Thursday Jolt: Amazon gets praise. Arena, not so much.
Seattle artist Ann Gardner's glass-tile mosaic, "Convergence," is on a facade of the NBBJ-designged building on the Amazon complex. Credit: 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.
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