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June 13, 2008 4:27 PM

Mayor Nickels will be the first to testify

Posted by Percy Allen

Mayor Greg Nickels is schedule to appear in court Monday morning in the case between the city of Seattle and the Sonics.

The Monday morning lineup includes: Nickels, former Seattle Center director Virgina Anderson, KeyArena manager Jyo Singh and Sonics co-owner and chairman Clay Bennett if time permits.

Nickels is listed as a witness for the plaintiff and the defendant.

In proceedings, the city will put up its witnesses first and the Sonics get the opportunity to cross-examine those witnesses.

The team also has a chance to put up its witnesses and they are subject to cross-examination. The City may or may not then put up rebuttal witnesses.

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Posted by bd

5:26 PM, Jun 13, 2008

What time are people officially gathering? Any pre-funk site?

Posted by Pokenour

5:45 PM, Jun 13, 2008

As the trial approaches, I remain somewhat mystified by the city's strategy as employed thus far, my concern is that they can do more than simply contest the lease. For many years, I worked in public land management as a cultural resource specialist. In this capacity, we worked with local, state and federal law to protect public lands, historical sites and buildings, etc. under cultural resource protection laws. From that experience, it seems to me that corporations which involve the public interest might themselves be subject to cultural resource protection provisions under local, state and federal law.

Given the Sonics unique position as being the first professional sports franchise in the Pacific Northwest with a forty one year history, it seems to me that they are a cultural property value much like a historic building or landscape and they might well be subject to cultural resource protection law. My point is that the city and state should act to so designate the Sonics a cultural property protected by local and state cultural preservation laws. Such laws sometimes include conservation easements where owners cannot develop the land as they please but must follow a proscribed conservation plan. It seems to me that the Sonics as cultural property can be acquired under state and local eminent domain law and then sold to a trust that maintains them in Seattle, just as an old historic building is prevented from being torn down. It might be like imposing a conservation easement on the trust so that the team is required to remain in place as a culturally sensitive property.

While many free wheeling capitalists might resent such an arrangement it is not unknown in the professional sports world given the ownership status of the Green Bay Packers. If the Sonics have cultural value, which I do endorse in relation to professional sports representing cities and regions, I think they cannot be toys for wealthy owners. Moreover, sports has a religion like quality in its effect on society. We support our local sports teams as a means of asserting the value of our city or region. Value is the key medium of religion - it is what you value most deeply and comprehensively - as a result, people often organize around a geographical bond identifying with place. Such geographical bonding in social identity makes for religious expression - that is the expression of a community's sense of self in it collective value identity as represented via it sports medium - high school, college, professional. The point here should be that we take pride in our cities and region via our professional sports teams as they represent us in the larger world. When one's team makes a playoff run appearing in a series of competitive games and perhaps contesting a championship, entire cities and regions are transformed as fans take pride in public display based rituals. Such activities are social expressions of religion - deep values held comprehensively within a community. As a result, I think the Sonics, as the only Seattle based professional team to have a world championship, are a cultural property subject to deeply held religious sense of place that values Seattle, shared by the region, as a world class city and place.

It is a pity that no one wishes to consider this perspective, but it is long overdue. Pray the city succeeds with the binding of the lease and perhaps then the Sonics can be declared a unique cultural property to be preserved in the Pacific Northwest and city of Seattle.

Posted by bd

6:05 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Wow. That's not the reply I was looking for in response to my 'let's get a beer before the rally' question.
Still, really good points. But would an NFL precedent have any bearing on the NBA (from a legal standpoint, would the NBA look at the GB example and say, 'so what?').

Posted by Pokenour

10:46 PM, Jun 13, 2008

It doesn't matter what the NBA thinks, the state has eminent domain authority to protect cultural decreed properties. The Green Bay Packers serve as a precedent for law, so the state and city can act under such authority. It is just a matter of the will to do so, but I suppose, as a Republican, Slade would dismiss this approach, but we ought to find a way to protect our cultural interests nonetheless.

Posted by DAWGONE in AZ

12:00 AM, Jun 14, 2008

I went to courttv (now truetv) and recommended to a few of their contacts that they show the trial.

I'd recommend others to do the same.

Who knows with enough interest, they may air the dang thing. I think it would be a good demographic for them.

Posted by Pokenour

1:27 AM, Jun 14, 2008

Dawgone - Good idea, I followed your lead with another request that they air the trial. By the way, I am another Dawg.

Posted by GoRentonGo

8:40 AM, Jun 14, 2008

Percy --

Is it possible for you to not call the plaintiff the 'Sonics' and use 'PBC' instead? It's hard for me to see the Sonics as the other side. The Sonics are a basketball team whereas PBC is the ownership group (at this point).

Goodbye Sonics? Goodbye Gregoire.

Posted by DAWGONE in AZ

8:40 AM, Jun 14, 2008


Enjoyed reading your 5:45 post.

Just a side note...I looked at the list of witnesses and saw Todd Menenberg listed amoung them.

I worked for Todd at Tucker Alan (subsequently purchased by Navigant Consulting). He is an excellent valuation analyst/consultant/expert and the work done by his company is impecable...

I was going to comment on the intrinsic values that you bring up in your post and link this to how the witnesses might try to add this into their damages valuation...but Todd's work will probably just focus on the tangible lease damages for the city and not extend to include the "cultural value" of the Sonics.

But upon further thought, this probably wont be included in the expert testimony...since any effort ot put a number on that can be torn apart by the defense.

But what you can certainly take from this is that the city is hiring a strong supporting cast, if Todd Menenberg's inclusion is any sign of the quality and effort they are putting in their case.

Posted by Pokenour

10:21 AM, Jun 14, 2008


Yes it is good to see the city taking a firm position and employing the best analyzes in this matter. As it goes to trial, we are likely to have at least one more year of Sonics basketball in Seattle because no matter the outcome, the city has vowed to appeal and such an appeal will tie up the team for at least another year, although I think the city will prevail with the lease argument, hence two years assured.

Point is, in the year or two ahead, the city and state need to act - declare the Sonics to be a legally protected historical and cultural property via state and local law. Second, utilize the state and / or city powers of eminent domain - taking right to protect the valued cultural and historical property that is the Sonics. Sell the team to a community trust, such as the Ballmer group, who has called it a civic investment like those given to the arts and other cultural endeavors. Work out, of course, the Key Arena upgrade as proposed by the Ballmer group and give the city pride in the franchise as other regions hold their sports in religious veneration such as I described in the earlier post. We see marvelous social and ritual manifestation in sports and it has always be the case in human society, sports acts as a kind of social geographical pride giving people within a distinct region a unique religious experience despite having nothing to do with the notion of God.

Of course, the horrible state of the NBA needs to be overhauled and David Stern dismissed as commissioner, but taking charge of a cultural and historical resource such as the Sonics will send a message that we care about our institutions and that we can and will reform them so as to play fairly and honestly; let society and the game do that and we will have heros through sports that will role model and empower our collective human spirit. Such is precisely the role of religion in society but it does not have to be exclusively derived from worshipping an almighty being, it is, moreover, about expressing value and uplifting the human spirit. We all felt that way when the Sonics won their championship, and again when the Storm won theirs, together these moments engendered social cohesion and community pride. If such is not the case, then why do you suspect OKC wants the team - they want to make a statement about who they are in the collective whole - but they have failed to abide by the moral standards necessary to appreciate the values essential to good sportsmanship.

Go Seattle, community pride and social conscience go hand in hand, save the Sonics - keep Seattle great.

Posted by jeffd928

12:19 PM, Jun 14, 2008

I don't see a settlement given all the parties involved: Seattle, PBC, OKC, NBA and Howard Schultz for starters.

So in the absence of settlement, let's shove it up Claybutt's butt for the next two years at a minimum.

Posted by DAWGONE in AZ

1:17 PM, Jun 14, 2008


Your right on target with my opinions. I've basicall been posting the same thoughts in bits and pieces (except for your legality comments on "cultural value").

As to those comments...have you ever seen the protection laws applied to a sports franchise?

Although the Sonics have (an NBA-comparable) "high cultural value", certainly there are many other more culturally valued sports teams out there.

Why hasn't this been tried before? Seems a huge battle to prove for the first time...but an interesting point, nonetheless.

I would suppose your expertise to have easy access to court references...if you could provide, that would be awesome reading material.

Take care.

Posted by DAWGONE in AZ

1:37 PM, Jun 14, 2008

PS: I'm no betting man, but if Stern doesn't create a team right now for OKC and settle the lawsuit with all parties walking away, I'd say this could very well be his downfall and complete reorganization of the NBA.

And I hope that is what happens. The sport needs it.

Posted by DAWGONE in AZ

1:47 PM, Jun 14, 2008

PPS: OK, sorry but this is really bugging me...

Why does Stern still hold his job?!? Even when the owners are the ones he works for?

1) In financial peril;
2) Integrity in SHAMBLES;
3) Overall poorer play of the sport over time;
4) Player conduct; and
5) Disallusioned graduer of international teams.

The goodwill of the franchise has withered under his leadership.

I mean common...just the financial situation should have him fired by the owners.

OK, I'll stop.

Posted by Bryan

3:25 PM, Jun 15, 2008

Clay Bennett is referred to as "Chairman Clay Bennett?" Oh, I almost forgot, he's the Chairman because he owns the Sonics and he's du big cheezzze wizz. Oooh! Step aside, for it's time for Clay to work his mojo for the "home" team. What a crock.

Is JP Patches going to testify? Don't worry, because Commisioner Stern approves of the deal. Humm, what might that tell you all?

Go get 'em City of Seattle, for starters. After this, we present Howard Schultz and Co. with his mega lawsuit. This thing is gonna get blocked. I can see it as clearly as I can see Kobe Bryant's dying quail bounce off da back 'o the rim and over the backboard for another Laker turnover tonight.

Go Sonics! The real Sonics, the Seattle Supersonics, from Seattle. By Seattle and of Seattle. This is HUGE if you're a real Sonics' fan.

Posted by C.B. sucks dick

6:42 PM, Jun 15, 2008

Fellow sonic fans.....

I live in houston Texas. As i would be going to that rally. BUT i live in houston. IF every could go. And bring Posters saying

KISS MY ASS u pussy Clay Benninit, I hope u burn in hell u sorry lieing bitch. I wish u could just killing yourself. You are a liar, slot, bitich, doush bag, botch.

Thank u very much =D

Posted by nick

6:45 PM, Jun 15, 2008

mayor nickels vs mr bennett in court

Posted by Clay sucker

6:45 PM, Jun 15, 2008

no it should say

CLAY BENNIT GIVES BJ's to children!!!!

Posted by tom ross

9:12 PM, Jun 16, 2008

How is it that the best they could do, assuming the most rosy of crowd count estimates, is 1,000 people after all the publicity and urging of the Times columnists? That is pathetic. What a non-issue this is to the other 3,000,000 people around here. It just is such a minor matter.

Recent entries

Jun 16, 08 - 07:45 PM
First day winners and losers

Jun 13, 08 - 04:27 PM
Mayor Nickels will be the first to testify

Jun 12, 08 - 08:37 PM
Pechman lays out the ground rules

Jun 11, 08 - 11:09 AM
Sonics moved to Oklahoma in the D-League

Jun 9, 08 - 11:43 AM
Bayless and Gordon arrive this week for workouts







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