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!
*UPDATE – 06.23.2016*
The NHL officially expanded to Las Vegas. There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference. 15 teams in the Western Conference. Sonics Arena approval = NHL Seattle. An NBA team would follow right behind.
Read the FEIS and SDOT reports. Study the numbers. Watch the testimony in favor of the SoDo arena plan.
Who is Peter Goldman?
You’ve seen him vehemently opposing the Seattle Arena MOU during public comment at the Seattle City Council, representing both the ILWU and himself as a resident of West Seattle.
Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw voted for the Seattle Arena MOU in 2012 and seemed like a strong supporter of its regional benefits, but in 2016 she changed her tune and came out with a statement strongly opposing the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation, an approval that is needed as a preliminary administrative step before the city and ownership group have a “Shovel Ready” arena plan to bring to the table in NBA and NHL team discussions.
How could this happen? Let’s take a closer look at Councilmember Bagshaw’s ever-changing positions in our official Bagshaw Betrayal Breakdown!
It’s #GameTime. Time for the City Council to Vacate Occidental for an approved, shovel-ready Seattle Arena Plan!
Come out and show your support to the Seattle City Council!
Public Hearing on the Occidental Street Vacation
at Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue)
Tuesday, March 15 at 5:30pm
** Pre-Hearing Tip-Off with Kevin Calabro! **
4:00pm at the Bertha Knight Landes Room (in City Hall)
After four years of public hearings, traffic analysis, environmental impact studies, council votes and legislative due diligence, the final step to having a shovel-ready arena plan approved in Seattle is for the City Council to vote on vacating a one-block section of Occidental Avenue in the SoDo arena footprint.
On February 29, 2016, the producers of Sonicsgate scaled a SoDo rooftop to document the critical traffic conditions that arena opponents claim as their primary argument against vacating Occidental Avenue. This was a Monday, and the same day that “the largest cargo ship to visit the United States” pulled up to unload its freight at the Port of Seattle.
We filmed the one-block section of Occidental Avenue in question from 10:30am – 7:30pm. During a nine-hour period, we captured light civilian traffic with clear conditions and virtually zero use for Port shipping containers.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) concluded that “no significant adverse impact related to land use will occur as a result of the project.”
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recommendation found that “the segment proposed to be vacated is not included in the Port’s important Heavy Haul Network. This is a clear sign that Occidental is not necessary to freight movement or Port Operations.”