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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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March 13, 2008 3:30 PM

Forget money for Sonics this year

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire says there won't be action this year on a plan to renovate Key Arena as a way to keep the Sonics in town. In an interview taped for TVW, Gregoire said that there aren't the votes to pass what a would-be, in-state ownership group says is needed for a viable team.

Gregoire said that she asked Senate Democratic and Republican leaders to do a careful vote count. Shortly after noon Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Minority Leader Mike Hewitt told the governor there were not nearly enough votes to approve the plan for $150 million in taxpayer money.

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Posted by Ken

4:34 PM, Mar 13, 2008

I think the last sentence in your note is misleading. If I understand it correctly, the vote would not have actually been on 150 million dollars of taxpayer money. The city would be generating 75 million in tax revenue by leasing the improved arena and by user fees (ticket surcharges). The state vote would have only been on the final 75 million. That part would have come from an existing tax on rental cars in King County. So I'm not even sure why the state legislature was involved in approving a King County tax. And it's frustrating to see them waste the matching 150 million in donated funds. How often does the government receive a 150 million dollar donation to improve a public facility? Years from now, when this offer is no longer on the table, the entire renovation budget will all have to come out of taxpayer pockets. The state really missed a huge opportunity given by some local citizens that really cared about Key Arena and the Seattle Center.

Posted by Publicbulldog

5:15 PM, Mar 13, 2008

What cowardly teflon pans.If it had a union wage attached they would have voted for it.They make me sick to my stomach.

Posted by fred_e_fender

6:24 PM, Mar 13, 2008

How convenient - so they in effect voted it down, but no one has to be accountable for their vote.

What a bunch of cowards.

But hey, we're on our way to being able to get beer samples in the grocery store!

Posted by upchuck

6:29 PM, Mar 13, 2008

while king county and local cities continue to mothball swimming pools and parks that are used by EVERYONE it is absolutely absurd for the taxpayers to give ANY funding to an arena that is only used by an elite class of wealthy athletes and the private corps they work for to turn a huge profit.

postman, you should take a look at what the city of tukwilla is doing to fort dent softball fields....

Posted by Harvey

6:29 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Have to agree with fred above. It sure would have been nice to hold these guys accountable.

Posted by upchuck

6:32 PM, Mar 13, 2008

damn greedy union bastards!!! indeed.... tell me, how much does one of the union janitors make sweeping you SH** after the sonic games compared with the profit that mr. bennet is sure to turn when he finally sells the sup's like he's been plamnning to do all along, after this bit of political theater plays itself out to max his profit and hold on the seattle taxpayers.

Posted by Thomas

6:36 PM, Mar 13, 2008

I hope everyone remember these people's name come election time! We need people in Olympia who are leaders. I'm sick and tired of their excuses!

Posted by Cooly McDuck

7:35 PM, Mar 13, 2008

So instead of even CONSIDERING this, and talking about it on the floor, as it most definitely should be, our 'leaders' dissolve themselves of responsibility. Instead, they get to go on vacation. Way to do your jobs! 54 days of 'hard' work!

They're no better than David Stern or Clay Bennett.

Posted by Publicbulldog

7:59 PM, Mar 13, 2008

The legislatures job is to obey the SEIU and fill the blue pages.
The sonics aren't in the blue pages.

Posted by Publicbulldog

8:01 PM, Mar 13, 2008

What do you get when you add water to a democrat?.



Posted by Balzac the Jaws of Death

9:00 PM, Mar 13, 2008

My personal feeling is that this is all "Speaker" Chopp's doing. He hates sports. Period. He called NASCAR fans dumb rednecks, and thus nixed the track in Kitsap County. And I have no doubt that he has some choice words about Hoop players and Hoop fans. Chopp treats his position as if he is a little Napoleon, and if you disagree with his stance, you are wrong and need to be put into a reeducation camp ala Clockwork Orange.

Posted by Balzac the Jaws of Death

9:02 PM, Mar 13, 2008

My personal feeling is that this is all "Speaker" Chopp's doing. He hates sports. Period. He called NASCAR fans dumb rednecks, and thus nixed the track in Kitsap County. And I have no doubt that he has some choice words about Hoop players and Hoop fans. Chopp treats his position as if he is a little Napoleon, and if you disagree with his stance, you are wrong and need to be put into a reeducation camp ala Clockwork Orange.

Posted by Balzac the Jaws of Death

9:03 PM, Mar 13, 2008

My personal feeling is that this is all "Speaker" Chopp's doing. He hates sports. Period. He called NASCAR fans dumb rednecks, and thus nixed the track in Kitsap County. And I have no doubt that he has some choice words about Hoop players and Hoop fans. Chopp treats his position as if he is a little Napoleon, and if you disagree with his stance, you are wrong and need to be put into a reeducation camp ala Clockwork Orange.

Posted by WestSeattleTim

12:04 AM, Mar 14, 2008

upchuck, apparently only the Sonics play in Key Arena? No one else uses the facility? Was there a measure to fund parks or pools introduced by your representative? Do you know where the money to pay for the Key Arena renovation was coming from? Your mis-informed comments seem to mirror our legislators understanding of the proposal. To say the money should be used on other items misses the point. That money is only earmarked for stadiums. And if you want to fund pools and parks, call your representative and ask them to do it. Don't complain when others make a suggestion of what they want and than whine because you didn't ask for yours first. I for one enjoy going to the Sonics games, even this year, and I would like the city and state to chip in to repair a public building, especially when private money is offered.
Since my representatives didn't seem to hear what I had to say, I will be sure those who may vote for them hear me come November. I am sick of politicians that sit on their hands and say there was nothing they could do. We have a surplus of $855 million dollars in this state, they don't want to spend it, but they sure want to collect it.
Vote Democrat, its easier than getting a job.

Posted by Hinton

12:44 AM, Mar 14, 2008

This time, the leg nailed it.


The Sonics are even less deserving then, say, the corner grocery store, and no one want to waste money subsidizing a grocery store or any other private concern.

Well played, Mr. Speaker. And to the Sonics supporters who feel that they are somehow deserving of taxpayer subsidies for multi-millionaires... well.... tough.

You'll get over it.

Posted by Jorgen

1:03 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Hinton you uneducated imbecile.

We give billions upon billions in the form of subsidies, grants, tax breaks to multi million corporations in this state and in this country all the time. We give billions to highly profitable comapnies to compete in overseas markets.

Ever notice the special unemployment benefits Boeing employees get whenever Boeing goes through down times?

So you are upset about a tax that is only applied in King County, and only to car rentals, restaurant tabs and hotels?

You and the idiots in Olympia are exactly what is wrong with this state.

Posted by Jorgen

1:07 AM, Mar 14, 2008


You are covering politics? At least get your facts right. Thy were considering 75 million, not 150 million.

That is a prime example of what a mess this has been all along. A lot of blowhards deciding on something they never bothered being fully informed on.

Typical Washington State

Posted by Dave Gibney

1:09 AM, Mar 14, 2008

I don't remember agreeing with Hinton before. It may be awhile until I do again.

Not one dime, or even a penny,

Posted by Chad (The Left) Shue

8:00 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Thanks Gibney...Now I can agree with you and not so much with Hinton....I was afraid I might have to turn in my ACLU card if I did that.

Not one dime, or even a penny...

Chad (The Left) Shue

Posted by radricky

9:45 AM, Mar 14, 2008

look, the tax comes off rental cars. it's not a general tax. at least flexcar now has to pay rental car taxes. if you look at business models sports and civic arenas almost always benefit the the tax base. therefore, you can argue the rental car tax provides far more benefits and taxes on other areas. these help our funding of many things. so i just don't understand the blanket "no tax not a penny" crowd. letting the sonics go will be a major mistake.

Posted by Publicbulldog

9:55 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Like I said keep filling those blue pages.

Check them out once in a while.Then grab a 1980 phone book and check them out.

My oh my how thick they have grown.
So of course if you work at a place that is listed in the blue pages or want to work for a place listed in the blue pages 75 million was a bad idea.

Grabba$$ians all.

Posted by Piper Scott

10:18 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Left and right all of one accord; somebody wake me up for this must be a dream!

While nary a ha'penny of public money should go to the Sonics or their playpen, I would support a voluntary contribution effort to raise funds to help them pack up and leave.

Couldn't be too soon to suit me!

The only reason Dems in Oly are balking is because the folks - that's us, baby - are making their thoughts known to them; to vote for public funding may be the last vote on any issue some would take.

They may be dumb, but they ain'ts stoo-pud!

Enough with all the, "In order to be a..." talk that seemingly obligates us to foster and fund this foolishness. This line of reasoning would also require encouraging an entire catalogue of anti-social behaviors since the in-order-to-be categories are chock full of same.

Must we have the Sonics - or any NBA team - in order for us to be comfortable in our own municipal skin? If the answer is no, then let's just toss in the towel now and be done with it.

I'd like to think that we can move past the "you're not a sports fan!" invective to find common ground in the fact that none of us should be extortion fans, which is the game Clay Bennett and the NBA are playing and Greg Nickels, et al, are now aiding and abetting.

Can we please break this cycle of abuse by just saying, "NO!"

The Piper

Posted by Hinton

10:52 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Ahhhh, Chad.... ever the political pragmatist.

Posted by Publicbulldog

11:27 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Left and right all on the same (blue) page

Posted by Publicbulldog

11:32 AM, Mar 14, 2008

I bet Piper and Hinton are listed in the blue pages.Since the are both on the right I am guessing they want more criminal justice on the cart.

74 percent of the budget for King County is never enough. Only the union and krispy kreme wants more criminal justice funding.

So where are we bereft of services in the fat blue page section.

Posted by Publicbulldog

11:37 AM, Mar 14, 2008

We will susidize the arts so we can create a living wage out of thin air. But thats of the blue pages will grow again.

The Arts are the next ball and chain on the cart that will end up in the blue pages after SEIU Homecare workers are thru filling their roster spots..

We cant fork out 75 million now we have lots of other graba$$ians waiting in line to get on the cart and into the blue pages.

Face it between criminal justice,education,and SEIU we are never going to get anything civic wise unless is fits in the blue pages.

Posted by Publicbulldog

11:42 AM, Mar 14, 2008

From now on all tax dollars go into the blue pages. If we want any civic improvements we will have to pay for them ourselves with tolls.

Which is fine for the blue page graba$$ians they will get a cost of living increase.

Mark my words people.

Posted by Publicbulldog

12:09 PM, Mar 14, 2008

Oh how remiss of me I forgot the green collar jobs.Soon the blue pages will have their own dex.
Your kids will be able to reach the dinner table sitting on the blue page dex.

Ah I can see it all now sitting around the dinner table eating their 15 dollar cornish game hen, their 3 dollar can of string beans,and their 10 dollar box of instant massed potatoes..and their kids sitting on a thick volume of Blue pages to reach the dinner table.

what a sad future for our urban village/mass transit bound children.

Posted by Camano

12:23 PM, Mar 14, 2008

When you have four wealthy outstanding citizens offer to pay half of the updating of a public facility that is outdated for a community of Seattle's size, it is illogical to me that legislators would not "allow" King County to extend (not increase) an existing tax, that is paying off the other stadiums faster than anticipated, to cover only 1/4 the cost. This tax has no effect on Washington citizens outside of King County unless they go there and eat at a restaurant, stay at a hotel or motel, or rent a car. My understanding is that this additional 75 million would be used for "public areas" of the new facility. It would appear to me that King County residents are only impacted by this tax if they eat out. When I eat out while visiting Seattle, I've not noticed a significant addition to the tax--so I doubt this is a real burden. What is missed by many in this discussion is that there are many Sonic fans around the state that never go to games. Anyone who has a TV can watch all their games. Thus if the Sonics leave it impacts all of us who are fans whether we go to games or not. The winters around here are long and dreary enough, especially if you are retired, taking away this source of entertainment is going to make them much longer for many of us. I personally will "remember in November."

Posted by upchuck

2:07 PM, Mar 14, 2008

outdated???? didn't they just remodel the place less than 10 years ago!?!? the specs requested by the sonics ownership?????

sheesh! maybe we ought to tear down and rebuild qwest field and safeco field (each aka taxpayers' field) while we're at it! they are soooo 1990s that it's embarrassing to our city!

Posted by MS

2:56 PM, Mar 14, 2008

Upcheck....if you knew much about sports would realize that Key Arena is very poor. If you don't like sports...don't take it out on sports fans. I have a one year old son that I would love to take to games...but that will be taken away from me. You say the ownership approved the Key Arena renovation....that was around two owners ago. Quite hugging the trees people...and let's keep the Sonics here. It keeps jobs (hotels, restaurants, etc) and much more.

Posted by oldgreeneyes2002

3:21 PM, Mar 14, 2008

We need money for our lousy roads. Not for a sports team.

Posted by oldgreeneyes2002

3:24 PM, Mar 14, 2008

We need money to fix Seattle's lousy roads. Not for a sports team.

Posted by Ed

3:51 PM, Mar 14, 2008

The voters had a chance to give money to the Sonics--they voted it down, remember? It surprises me that people then expect Olympia to fork over money for the team anyway--it would be another Qwest/Safeco thumb in the eye, IMO.

Speaking as a King County resident, I applaud the restraint shown by our elected officials--way to hold the line against the vocal minority!

Posted by Camano

6:31 PM, Mar 14, 2008

Ed! Olympia was not asked to fork over any money--just "allow" King County to extend a use tax within its boundaries that is targeted toward areas that benefit from having professional sports teams in town--restaurants, hotels-motels, and car rentals. King County officials would still have to authorize it. OGE! As for fixing the roads, we pay one of the highest gasoline taxes in the country, another targeted tax, for that purpose. Not everyone is a sports fan, but Key Arena is used for other than sports--music concerts, circuses, political meetings, corporate meetings, etc. I understand there are plans to completely renew the Seattle Center. To toss away a $150,000,000 private money gift to help with the renovation of the most expensive structure within the Seattle Center is myopic. That is why officials in your city who were against previous proposals by two other owners of the Sonics, now appear to be scrambling to try to find the 75 million the state would not allow them to tap. They have not been overly friendly to the Sonics most recent two owners, but it seems that they recognize a good deal when the see one. Now those who are thankful that your legislators did not support this approach, did you notice that they virtually promise the money next year? This knowing the 150 million gift would be forfeited before then.

Posted by Publicbulldog

7:23 PM, Mar 14, 2008

Olympia + taxes= blue pages

Olympia - Civic projects=tolls

Posted by Publicbulldog

7:28 PM, Mar 14, 2008

Hinton + Piper= blue pages

Posted by upchuck

12:45 PM, Mar 15, 2008

camano, i like sports just fine - in fact i coach a youth team after work. i like the sonics too, i just don't think i should have to pay for them with my tax dollars. my team doesn't ask for taxpayer subsidies to support our facilities rentals, and equipment costs, the parents pay for that. two owners ago? so what! how much profit did those owners make on the sale of the team anyway? ...and you want me to subsidize them??? and yes, key (aka taxpayers) arena is used for other events like concerts and last time i attended a concert (fairly recently) i was perfectly happy with the venue.

Posted by Harry

2:04 PM, Mar 15, 2008

With all the other needs this state has, the deal was not a good deal. The whole public package for this was $150 million. Why not put that $150 million into Seattle schools?

Posted by Publicbulldog

10:19 AM, Mar 16, 2008

If we had Upchucks sense of civc duty we would have never built the original coliseum,which was built with taz dollars.
As far as schools...Give me a faragan break have you opened the blue pages lateley 296 school districts have you counted the enrollment in some of those school districts?.
If you want more education funding then make a committment over criminal justice and take some money out of that budget snowball.
I can not believe the audacity of some of these people that try and claim we are bereft of services.
Open the blue pages for crying out loud.
Then go get a 1980 phone book and see how much we have grown them.
It comes as no surprize that some of the blue page dependants would make their way onto a blog to keep their nose in the public trough,
My money had better start finding its way to other places than just the damn blue pages you greedy union mobsters.

Posted by upchuck

5:30 PM, Mar 16, 2008

bulldog's (and clay bennet's) definition of civic duty = citizens who earn ~30k per year contributing tax dollars to help basketball players and owners make ~30 million per year

Posted by upchuck

5:34 PM, Mar 16, 2008

bulldog's version of civic duty = serfs and peasants pay tribute to kings and aritocrats

Posted by Publicbulldog

8:10 PM, Mar 16, 2008

A gathering place is a gathering place. Upchuck has such a negative view of ownership that he can't see the positive value of providing a civic spectacle. Most civic specatacles make a profit.
Do you begrudge donald Trump because he owns Hotels in Atlantic City.Or Begrudge the corporations because they own Las vegas.The same can be said for most of our nations civic spectacles. Disney,Universal studios,. Profit is reasonable in exchange for a good product. Unions that fill the blue pages are more like an organized mob extorting more than just wages.They extort more living wage jobs than we really can afford to keep.The real reason this legislature saves money in the general budget is to cover the cost of the blue pages,pave the way for the green collar jobs that are going to start finding their way onto the blue pages,when the revenue shrinks. A community without civic specatacles is a drab community that has nothing more to offer than than some of the smaller cities.Cities like Oklahoma City.Seattle has been civicly bested by a small town that values a civic spectacle.
Washington state has been bested by a State that is not under cotrol of the Union Mobsters that desire endless blue page growth.
So join the boycott of ownership and stay at home like civic hermits. We are losing a civic specatacle.Upchuck says he coaches sports What a laugh.I would like to hear him tell the kids that he coaches that the Seattle sonics will be in Oklahoma because Washington State can't stand to subsidize an owner.I wan't to be there when he tells them that Oklahoma does it because they are just stupid.
I doubt any youth coach out there would take Upchuck's position.
I think Upchuck is a listed in the blue pages ,and is just protecting his trough.
I think people like Upchuck would throw out all the professional teams that have owners that make a buck.People like Upchuck are life haters that can't stand anything but a drab socialist community with no profit makers, that has all the creativity of a falsh light for evening wear and a beach ball for summerwear,and a thick enough blue page section for his Jr.Life haters to reach the dinner table.

Posted by upchuck

11:57 PM, Mar 16, 2008


sorry, i just can't help baiting you bulldog. but i didn't say tear the key arena down! just use a little discretion with our taxpayer money.

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