Our Sponsors:

Read more »

Our Members

Many thanks to Kathleen Brooker and Louis Rowan some of our many supporters.

ALL MEMBERS »

Thursday Jolt: Amazon gets praise. Arena, not so much.

The day's winners and losers.
Seattle artist Ann Gardner's glass-tile mosaic, "Convergence," is on a facade of the NBBJ-designged building on the Amazon complex.

Seattle artist Ann Gardner's glass-tile mosaic, "Convergence," is on a facade of the NBBJ-designged building on the Amazon complex. Lawrence W. Cheek

Today's loser: The arena proposal. 

A new Elway poll concludes that Seattle and King County voters do not support Mayor Mike McGinn's and San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen's half-billion-dollar arena proposal. Asked four questions about the arena, just 26 percent of Seattle voters, and 30 percent of King County voters, responded positively all four times. Conversely, 30 percent of county voters and 35 percent of Seattle voters responded negatively to all four questions. 

Although 53 percent of Seattle, and 64 percent of King County respondents said they liked the idea of an arena, strong majorities in both the city (63 percent) and county (61 percent) said they were opposed to the "risk that any public money ever be needed to pay for this arena." The proposed deal includes several safeguards to protect taxpayers from floating the bill if the arena goes bankrupt or defaults on its rent payments, but the city and county are ultimately on the hook if those safeguards fail. 

Additionally, only about half of Seattle (49 percent) and county (50 percent) residents said they liked the proposed arena location in SoDo, which is home to two existing stadiums and the main truck route in and out of the Port of Seattle. 

And most Seattle residents opposed giving up some of the city's borrowing capacity to pay for a new arena: 52 percent opposed the idea, while 39 percent supported it. At the county level, 47 percent supported using bonding capacity while 45 percent opposed the idea. 

"If all four of these pieces have to be in place for the arena to be built, the odds for the deal are long," the report concludes.

Today's winner: Corporate protesters.

A local corporate titan has done the right thing, according to local lefties. At its shareholder meeting today in Seattle, flanked by protesters, Amazon announced that they are severing ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC. 

After the New York Times did an exposé on ALEC, a conservative think tank/state-level quasi-lobbying group, the nonprofit (which relies on membership), became this year's Koch Brothers bogeyman for lefties.

"It was amazing to be there to hear these corporate executives respond to popular pressure by cutting ties to ALEC," said Rev. Angela Ying, a shareholder who attended the meeting. However, Ying — who spoke on behalf of Working Washington, a local social justice group that organized today's protest — added: "I still wish Amazon paid its fair share of taxes." Today's protest also called attention to Amazon's record of avoiding sales taxes around the country by saying it isn't physically doing business in states where many of its customers are.

We have a call in to Amazon for comment.

Erica C. Barnett was the news editor for Seattle's online news site, PubliCola, where she covered city hall, transportation, land use, and state politics. She had also been the news editor and city hall columnist for The Stranger. In 2007, the King County Municipal League named Erica its Government Affairs Reporter of the year. She can be reached at erica.barnett@crosscut.com.

Award-winning journalist Josh Feit founded and edited the online news site PubliCola, where he also did double duty as the state house reporter, covering the legislature in Olympia. Before that, for nine years, he was the news editor and political columnist at Seattle's alt-weekly, The Stranger. He can be reached at josh.feit@crosscut.com.


Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!

Comments:

Posted Thu, May 24, 6:59 p.m. Inappropriate

A new Elway poll concludes that Seattle and King County voters do not support Mayor Mike McGinn's and San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen's half-billion-dollar arena proposal

As if this will matter to the best city and county governments a California billionaire can buy.

NotFan

Posted Thu, May 24, 7:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Remind me again why we need a second basketball arena in Seattle. I keep forgetting.

coolpapa

Posted Thu, May 24, 8:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Because Mr. Baker says so.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 7:30 p.m. Inappropriate

I feel like this really boils down to being a Sonics fan or not...

Either you think the port has valid concerns or you think they're pinning a lifetimes worth of problems on Chris Hansen.

Also, I would love to know how many people voted in the most recent Elway poll. I have a feeling not enough did to come to the conclusion Seattle and King County voters are against the arena proposal....

Posted Thu, May 24, 7:50 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, this looks like the same information lifted right off the Seattle Times, They failed to repeat how many people were polled.

How about posting the poll questions, if you actually have them.

It also appears that it is really important who is paying for things when it comes to the arena, traffic studies, etc, how about dusting off your journalism cap and find out who paid for the poll, too.
A push poll is only as good as good as your reporting is bad. So far, the poll is very effective, Seattle Times is no better,.

The poll surveyed 201 registered Seattle voters and 207 King County (non-Seattle) voters. The margin of error is 7 percentage points for the separate Seattle and King County samples and 5 percentage points for the combined, countywide data.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018264073_arenapoll23m.html

Mr Brewster,
Does Crosscut go for the wholesale lifting without attribution thing?

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 8:34 p.m. Inappropriate

That poll is much more scientific than Hansen's "traffic study" that says that a Friday counts as a weekend day.

Godwin

Posted Fri, May 25, 3:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Elway polls have a good reputation. I'd note the wide margin of error. A larger sample size would be better. But it's all disclosed, and I don't think they played games with the questions.

NotFan

Posted Fri, May 25, 9:01 a.m. Inappropriate

I haven't read the MOU, so confess my ignorance out front. However, the idea that a study regarding parking, paid for by the person who stands to benefit if the results favor his plan, means less than nothing to me. I will never believe the study's author(s) would bite the hand feeding them by concluding the arena would be a bad idea and that parking would be a disaster. Every story about this arena deal convinces me more and more of the corruption of our politicians. I am disgusted with all of them who favor this idea. The only plan I could support is putting a fully privately funded arena in an area away from the Port and Pioneer Square. The only exception I'd make to the full private funding would be if some outlying community wants to take the gamble the politicians and Hansen are asking Seattle to make. Then I say, let them.

mspat

Posted Fri, May 25, 9:13 a.m. Inappropriate

fact check the Publicola folks, please:

There is at least a couple hundred million of public money going into this through diversion of future tax revenues to pay for the construction as well as purchase of the land.

Posted Sun, May 27, 10:34 a.m. Inappropriate

Key Arena's seating is a comfort spot for 12 year old anorexic teeny boppers that can slide into the tight squeeze. Add Storm and high school events and it is a perfect venue for the non-big boys and the crowds for NBA and NHL events. Let the new arena construction begin!

animalal

Login or register to add your voice to the conversation.

Join Crosscut now!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow Us »