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    McGinn, Constantine score even before they score an arena

    The week's winners and losers: Team McGinn and Constantine suit up for pro sports, McKenna gets good news, and Romney resembles Viagra pitchman.

    Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine discuss a plan for a new arena in Seattle during a Feb. 16 press conference.

    Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine discuss a plan for a new arena in Seattle during a Feb. 16 press conference. Office of the Mayor

    Can you be a winner on a what-if?

    In these hard economic times, yes. We need politicians willing to be bold, or grasp at straws. So this week's winners start with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine who announced that they are seriously reviewing a new proposed $500 million-ish sports arena for SoDo to be financed by Seattle-boy-turned-hedge-fund-millionaire Chris Hansen. Isn't time for the 1 percent to do something nice for the 99 percent?

    It's all speculative at this point, but as outlined it would be privately financed, the city's and county's investment (via bonds) would be limited to $200 million paid back through arena-generated revenues and taxes, and in 30 years, the public would own it, probably as a faded antique. 

    Hansen would get an NBA franchise back in Seattle (how he does that is up to him), help attract a National Hockey League team to boot (we last won the Stanley Cup in 1917!), and fulfill a life-long dream (he grew up here during the SuperSonics heyday). With a public skeptical of taxpayer sports subsidies, the talk at the press conference was jobs jobs jobs, and a blue ribbon committee will examine the whole thing to see if it's workable. The politicos know it's no slam dunk, or as Constantine said, "It's tip off of the first game of the pre-season." McGinn made no promises either, yet says he feels "excitement in the air." With hopes raised, a political air-ball could still put them in the losers column (you do not want sports talk radio against you), but for basketball fans, Hansen's dream and pocketbook seem like no-risk manna from hoops heaven.

    Other winners and losers of the week:

    Winner: Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, buoyed by a new Elway Poll showing him with a nine-point lead over Democratic candidate Jay Inslee. Elway's assessment, as described in a Seattle Times report: "Overall, Elway says the results show 'a significant early advantage' for McKenna, while Inslee has yet to broaden his appeal beyond the Democratic base. McKenna does an even better job among voters who are familiar with both candidates, suggesting that he will get stronger as the campaign unfolds," Elway notes.

    The buzz for a long time has been that Inslee needs to step it up, partly because the Congressman is less-known statewide than Attorney General McKenna. But, McKenna is also well regarded by many Democrats and independents. That suggests Inslee and his surrogates will have to run an aggressive campaign to both introduce Inslee to voters, but also drive down McKenna's positives with negative ads. More good news for McKenna: the disenchantment with Democrats and education reform by major party- and Inslee-donor Nick Hanauer, who says McKenna is more right on education than Inslee and the D's in Olympia who, Hanauer says, are too tight with the reform-resistant unions.

    Winners: Gov. Christine Gregoire, Sen. Ed Murray, and Rep. Jamie Pedersen, signer and sponsors of the Gay Marriage law that was signed this week. Washington state joins seven other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing gay marriage. Gregoire, quoted in the Seattle Times, got it right: "It's a day that historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights — when we did what was right, just and fair and did it together, Republicans and Democrats, gay and straight, young and old." After the gay marriage honeymoon, however, comes the budget.

    Winner: Rick Santorum has caught Mitt Romney in the national polls. Others have accomplished that, but lived to regret it. But so far this week, no embarrassing fall from grace. Santorum was in Pugetopolis briefly for a rally in Tacoma. He gave his speech in front of the Washington State History Museum, a perfect venue for highlighting a 17th-century political platform. This week he also received a not-an-endorsement-endorsement from the family-values band, Megadeth.

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    Posted Fri, Feb 17, 5:36 a.m. Inappropriate

    Lost in the hullabaloo... McGinn and Dow deftly use the occasion to fulfill the City and County's promise to "end homelessness by 2015". Everyone... to Key Arena!

    Loser: Journalists who take up the juvenile "winners and losers" proclamations (ala Publicola) whilst, hypocritically, decrying the "hired pens for daggers" that has poisoned "American Politics".


    Posted Fri, Feb 17, 8:05 a.m. Inappropriate

    So, "privately financed" and a public "investment" of $200 million to end up with ownership of a long-obsolete white elephant that will need to be demolished or otherwise expensively dealt with 30 years from now. Not a good deal in my estimation. How will we make a profit off of that? How is that not public spending to further the vanities of a private business? Those taxes attendees will pay would surely be paid by some other spending, and wouldn't go to buy a palace for sports that likely would not suit the "needs" of the sports franchises and their owners long before 30 years pass. Need I say Key Arena? Or the Kingdome? Aren't we still paying for that one even though it's long gone?

    And the jobs? Really, they're touting jobs? Those will be minimum wage jobs, folks. Nothing to raise a family on. Food vendors and program hawkers, folks to direct us to our seats. Parking attendants. The jobs paying real family-sustaining compensation won't be going to most of the public. They'll be going to the sports community's own.

    Those folks who would spend money attending events in this proposed deal, and thereby contribute tax money, would spend that money anyway, and the resulting taxes might have some teeny chance of doing some good for someone other than already wealthy individuals seeking public stroking of their egos. I say no, thank you.


    Posted Fri, Feb 17, 8:17 a.m. Inappropriate

    Amazon announced yesterday that they are going to build three new office buildings donwtonw that will probably represent $1 billion in construction spending. These office buildings will house hundreds if not thousands of new jobs for the area. And they aren't asking the city to finance part of it under the guise of giving the city a deal that won't cost them anything.

    Amazon is going to build these buildings with local construction workers. They are going to buy the materials to build these buildings in the marketplace. They are going to fill these buildings with people making good wages with decent benefits packages. Those people will use their wages to buy goods and services in Seattle and the region.

    But McGinn puts himself in front of the parade for the new arena. The arena could easily be financed by the investors - the ticket sales and concessions from just a few games a year could cover the $200 million over 30 years that they are asking taxes to pay for. But, no, they need to make sure that their players are making an average of $5 million a year and that the hundreds of jobs that they are creating are only seasonal or part time in order to keep their costs down.

    The big story for Seattle yesterday was the commitment that Amazon is making to the region, not the rich guy who wants to brings us a basketball team, but only if we pay for half of his workplace.


    Posted Fri, Feb 17, 10:54 a.m. Inappropriate

    And then questions a few people ask regarding whether to site a new arena in the SoWa deadzone or Revive Key Arena go un-answered by nitwits who can spell the words oscillating & tubular without understanding their meaning.

    Then the questions the few people ask regarding a new arena or an upgraded Key Arena go further unanswered by the nitwits spelling the words "oscillating" & 'tubular' in their heads (to prove their word-spelling prowess) all the while without understanding their meaning. Oscillating & Tubular.
    Think about a two-mile multi-segmented, glued & bolted tunnel in this context when the south segment soil liquifies in waves of earthquake movement.

    Another Sports Arena WILL NOT revive the SoWa deadzone.
    Obviously? Duh?


    Posted Fri, Feb 17, 12:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    "scurrilous newspapers for shields, and hired pens for daggers" 1884.

    The value free politics of our cities have carried on thus long before, and I predict long after, Logan and Molotch introduced dear readers to the "growth coalition" in their now classic "Urban Fortunes."

    The only news here is that Mossback appears to have two masters too. Is not anything sacred?


    Posted Sat, Feb 18, 10:04 a.m. Inappropriate



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