Friday, July 4, 2008

Step#1: NBA quality arena

I do not care what goes in it, who buys a team, expansion or stolen, I do not care. I may never watch another NBA basketball game, absolutely not without a team here, that was the NBA's choice, not mine. Greg Nickels caved, that's his decision, not mine. Ron Sims caved before it was fashionable, and Christine Gregoire before him, that's their decision, not mine.

What I can draw from this experience is that those people were lead by the pressure of others that passes as leadership when they are caving to your pressure.
Another lesson for me in this is that my opinion means very little. David Stern's opinion means just as much. He and I are dependent on the opinion of the people that decide all this: the franchise owners.
Steve Ballmer says a rebuilt Key Arena will work for him and will provide enough revenue for the league. He can buy a team for this
market and Stern will support his efforts.

Bennett said that a rebuilt Key Arena would not work for him and Stern supported him in his efforts.
Howard Schultz said a rebuilt Key Arena would work for him and Stern supported him in his efforts.

For those of you thinking that Stern is being inconsistent, you are looking at this backward. He has, and will, support the team owners. He is consistent in that regard, that is what the owners pay him to do.

The fact of the matter is that if you want to have a say in the franchise part of this then you are going to have to buy one. May the force be with you.

My concern is a bit more civic. As long as the City of Seattle insists on being involved in real estate, then they will compete with long shots, like B2, for revenue generating tenants. B2 has been dependent on free to them public land, that isn't free in any sense of the word. If they can figure out a way to get a large plot of land, a basketball team and a hockey team, while creating a competing venue to Key Arena, and do it without public land or money, more power to you.

The reality is that most NBA teams are not worthy of a new arena, not a 500 million dollar palace. But, if you can provide a an arena that performs at least at average of other arenas at the cost of 300 million, then you are getting closer to reality. When I say "you" provide, I mean Steve Ballmer. He is providing 150 million of that rebuild. He is buying a team, he is the one with the opinion that causes others to cave, or switch positions on Key Arena's viability. He says, though Mr. Griffin, through the caving of every Washington State politician, the flip-flop of David Stern, that a the public portion of the Key Arena rebuild will be covered by. . . the public.
The public has involved too many people that had power, but were not effected. When the State and County "leadership" failed, again, last February the mayor of Seattle was asked in the context of a larger conversation about city generated revenue and the flexibility to retain that money, the mayor indicated that he would prefer to just keep the money generated in Seattle. . . in Seattle.

It should be no surprised that the mayor will be proposing that the hotel and motel tax collected in Seattle, that is generating more revenue than projected, that the money beyond the projection get directed to Seattle Center. I have said here many times that it would be an easier sell to the state to point to something other than Key Arena for promoting to the state, and for the city to divert the money they would be spending on other parts of the Seattle Center site to Key Arena. Yes, they are proposing taking a dollar out of one pocket and put it into another, whatever it takes to keep Seattle tax revenue that is generated here in Seattle, I am for it.

The bottom line: citizens of Seattle, like me, will get a 300 million dollar rebuild to Key Arena at the cost of 150 million in tax money generated from hotel/motel taxes going into one pocket and drawn out from another, and revenue in and around Key Arena from NBA related activity.
Also, there would be a revenue stream turned toward the rest of Seattle Center.
Nickels is going to attempt to limit who gets to say what the money is used for by limiting where the revenue is generated at.

But House Finance Chairman Ross Hunter said the city is working on a new funding proposal that he thinks will be more palatable to lawmakers. The new plan relies on taxes collected entirely within the city, said Hunter, D-Medina.

Under past proposals, the city and Sonics were seeking legislative approval to tap King County taxes on car rentals and restaurants — money now being used to pay off the debt on Safeco Field.

After shooting down the latest proposal this year, Gregoire and legislative leaders agreed to set up a task force to examine a broader package of King County taxes that could pay for projects for the arts, education, youth sports, low-income housing, Puget Sound cleanup and a renovation of Husky Stadium — along with KeyArena.

That task force will hold its first meeting this month.

But Hunter, who has been briefed by Seattle officials, said the city is now eyeing a different pot of money.

For years the state has collected a hotel and motel tax to help pay off the debt on the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. Those collections exceed what is needed for the convention-center debt, Hunter said.

Hunter said the city's plan is to shift a tiny portion of that money to Seattle Center for improvements not related to KeyArena. That presumably would free up other money for the arena renovation.

Such a shift would require legislative approval.

Alex Fryer, spokesman for the city, confirmed the city wants to tap the hotel and motel taxes.

Hunter, who has not supported previous proposals, said he thinks the new plan has a better chance in Olympia because it's not just a "taxpayer subsidy for professional basketball."

He said he thinks lawmakers will be more open to helping the city tackle an obvious financial problem — "an empty building that bleeds money." - Seattle Times, 7/4/2008

At this point I don't care if Steve Ballmer fills it with ice dancing 41 nights a year, I am looking for doubling my available dollars for rebuilding Key Arena.

I am also a newly big proponent of keeping the money generated in Seattle spent in Seattle.

reprinted at