@BobandGroz Want to get really upset? Here's an E-mail from Councilmember Conlin:
Thank you for your message about the proposed arena agreement. When Mr. Hanson made his presentation to the City Council, he indicated that there is not a financial plan that requires public investment in this project. There were also no good reasons given as to why this project should receive public financial support, unlike any other business that would like to locate in Seattle. The City works with businesses to manage transportation, land use, and regulatory issues, but we do not invest public money in businesses.
The Council is working through this issue systematically, with a four part test to reach a decision:
1. Would having an NBA team be a good thing? We agree yes, and applaud the efforts of Mr. Hanson and other investors to find a way to bring back an NBA team.
2. If that requires a new arena, is this the right location? We have some skepticism about both the merits of this location and the impact on Key Arena. We need to continue to review this to understand the impacts and problems of this location, and see if those can be solved by a mitigation plan.
3. Is this an appropriate area for public investment? I have seen no evidence that justifies making a public investment, nor any serious reason why a public investment is necessary for the project to proceed.
4. If a public investment is made, is the public protected as promised? We will continue to review this. It is a complex proposal, and there are many layers that need to be untangled before we are able to come to a conclusion about this. It is not clear that the proposed relocation guarantee, for example, is any stronger than the lease which the Sonics broke when they moved to Oklahoma City. It is not clear whose assets are on the line if the arena becomes insolvent - the arena in Portland (with a team owned by Paul Allen, who certainly has deep pockets) declared bankruptcy, leading to a difficult and challenging financial problem.
On balance, I think it is unlikely that this proposal will be approved. I encourage proponents of a new basketball team to lobby Mr. Hanson to pursue this as a private enterprise with public cooperation but without the complex financial arrangements and public investment that the current proposal appears to rely on.
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Chair, Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee
Seattle City Council
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