Dear Sonics fans,
If you live in Washington state, your General Election Ballots should start arriving this week. This is for the election officially held on November 7, 2017.
We want to provide you with information directly from the candidates regarding their Seattle Arena policies.
To be completely clear, we do not encourage any of our members or fans to vote based exclusively on the issue of the arena or bringing back the Sonics. While this remains important to all of us, we absolutely acknowledge that our region has crucial issues such as transportation, education, homelessness, health care, the environment, crime, social justice, jobs, affordable housing and business growth that need to be high priorities for public officials. We advise all citizens to research the platforms of each candidate, with the arena being just one of many issues to consider when voting.
That said, this debate has gone on long enough. It has been nine years since Seattle lost the Sonics, and our government has been debating how to adequately address our region’s glaring arena inadequacies for more than two decades. The City Council has two legitimate arena deals on the table that each represent massive private investment into the public sector, a position most cities would love to be in right now. They should move forward with due diligence and approval of both proposals.
Sonicsgate’s primary goal has always been to bring the SuperSonics back to Seattle. We are not here to stand in the way of any plan that can legitimately achieve that end. We expect our elected officials to evaluate both proposals and vote to approve a deal that puts Seattle in the best position to get an NBA team as soon as possible.
No matter what happens from here, Chris Hansen is a hero for all the work he has put into the SoDo arena proposal and his valiant attempts to bring back the Sonics. He has spent more than five years with millions of dollars poured into these efforts, and his group set the bar for what all public-private partnerships should look like when proposing arena facilities around the nation, balancing community benefits with responsible private financing and local engagement.
Tim Leiweke’s group also brings tremendous legitimacy to the process based on past experience financing and operating major arenas. Their proposal to renovate KeyArena has challenges to overcome, particularly regarding traffic and neighborhood impact mitigation, but this is a group that has the knowledge and financial means to make it happen.
We have seen extensive debate about each location and financing plan this year. With all that has happened in the ongoing Sonicsgate saga, we don’t want to rule out either plan right now. If only we had this level of engagement from wealthy investors and public officials when we still had the Sonics back in 2008… we must learn from the failures of the past and move forward to settle this arena issue once and for all!