit and head east. That will get you right in to Downtown Ballard. OR get off at Mercer and take a left on Dexter, follow it to the Fremont Bridge and either cross the bridge and take a left at North 36th Street or continue on what it becomes – Nickerson St. ALL three way will get you to Ballard.
    Seattle Center – take 99 North and get off at Mercer. turn Right on Dexter and Right again on Denny and BOOM!!! There is the Seattle Center.
    Downtown – See above but don’t turn on Denny. BOOM there is Downtown, Entered from the east. OR stay on Mercer and take a right on Westlake or Fairview, both will get you to downtown.
    And just think about it…you’re avoiding the I-5 mess also!!!
    To think that there is going to a plethora of people heading to those places at the SAME time as a game is funny to say the least.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 10, 2012 (1:50 pm)

    Excuse me…the Mercer Street off ramp from North 99 will be taken out by the tunnel.
    HOWEVER it will be replaced by an off-ramp at Republican Street (GASP!!!! Get a petition to change that to Democrat Street ;-)). Where you can take the right (Downtown and Seattle Center) or left (Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union) on Dexter. Or straight to get to Westlake or Fairview.

  • MikeH August 10, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    Dear Ex-Westwood,

    Please, your drivel is nonsense when it comes to port operations. Have you ever seen container cranes working at night? The shifts are as follows;

    8-5 pm
    6-3 am
    3-8 am

    Next frenzied fan comment please……

  • Port Of Seattle is full of chit August 10, 2012 (5:27 pm)

    MikeH I find it funny and sad that you say you love sports but are against this deal. This is and will be the BEST deal we will EVER get to build this arena in Seattle! You talk about Hansen wanting to make money like it’s a bad thing. What do you expect him to do? Lose money bringing a team here? He’s rich for a reason. He’s a very smart man and he wants to help his city out and make money unlike one Coward Schultz. Are you hating on him because he’s rich? Also, you are wrong in saying that he will make all the money and the city won’t. Do you have any idea how many people come from out of the Seattle area to attend sporting events here? Do you know that these people stay at downtown hotels and eat at downtown restaurants and visit downtown bars? The city will benefit tremendously from having basketball and hockey games so don’t kid yourself buddy. You are probably the same guy that was against building Safeco and Qwest field. Then when the 2001 Mariners season happened and the 2005 Superbowl Seahawks season happend, you were celebrating and united with the rest of the city. Remember how good it felt when the Sonics made the finals in 95-96? Let’s get them back so we can have that unity again and this city can feel proud and good about something. Get on board now or don’t come join us when we are celebrating in a few years and having a blast watching our Sonics and an NHL team! Instead, stay at home and complain about traffic and be a miserable hater. Would you rather them be the Tacoma Sonics? How about the Bellevue Sonics? Doesn’t sound right to me but that’s what they are gonna be because someone is gonna build this arena. Let the great city of Seattle enjoy the benefits of this team rather than lose them to another city because we want to be a bunch of cry babies.

  • M.Walton August 10, 2012 (11:08 pm)

    The latest news revealed today – A Partner in public affairs firm working for opponents of Sonics Arena was the PR man for Clay Bennett before Sonics left town. Also, Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen urged Bennett to hire him. In other words,the people who helped take the Sonics away are trying to keep them from coming back! Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me. The Leadership of the Port, MIC, Long Shoremen know very well that this arena- 50% smaller than SAFECO, 66% smaller than Century Link will not significantly affect their jobs. There is a lot of speculation/rhetoric but not a single data point that indicates this to be true. The busiest months of the Port’s operations are in the Spring and Summer and fall, Port business in the winter is known to fall off. So if the opponents claims were true, the traffic created by the Mariners, Sounders and the SeaHawks would have bankrupted these entities by now. They produce far more traffic with their 40,000 – 60,000 fans. BUT that has not happened. Or the revenue for the winter months when there is no stadia traffic, would be the highest quarter. But it is not.

    Every report produced by “Port funding” lacks causal data yet is filled with conclusions about losing 4000 jobs… to try to balance the Arena’s data driven conclusion that it will lead to the creation of 2000 new construction jobs plus jobs within the arena and connected businesses. The Port is facing strong competition from Tacoma and Mexico as well as Vancouver. Last year (without and threat of a proposed arena)the Port lost 20% of its business and it is costing the taxpayer $75 million/year in subsidies.(One could make an argument for the Pot calling the kettle black.) This is NOT a good time to split our city in half. Pro Arena folks are not Anti-Port, Anti-Business, they just want their opposition to be truthful and fair and they have not been. So that makes someone like me find it necessary to state the facts. The Anti-arena speakers are very passionate but at this meeting they gave you misinformation upon which you made your decision. Unlike what Mr. Goldman told you…The signing of the MOU is not a ploy to by pass existing systems. The MOU clearly states that the Project will go through SEPA review and an EIS. The MOU specifies that if the Project elements do not meet the requirements of the SEPA and EIS then the agreement can be voided by the City and County. The investor did examine 5 sites… he did not just select SoDo and purchase land. He worked with City staff and the KEY Arena was on of the sites reviewed and rejected. This information will be used during SEPA and the EIS. University of WA economists, hired by the County, interviewed Port representatives and reported that they did NOT think the Port’s claims were realistic or valid with regard to either their projections of job loss or projection of job growth. They said the Port was sorely lacking data upon which to make any valid conclusions. They concluded, “the Port has far more important things to worry about than the arena.” And suggested that the County conduct their own study, which the County will do. King County approved the MOU.

    With regard to transportation being so terrible that it will cause huge job loss. This issue was raised in April. The Council asked for data from the Port but no convincing or substantive data was given. The City wanted to do its own transportation study,but did not have the funds to do it. The investor group led by Hansen, agreed to pay for it because they agreed it was important info to have. The transportation study was done by Seattle’s Department of Transportation. The study showed that the traffic related to the addition of the new arena events would have a minimal impact on SoDo or Port businesses.
    The investor group is composed of Hansen, Balmer and Nordstrom brothers, all successful businessman. Each of them has a strong record of community giving. The opposition tries to portray Hansen as dishonest, manipulative and somehow not interested in the Common Good. This is not true. I know Chris Hansen. He was raised here in Seattle in lower Mount Baker near John Muir School in the Rainier Valley. He graduated from Roosevelt High School. His step father was an actor at the Rep and Intiman. His mother taught at Seattle Central Community College and then worked for Catholic Community Services and Children’s Home Society as a Social Worker and educator. He is a local kid that made good and wants to come back home and help us get our basketball team back. If you don’t like absketball remember what the Sonics did for the community- Sonics Foundation gave $1,000,000/year to local non-profits. Each Player either had his own foundation or was part of another’s foundations – 10 that gave 100,000 – 1,000,000/year to local youth organizations.Players volunteered with at-risk youth, ran basketball clinics. The new arena has committed to have a free ticket program for at-risk youth and to have 1000 tix per game @ $20 and 500 @$10. It will bring concerts and the NHL and be a place for large community events. It will be a community asset. This opposition is giving you information based on facts or truth; it is based on fear of change.

    As a Community We need to stand together and recognize that those who are afraid of change, can exaggerate their personal worries and fears and they become easy pawns of those who are intentionally propagating misinformation. It is important to correct these errors so we can make decisions based on facts and the truth. Do not count on others to tell you the facts. Do your research then, let your voice be heard! Thank you

  • redblack August 11, 2012 (7:23 am)


    Sorry Kathy, but your traffic woes about getting to Ballard, Seattle Center and Downtown during events at SODO are specious.

    you’re joking, right? i mean, you do live in west seattle, don’t you?
    yesterday around 3:30, as i was leaving everett, the commute time for northgate was 29 minutes (normally 12) and downtown was 71 minutes (usually around 35 minutes). i turned on KOMO and they said I-5 was backed up from shoreline, and 99 was already backed up to the aurora bridge.
    and this was on a day with no sports events.
    i took 405 to 520, through judkins park and over beacon hill, and i got to west seattle before i would have arrived downtown via I-5 or 99 via 80th street. absolutely ridiculous. i have to tell you, i hate it when my job takes me north of downtown.
    if you don’t think 99 is already a royal PITA right now, you’re in denial. and game days only exacerbate things for west seattle commuters.

  • G August 11, 2012 (10:10 am)

    I’m not a rabid sports fan and ambivalent on the arena, but it’s not Hansen who’s making my life and others more expensive, it’s DEMOCRATS who are making lives untenably expensive in Seattle.

    Two levies will increase my property taxes, both dubious, and there are at least several more in the pipeline. This is becoming real money, folks. And Dems are complaining that the arena will effect “working class” citizens? How many more times are you going to use that over-worked phrase and insult our intelligence?

    As far as the ILWU, I question a union that uses strong-arm tactics, bullying and damaging property to get their way, and has a long-standing tradition of promoting people by nepotism. It needs reform, and the Port too. Have you forgotten the scandals of fraud where millions disappeared and the only punishment was hands slapped?

    Right, Hansen is the problem. Give me a break.

  • Chris Porter August 11, 2012 (6:15 pm)

    I am no sports fan at all. I am a member if the 34th and abstained from the vote that night. Pl

  • visitor August 11, 2012 (6:58 pm)

    We’re getting really far afield now.

    >>>> Have you forgotten the scandals of fraud where millions disappeared

    Oh, you mean the 19 million reconstruction cash sent to Iraq, lost by the Bush administration???? Punishment = NONE. Thank you for mentioning it.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 12, 2012 (12:17 am)

    Sorry visitor, I think he was refering to the $580+ Million that Obama gave to Solyndra because the President of it was a big contibutor to his campaign, then went bankrupt.

  • MikeH August 12, 2012 (1:46 pm)

    No …
    she is talkin about the BILLIONS that the Bush administration wasted on an invasion of Iraq.

  • MikeH August 12, 2012 (1:48 pm)

    Excuse me…since 2003 it is in the Trillions now and we are still paying China for the money we borrowed.. that really is wrong with this once great
    But what does that have to do with a Sonics Arena….

  • Chris Porter August 12, 2012 (3:45 pm)

    I am a member of the 34th and I abstained from the vote. I just think with all the things on our plate, the arena is lowest of priorities. If these teams want a new arena, why are they not taking some of the millions that they make and build the arena they want. The city and county would offer tax incentatives to do this if we must have it. I am not a fan of professional sports and would be just as happy not to have it. Thousands of residents of Seattle go to bed without enough to eat; we are not at the top of our game in education and the state is near broke with a budget to balance and we decided to take a position on an arena. Not the happiest I have been with the 34th.

Sorry, comment time is over.