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Dear Sonics fans,
If you live in Washington state, your Primary Election Ballots should start arriving this week. This is for the Primary officially held on August 1, 2017.
We have researched the candidates and want to provide you with information 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.
Here is a good summary of where things currently stand from our friends at SonicsRising.
Seattle City Council Central Staff released this FAQ on Civic Arenas.
We want to be extremely clear on this point: 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. Think about how happy we would have been to have 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!
The only true failure now would be Seattle walking away with no approved arena deal at the end of this year.
Take time to reach out to the candidates based on their specific policy statements listed below, and be sure to cast your vote before August 1. Always remain respectful in all forms of communication. Stick to the facts of the case and the positive impact the Sonics have had on your life.
Sonicsgate’s endorsements below are based on our confidence in a particular candidate’s ability to get an arena deal approved quickly and move on to addressing other important issues that will move our great city forward. We did not endorse in every race. Overall, we value transparency, honesty and grassroots involvement in the political process.
Mayor McGinn for the Win!
Sonicsgate is proud to endorse Mike McGinn for Mayor of Seattle in 2017!
After Mayor McGinn was first elected in 2009, we went to meet him face-to-face on Day 1 of his term to communicate the importance of addressing Seattle’s arena issue. Since then, Mayor McGinn proved to be an outstanding ally to the cause, working hard to broker the SoDo Arena MOU with Chris Hansen, Dow Constantine and both the City and County Councils. His arena policy remains open to the option that stands up to scrutiny with the best chance of bringing the NBA back to Seattle.
Beyond the Sonics issue, Mayor McGinn has always been a friend of the people, consistently engaging local citizens at public meetings, town halls and community events in neighborhoods across the city. He really listens when people have something to say, and he makes it a priority to represent people of all races, genders, incomes, backgrounds and social demographics. We feel extremely confident that Mayor McGinn will work to put the public’s best interest first in all policy decisions.
Not only that, but we’ve witnessed McGinn’s hoop game on the court as well. He is the pass-first point guard this city needs to get things done right now!
Sonicsgate endorsed Mayor McGinn for re-election in 2013, when he lost by a narrow margin, and we’re thrilled to endorse him again in 2017. Check out his campaign website, throw him a few bucks and help spread the word!
We also enthusiastically endorse incumbents Dow Constantine for King County Executive, Pete Holmes for Seattle City Attorney, Bea Querido-Rico for Port Commissioner (Position #1) and Brooks Salazar for Port Commissioner (Position #4).
We sent the leading candidates for Seattle’s 2017 Mayoral and City Council races three brief questions about their arena policies:
1. Are you in favor of approving the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation for the SoDo Arena proposal led by Chris Hansen, The Nordstroms and Russell Wilson? Why or why not?
2. Are you in favor of approving the proposed remodel of KeyArena led by Tim Leiweke, David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer? Why or why not?
3. How much of a priority is approving one of these arena proposals in the next year? Outside of the arena issue, what is your number one policy goal upon entering office?
Their answers are published in full for your consideration below:
Seattle Mayoral Race
1. Yes. The Occidental Street Vacation is the last obstacle to having a shovel-ready arena that could compete for an NBA team. The ownership group has strong ties to Seattle. It is prepared to fully finance an arena and has offered significant benefits for the street vacation. Finally, they have been good partners with the city in meeting concerns raised by the public.
2. I think it is good that the city is looking at the options for Key Arena. Having said that, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the cost of renovation, the risk to the city, the impacts upon the neighborhood, and the likelihood of this group getting a team. If elected, I would continue examining this option, but would not commit to it unless I believed it provided the best way of bringing back the Sonics.
3. It is a high priority for me, and was a high priority for me when in previously in office. I worked to put together the SODO arena deal in partnership with King County and shepherded it through the approval process. I advocated for Seattle with the NBA, and look forward to doing so again.
My highest priority in taking office is to keep Seattle as a place where people can afford to live.
1. Yes, I would be in favor of approving the Occidental Avenue Street vacation. It is my opinion that a SODO arena is the best option for the city, and I have supported their proposal over a Key Arena alternative.
The dogged commitment by Chris Hansen’s group is really to be commended – it is a true testament to how much they love this city and long for the Sonics to return.
2. I remain very skeptical that the Key Arena proposal is our city’s best option. Key Arena is a city asset, the argument goes, and we cannot let it be a drain on the budget. However, the infrastructure around Key Arena would be strained to the max were an NBA and NHL team to take up home at a new arena located there. With little else but some bus lines, Queen Anne can no longer absorb the influx of fans from across the region. Let’s not forget that the NBA or NHL wouldn’t just draw fans in Seattle who could find alternative ways to the games – a plausible fan base for these teams could stretch 60 miles in every direction from the arena, adding possibly hundreds more cars to our downtown roads, all of which would need a place to park.
SODO is the one area of the city that is used to a massive influx of people regularly, and has the infrastructure to handle it, from the parking lots needed, to mass transit and light rail stops within a couple of blocks. That, in my mind, is enough reason to pick SODO over Seattle Center. I believe we can install another world-class facility, and with added investments in our freight mobility infrastructure, we can minimize any impacts on the commerce flowing in and out of the Port of Seattle.
To be clear, I am happy to see progress being made on the future of Key Arena, it’s an asset to this city that needs to be modernized and utilized to its fullest potential.
3. Putting Seattle back on the path to bringing back the Sonics is a high priority of mine, and I will be committed to seeing that happen. Either way, I want to see the NBA back in Seattle, because nobody can do the voodoo like the Sonics do!
Beyond bringing back the Sonics, I have a few top policy goals, which I am devoted to delivering as the next mayor: Relieving our transportation gridlock; fighting homelessness; increasing affordable housing; reducing the cost of childcare for working families; protecting our environment; and defending justice for all our people.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rep. Farrell was one of 40 Wash. State Legislators, along with Mayoral candidate Bob Hasegawa, who signed a letter opposing the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation for the SoDo Arena in 2016. Farrell has since changed her stance and now favors the SoDo arena proposal.
1. I am in favor of SoDo Arena.
SoDo serves Seattle and greater Seattle best. Due to its location to our Sound Transit and freeway access to both I-5 & I-90 it is convenient. Seattle has spent Billions on building out the Light Rail and Sounder and increasing ridership returns value. The public is already familiar with utilizing all transportation to SoDo .
According to the studies I’ve seen the Hanson Arena has a positive economic impact. The Port of Seattle mission is economic development and I am certain when we get a new port commissioner a positive deal can be had to accomplish good outcomes on both ends.
Some individuals have stated that SoDo needs to stay industrial. That sounds to me like Trump telling me the Coal industry will bloom in America. Our old Oberto factory on Airport Way is now a car dealer. First Avenue has a distillery and it is mostly becoming retail. We must remain objective and realistic. Change is inevitable, it is how this change is managed that makes all the difference.
Did you know they once planned on building an arena on port property across from Safeco Field?
We can and will work with port to continue its smooth operation and continuing its ability to be competitive. The main driving force of the port is economic development. Economic development is the key and with a new port commissioner I am confident to produce an agreement that will satisfy their driving goal to make the arena and port profitable for Seattle.
I believe that SoDo is the best opportunity to gain an NBA team and return the Sonics name and history.
The original Hansen group has worked in good faith, produced, and has a fully functional plan. It also can serve to update the Key and the City of Seattle becomes the winner.
2. Personally in favor of the Key but fear that it just has too many potential negative outcomes.
Would love as a fan since the 70’s continuing history of being in the old Coliseum, now Key Arena, and remembering the days of Spencer Haywood and Lenny Wilkins, Jim Fox, and lets not forget our own S.U. and Sonic Frank Oleynic…… I believe that this location would reproduce the cozy feel of the best views in the NBA….But these are emotional and we need to be practical.
Before making contractual agreements traffic concerns need answered. Before making contractual agreements we should invite Queen Anne and Magnolia to the party. This will affect these communities and the city has a history of dumping things in and on the people. Lets not have this be one of them.
I have lived in Belltown since the 90’s and know the traffic issues well. I was tipped off to a recent traffic study that shows fire and safety response times will increase 8 minutes just with the mess our lack of planning has created. This study is not for Seattle Center Arena remodel its just for the mess the planners have already created with trolleys, bikes, and a system that fights any sort of efficient flow. If they grow the Key Arena from Fourteen Thousand seats to say Twenty One Thousand seats it will further gridlock the city and mostly it becomes a safety issue.
Before we do anything at the Seattle Center we need to know its safe. Fire and Rescue need clear access, this is a soft target in the middle of four or five neighborhoods. The risk however small is still present and there is a safer and easier solution, SoDo.
I also have questions that are unanswered. Is this push for the Key a bailout for other issues at Seattle Center? Where and who politically is pushing this? It appears on the surface that the Key Redo will be built NHL specific and inevitably delay or deter NBA from ever returning.
3. Moving forward is Job One! We are either going to have an Arena or not. No more posturing, no more posing, no more…., the city and its people have quietly sat back and watched this circus. Time to make a decision and get it done right. If the current mayor who is not responsible signs away this decision it will be another decision with no accountability. The next mayor must have and be responsible to weigh the complicated issues and take ownership.
My number one policy/goal/focus in office is to put sound, sane and effective decision making processes into place. We cannot effectively solve Transportation, Homelessness, social inequities… without first having just a measure of fiscal responsibility.
Seattle City politics is drunk on all the tax revenue it has and would rather take more tax money from you than focus on returning value for what it has. We need to focus on results. My experience with our 100 year old family business and a racing career has taught me what a high functioning team is and how to win Championships.
Seattle needs to be a Champion and can win. We have some of the smartest and well intentioned people in the wold. Our city needs a leader who can harness and direct these efforts to get the results you deserve. The results will be better traffic flow, safer cleaner city, and better managed affordability and lets not forget the Sonics.
Lets get to work for all of Seattle.
1. If we can’t make a publicly beneficial deal at Seattle Center work, then let’s try to figure out how to make SODO work without taking industrial land, threatening the viability of industrial uses, or adding even more challenges to freight mobility. The arena itself could work there with the right transit and street improvements (and no new parking), but their long term plan for building an entertainment zone is too much.
2. I’m for civic activities at Seattle Center, for infill development, for reuse of historic buildings (or roofs), for expanding transit service, for protecting industrial land, and supporting the growth of family wage industrial jobs and locally owned businesses. These are the general principles guiding my thinking.
If we can do so with minimal public money, secure the public’s fair share of the profit stream, figure out sufficient transit service to the venue and not build another parking garage, guarantee the venue will be operated in the public interest (ie local festivals, and the Storm and the Sonics have priority use over corporate mega-concerts), and if we can protect KEXP and Vera Project and other awesome civic facilities and activities already there, then I am in favor of this proposal.
3. I love the Sonics. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, and I do believe that we should figure out a way to bring the Sonics back to our city. As mayor, I think it is important that we look at all of our options and negotiate what is best for the public good. There are many details to balance to get there.
My number one priority is housing affordability. I’d like to pass new taxes to deter speculation in our housing market, like taxes on on corporate and non-resident ownership of housing, taxes on vacant/unused housing, additional Real Estate Excise Tax on luxury homes, and then plough the proceeds into producing affordable housing on surplus public land. We need to keep Seattle affordable to the people who work here, and stand together against displacing low income families, people of color and young people who are being driven out of our city by the escalating cost of living.
1. While I love basketball as much as anyone in our city and can’t wait for the return of the Sonics (and the possible arrival of an NHL team), we must plan for all the possibilities ahead with a vision for prosperity and an approach grounded in equity. I do not support the current plan to build a new arena in SODO because keeping SODO an industrial area supports a long-term sustainable vision for Seattle. It preserves maritime jobs and supports environmental and ecological restoration already happening in this area. Seattle already faces complex density and residential zoning issues. Building an arena in SODO would remove much-needed industrial land in our city — meaning factories as well as the environmental risk factors that accompany them spread into existing residential areas, displacing people and creating public health risks.
2. The ideas behind the Key Arena Renovation Plan seem to offer a practical approach that expands upon existing infrastructure. However, for it to be successful, it will require a transparent and deliberate public evaluation. Proponents of the plan will need to demonstrate a commitment to the public good by asking for little-to-no public funds, coordinate with regional transit agencies to minimize impact on residents, and continue Seattle Center’s tradition of civic engagement and programming
Whatever the city decides, this debate offers an opportunity to reshape city land usage and construction in a more equitable way. Too often development opportunities overseen by the city end up favoring the few who already have access and capital. We must rethink our approach to awarding contracts: which companies acquire them, how many groups respond to the RFP and, if the contract for construction goes through, ensuring that access to the subsequent job opportunities is fair and just.
We must ensure the hiring of construction jobs require that those Seattleites frequently not represented as subcontractors and workers receive jobs, compensation, and working conditions which honor their human dignity and the skills they offer. In a city so prosperous as ours, we should never allow profits to be prioritized over workers’ rights.
We must also ensure that those jobs created from events at the arena are unionized and workers have access to livable wages and positive working conditions. The hospitality industry and the workers therein have long been underrepresented and deserve to be treated justly — including a liveable wage and good working conditions negotiated for by a union.
3. If a transparent, fiscally responsible, accountable, and equitable opportunity presents itself, we will eagerly pursue it.
There are Seattleites very invested in seeing the return of the NBA to Seattle, and I commend them for their work and hope that they are successful.
I acknowledge and want to honor their desire, however, in a manner that does not supersede the most exigent matters facing the city: the housing affordability crisis, the state of emergency regarding homelessness, development and density, education, transportation access, and police accountability. I think we can all agree that these are among the most important priorities the next Seattle Mayor will have to address in order to ensure the overall health of our city and all its residents.
My number one policy goal is to build an extensive public housing network and creating economic/jobs opportunities for our moderate to low-income earners and families. As we work to end the state of emergency regarding homelessness and the housing affordability crisis (and the displacement of current residents), we must do more than just provide intervention services. We must build an infrastructure for prevention which encourages the economic sustainability and viability of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised in our city.
1. I support the SODO plan. The parking and traffic alone make it infinitely more appealing than the Key Arena site, not to mention quick access to I-5 and I-90. The area is already acclimated to massive sporting events and local businesses would profit mightily from the addition of two more franchises. Chis Hansen’s plan uses no public funds, which cannot be said with any level of certainty about the Key. While freight is certainly a concern around the port, I think the impact will be minimal.
2. I do not favor the Key Arena proposal. I am not convinced that the site is even suitable for an NBA facility. Also, there is insufficient parking in the area and the traffic is already problematic. This is also a very densely populated area, which could have a negative impact on residents. Key Arena is currently profitable hosting concerts, events, and the WNBA, why fix what isn’t broken?
The Key does stand to benefit from a free upgrade with this plan, which is a good deal for a city owned property. I believe this and stiff objection from the Port of Seattle are the motivating factors in pushing forward with the Key proposal. Ultimately the cities stance on bringing the Sonics back and adding an NHL team feel disingenuous.
3. Chris Hansen’s plan is ready to break ground pending the approval of the Occidental street vacation. I feel that we have been talking about this for half a decade, the SoDo plan is clearly the best option. As mayor, I would green light it immediately. City Council is currently not as eager.
My number one goal is affordability. The cost housing is out of control and is exacerbating our homeless crisis. Rapid growth and development have profited some, but displaced entire communities in the process. Returning the balance of growth in Seattle is paramount to making the cost of living equitable for everyone.
DID NOT RESPOND
Additional Mayoral Candidate Statements are available via Aaron Levine’s reporting at Q13 Fox.
Seattle City Council Race, Position 8
1. Yes. The SODO Arena is a better place to locate an arena regarding mass transportation, compared to Key Arena. Sports are regionally driven and would not be convenient for the Queen Anne neighborhood. And this can not be done without the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation. The Occidental Street does not present a major egress role in the neighborhood transportation ecology and adequate accommodation have been proposed by the project.
2. While I think that the SODO arena is the superior location, if the Key Arena proposal could bring basketball back to Seattle in a fiscally responsible way, I would not oppose that.
3. This is not a matter of competing priorities in the City. I believe that the City can do this within the next year without issue. My number one policy goal upon entering office is a comprehensive housing, affordability and transportation plan.
1. I do not support approving the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation due the negative impact on the Port of Seattle and middle-class jobs.
2. I do support the proposed remodel of KeyArena, as we have an opportunity to add jobs and economic activity to Seattle Center without impacted the Port.
3. It is a priority for my campaign to approve on of these arena proposals in the next year. My number one policy goal upon entering office is to raise the corporate tax rate (while raising the small business exemption) to pay for affordable housing.
1. No, after much consideration and thought regarding this project going forward I am not in favor of the arena. Much public and private money has already been spent to improve transit movement for the port and in light of that I feel any more pressure on the port is never going to be in the best interest of our city and the potential of lost revenue and the loss of good paying union jobs is too great a risk to add more pressure to this area of Seattle.
2. Yes, I feel it’s the best solution if we must have an arena to get a professional ball team to come to Seattle.
3. Sorry but the arena has never been a priority for me seeing so many continuing to suffer in this city. It is impossible to ignore the affordability issues that face so many in our city and beyond housing affordability is the ability of small businesses trying to to do business in this city. What are real solutions to fixing these issues I am sure every candidate is grappling with the best plan, but I can assure you these issues will be my priority and working to keep good working class jobs in Seattle will be a part of this, and that means supporting and working with businesses who are struggling to keep their doors open. Helping families live in this city should be at the forefront of everyone’s work and when people are still living in tents and we are seeing an increase in homelessness we need to shake it up and become more creative.
1. I am leaning toward the Sodo location as long as we can work out something that also supports our port workers during the construction. I want to see a real negosiation between Chris Hansen, Russell Wilson and the Port Workers.
2. I have attended many events at Key Arena and at this time I do not see a viable plan for enough parking and public transportation to the facility to bring an NBA team there. I think it will further complicate traffic in the area.
3. I feel that it is a high priority. I am a former professional athlete and I understand the power that sports has to bring people together in a community. I also believe that Seattle loves our sports teams, this makes many of citizens happy. It also financially supports businesses around the arena.
DID NOT RESPOND
Seattle City Council Race, Position 9
1. Having the arena in SODO makes the most sense because of the existing infrastructure which already supports the other arenas. The vacation of Occidental would impact cargo throughput. I prefer ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions that work for everyone. Why not lower Occidental and build the stadium over the street?
2. The majority of folks I’ve spoken with that live in the Lower Queen Anne area are opposed to the added congestion that an NBA team would bring to an area that already hosts major events year-round.
While their remodel proposal is incredibly well designed, I’d prefer to have local owners, who live in the greater Seattle area, operate an NBA team in Seattle.
3. I believe Seattle will benefit from having an NBA team again, so it is a high priority to move the approval process along as expediently as possible. My number one policy goal upon entering office is to establish a campus with all necessary services for the homeless and/or those suffering from drug addiction. We spend more per capita of any major metropolitan city, and yet get the worst return (results) for our money. It is time to try something new, and work with the non-profits that produce positive, measurable results.
DID NOT RESPOND
Seattle City Attorney*
*Note that this position will not be on the August 1 Primary Ballot as there are only two candidates to choose from, automatically advancing both to the November General Election
Thank you for these questions regarding the two arena projects now under consideration to facilitate the return of our Seattle Sonics NBA franchise, along with a possible NHL franchise. One of the reasons I first ran for the City Attorney position eight years ago was my profound disappointment with the prior City Attorney who, in my opinion, abdicated his “sole supervisory control over all the litigation of the city” under our City Charter when he bowed to political pressure and settled pending litigation that allowed the Oklahoma City ownership group to breach its Key Arena lease.
Since then, I have worked closely with both the Hansen/SODO groups under the prior executive, as well as the latest proposal to renovate Key Arena under the current city executive. Because it is my responsibility to advise our legislative authority-comprised of City Council and the Mayor-about this policy decision, it is of course inappropriate for me to select one proposal over the other. It would, in fact, be highly inappropriate for any candidate for this office to do so, much the same as asking judicial candidates how they would rule in future cases.
I do believe, however, that we are fortunate in having two pathways to bringing NBA/NHL franchises back to Seattle. This article confirms that the City is approaching the question appropriately and doing its due diligence. It is important to make certain that the City make the best legal/business decision, and not one made on emotions or loyalties.
Thus, the return of our Sonics remains a high priority for me personally, and I am working hard to support our policymakers in weighing the City’s best options. That process will ensure we not only see the return of these professional teams to Seattle, but that it’s a deal that serves as a model for other cities longing for professional franchises.
We have many challenges facing Seattle. I remain committed, in the Era of Trump, to seeing police reform through to completion, as well as drug policy reform and the best ways possible to combat income inequality, provide for affordable housing, and addressing institutional racism.
DID NOT RESPOND
Port of Seattle Commissioner, Position 1
1. Yes. City Council should approve the Street Vacation. I worked on operations excellence strategies at the Port of Seattle, before I went on leave of absence to run for Port Commissioner, and I believe that the Port’s claim that it would cause a significant impact to Port operations is dishonest. If the port has a single point failure (i.e. Occidental Avenue) then the SODO Arena should be the least of Port concerns.
As a MIT educated, supply chain and logistics engineer, I stay focused on the objective and data. The objective is to get a basketball team back, with consideration for transportation access, funding, economic impact, and ideally as soon as possible. SODO already has transportation access infrastructure that links a SODO basketball arena to more cities around King County, is privately funded, yields more economic impact that the Key Arena, and is ‘shovel ready.’
There is an important added benefit to the SODO plan as it has a team of people involved that have real local ties to the community.
2. No, the current plan is a bad deal. There are major implications to the already unbearable traffic in Downtown, Belltown, and Lower Queen Anne. I’m concerned about the risk of additional costs, funded by the public, and schedule delays because of its historical landmark status.
Alternatively, landmark sites such as the Space Needle, MoPop, Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the International Fountain that surround the Key Arena could inspire the public asset into a world class and innovative venue that would amplify the strongest qualities coming out of our community: culture, music, arts, science, and environmental sustainability.
Regarding the people leading the proposed remodel, the city should partner with people who have higher ethical and moral standards and a proven track record of following through on promises.
3. Prioritizing the planet and people is a pinnacle of my campaign. It’s important for elected Port officials to focus on what is best for the community and what will bring in more jobs. I’m the only candidate in the race that didn’t pay to get on the ballot and instead asked the support of King County voters to sign my petition to get on the ballot. With the help of friends, we collected over 600 physical signatures in less than a week and when we were out asking for support the question that came up 80% of the time was if I supported the SODO arena. The answer has always been “yes,” and even stronger yes after reading the results of the UW Evans School public finance analysis yielding results that indicate a SODO Arena generating three time more in tax revenue contributions.
I am the only candidate with real experience working within the Port. My policy priorities are focused on:
– Innovation and technology: My 7+ years at the Boeing Company working in both Defense and Commercial businesses, taught me the importance of our aerospace industry and how much S.T.E.M. expertise we hold in this region. I’m focused on creating the quality jobs of the future and protecting the industries that keep our economy strong such as maritime and fishing.
– Accountability & Transparency: I will work with the Commission to establish an Open Data policy that will allow more operational data to be available for the public to view.
– Social equity & inclusion: I’m committed to break down the Silos at the Port, be more accessible for all cities in King County, and streamlining the intimidating and frankly time-wasted Port processes and papers so that more local businesses can do business with and at Port properties.
While I appreciate the concerns that certain stakeholders at the Port of Seattle have about freight mobility issues in SODO, I have seen no actual evidence that an arena in SODO would be worse than other development options for that parcel of land. My opponent (John Creighton) seems to think that he can hold onto the status quo in SODO, and it looks like the anti-arena contingent may have won. But it’s a pyrrhic victory. Seattle is growing, and the pressures to redevelop the northern part of SODO are only going to intensify. Had I been a Port Commissioner at the time, I would have worked to find a mutually beneficial solution. The goal for the Port is to preserve and grow maritime and industrial jobs. Chris Hansen showed a willingness to put money toward the Lander Street Overpass to address the freight mobility issue. I would have asked him to go a step further, because there is a larger issue for the Port. Terminal 46, the principal container cargo terminal at issue in the arena discussion, will be obsolete in a decade as a container port. The next generation of ships is so large that T46 won’t have the capacity to handle them competitively. Terminal 5, however, could more than replace the lost capacity, if it were refurbished to accommodate the cranes needed for the larger ships. The Port knows this, too. The Port has commissioned studies to examine redevelopment options for T46, including the option to build a new headquarters for the Port on that spot. So, rather than the Port taking a hard position against the SODO arena, the Port could have sat down and negotiated with Hansen a deal that would have achieved its primary goals: preserve maritime and industrial jobs in SODO and improve freight mobility so the Port of Seattle could be competitive as a container seaport well into the future.
Port of Seattle Commissioner, Position 4
1. I am in favor of the privately funded SoDo arena. I believe it’s the best option for the city. It has the best chances for a NBA team, fastest build time, and best transportation situation. I love how the money for the street vacation could be used to fund a overpass on Lander Street. It makes that street safer and less congested.
2. As Port Commissioner I don’t believe the Port should play any role in the Key as it has no impact on the Port operations. As a citizen I think the Key remodeling will harm Seattle due to traffic issues.
3. As Port Commissioner we need to know which route the city is going to take! This is a major priority. If the SoDo arena is allowed (I hope it is) we need to start working with the community to properly plan new and improved infrastructure that works for the Port, the fans, and SoDo community.
King County Executive
EDITOR’S NOTE: We did not reach out to Dow’s campaign or the other candidates for King County Executive in time for them to respond to our specific arena questions above. We have met with Dow and his staff multiple times to discuss the Sonics issue in prior election cycles, and he is a strong supporter of the cause. We proudly endorse Dow Constantine for re-election. Dow has been an extremely strong leader on a wide range of issues to benefit our region as a whole, including his key role in moving responsible Seattle arena plans forward. We have full confidence he will continue down this path and support the best arena solution to bring the NBA, NHL, concerts, conventions and community events to King County.
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