Thursday, September 25, 2008

Storm offseason unsettled

"The Storm belongs in Key Arena, and I think everybody knows that."

They are not the only ones, and I think everyone will come to
understand that over the next 9 months.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My reader response to the PI Editorial was posted in the Virtual Editorial Blog

I was a little tired last night when I pecked out my response to the PI Editorial yesterday on the Sonics settlement money, and it shows. I made a few word choice errors in typing on my iPhone.
Anyway, glad the PI is taking my side, and re-sharing my response to them on today's VEB. Losing the additional 30 million dollars and allowing Key Arena to turn into a long-term white elephant is just not ok.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Seattle Center: Silver-lined arena" Seattle PI Editorial

The Seattle PI has voiced its opinion on what should happen to the
settlement money, 45 million dollars from Clay Bennett: pay off the
arena debt. Then they pretty much accepted the city accountant's
I do not agree with replacing "lost" revenue from the city allowing
the Sonics franchise owners to leave two years early. They accepted
that future by accepting the settlement.
The money should pay off the debt, yes, but it should also go to
upgrades needed to attract non-sports activity currently going up to
the Everett Events Center, or down to the Tacoma Dome.

The Seattle PI editorial also lent strong words in support of getting
the state legislature to act on authorizing a funding source for the
state's portion of a Key Arena remodel to be spent if Steve Ballmer is
able to buy another NBA team.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Dispatches from the Tenth Circle - The Sonic's Fan Version

There are parts of the saga of the Sonics' fan that sometimes remind me of something I might have read in The Onion's book, Dispatches from the Tenth Circle. It appeared, at first, that the only people interested in keeping the Sonics in Seattle were the fans, and in the end that is exactly the case.

It has been my contention for the past few years that there are three parties involved, the NBA not being one of them. David Stern acts on behalf of the owner, or potential owner if you are Steve Ballmer or Clay Bennett. So, we really do have the owner of the franchise, the politicos/NGO's (westside Democrats & eastside Repubicans), and absolutely lastly, the fans. All three of those perspectives are required for any major profession sports team to exist in Seattle. This may be the case in other cities, only the names are changed to protect the rich, and deflect criticism away from politicians.

From the word Go, the city has planned on the Sonics leaving, and the owners (any of them) were going to get more revenue no matter where the team was eventually located. When Howard Schultz was owner of the Sonics, and Brian Robinson was acting the part of journalist, he made every effort to help efforts to keep the franchise going long-term in Seattle. That effort didn't change when Clay Bennett purchased the Sonics (though not with the same sense that the owner was holding up his end of the stick.
When Clay Bennett announced that he was giving up and was going to move the team that put the city and Bennett on a collision course, and flipped Brian Robinson from journalist to advocate, and started Save Our Sonics with Steve Pyeatt.

At about that point season ticket holders, that were sold tickets under the pretense that they could purchase season tickets in 2008 and 2009, started to wonder if they had any recourse. They were sold something with the possibility of a benefit in the future while at the same time the team owner was actively trying the make sure those conditions would not be possible. Had they known at the time of purchase that Clay Bennett was begging the league to relocate in time for that same 2007 - 2008 season would those people have purchased their tickets?
In a few cases yes, in many cases no, in either case the consumers in Washington State have the right to know.
Asking Brian Robinson if he knows a lawyer they could hire isn't much of a conspiracy.

And yet, Clay Bennett's lawyer, Sideshow Bob Keller has demanded every email he has that also include the city and more. This does not have much to do with fraud, I honestly think this has everything to do with the fans, including Brian Robinson, costing Bennett at least 20 million dollars, and possibly 30 million more in 5 years.

All the while, quite a few of us Sonics fans have carried on conversations on message boards, newsgroups, listserves, some stretching back nearly 10 years. At various times groups I have had some contact with, public and private, sorted themselves out. A few of us took to writing about the Sonics on a few blogs, and there was an inside/outside the "circle" mostly expessed in a humorist way. As Brian gained connections with reporters, and people working in government and the last two ownership groups, and publicly lamented that they were not always open with him, my guess is that fodder will result in a lot of meaningless paper dumped in Keller's lap.

For me, a paranoid guy that just wanted to write, I opted out of anything that could be described, even jokingly, as an inner circle, and made a few people very unhappy with me. Well, the choices we make are not always clear to the others around us at the time. There wasn't much upside, and the downside looked something a bit worse than what Brian is dealing with right now.
Rich guys have lawyers that have nothing better to do, and they have to bill hours.
No thanks.
As for the idea of circles, what the center of some circles look like are not as positive for the Seattle community as Brian Robinson.

Sometime in the late 20th century the rings of Hell were redefined, and expanded after a new 10th Circle, Corpadverticus, was discovered (see chart, above).
There, near the lower right of the graph, is a red characiture that may or may not be Brad Keller, also known as "Sideshow" Brad by me.

And so, in today's Seattle PI, the venn diagram of all these circles, owners, politicos, and fans, has shown a new color of light: green for the fans.
The fans are not going to run for re-election, they do not have stock holders, and they are not inventing a new scenario (Washington State has a fraud law).
Keller is racking up billing hours on Brian Robinson's back before the music stops, the ride is over, and Bennett pulls the plug.

Save Our Sonics cites subpoena 'attack'
Team owners try to link group with ticket holders' suit


The Sonics may be gone, but the court fight hasn't quite ended between Clay Bennett's ownership group and some Seattle sports fans.

A class-action suit filed by three former Sonics season ticket holders has escalated into a growing war of words and court filings, the latest surrounding Save Our Sonics co-founder Brian Robinson and what he must turn over to the Professional Basketball Club attorneys in discovery for a scheduled March 2 trial.

PBC lawyers served a subpoena on Robinson and the Save Our Sonics organization on Aug. 25 seeking e-mails and records regarding the group's interaction with city of Seattle officials, NBA representatives, the fans filing the class-action suit and numerous other matters.

Robinson's attorney, Paul Schneiderman, sought to limit the scope of the initial inquiry and the PBC responded by filing a motion to force compliance with the legal action.

Robinson now is agreeing to turn over some of what has been requested, but on a delayed basis.

The battle took a step up in volume Monday when Schneiderman filed a sharply worded response to U.S. District Judge Richard Jones accusing the PBC of launching an unnecessary attack on the Save Our Sonics group for its alleged role in bringing about the class-action suit against Bennett.

"The PBC, a combined billionaire group of Oklahoma-based NBA owners, have shockingly taken the unprecedented steps of attacking an all-volunteer NBA fan group in United States federal court," Schneiderman wrote.

The motion states that Bennett's attorneys are painting Robinson and his fan group as part of a "broader conspiracy" intended to bleed the PBC.

"The 'bleeding' allegations are Oliver Stone-like, conspiratorial in nature, and grossly distort and mischaracterize the actual efforts of Brian Robinson and SOS&S," the motion stated.

SOS&S refers to Save Our Sonics and Storm, the original name of the nonprofit corporation formed by Robinson in July 2006.

Part of Schneiderman's argument against the PBC's motion to compel the subpoena is based on the fact the PBC originally subpoenaed the Save Our Sonics group, but didn't subpoena the actual SOS&S affiliation.

PBC attorney Brad Keller said Robinson's attorney physically filed the original complaint against Bennett's ownership group.

"Robinson clearly played a role in orchestrating the lawsuit," Keller said. "We are just trying to get to the bottom of what his role was. Robinson shouldn't be resisting the subpoena if he has nothing to hide."

The entire case revolves around the three fans' attempts to hold Bennett's ownership group to what they perceived as a promise to give Sonics season ticket holders a three-year price guarantee and priority seating through the remainder of the former KeyArena lease.

Now that Bennett has moved the club to Oklahoma City, the suit seeks to force the PBC to guarantee the 1,387 Sonics season ticket holders from last year the right to buy similar seats at the Ford Center and also require the PBC to pay for travel accommodations that would now be necessary to attend the 41 home games in Oklahoma for the next two seasons.

PBC lawyers filed a motion last week asking the judge for summary judgment on the contract damages portion of the suit.

The PBC is attempting to show Robinson played a role in bringing about the fans' suit and thus they have a right to discovery concerning his group's actions.

In a declaration accompanying Monday's motion, Robinson acknowledged that he "referred several people to an attorney" in regards to a class-action fans suit, but denied any active role.

"The plaintiffs in the class action case have clearly made a decision to participate in this case without the active participation of SOS&S," Robinson wrote.

Robinson's attorney said the Oklahoma City owners are attempting to create a rift by doing everything possible to "alienate and inflict injury" on Seattle's NBA fan base in hopes of derailing the Save Our Sonics efforts to lobby the Washington Legislature for further KeyArena funding.

If the Legislature doesn't approve a $75 million tax stream to help rebuild KeyArena by Dec. 31, 2009, Bennett won't have to pay the city the final $30 million of the settlement package.

Robinson said that although the franchise has moved to Oklahoma, his goal is to "re-establish Seattle" as an NBA city and he intends to continue working toward a KeyArena funding solution.
As reported by Greg Johns of the Seattle PI.

My fuzzy memory is that the idea was floated on, (you could put 100 other people in the "conspiracy" to not get screwed) those season ticket holders, I call fans, asked Brian if he knew a lawyer, and it looks like they found one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dively says "Put Sonics settlement toward KeyArena debt, budget director says", Seattle Times Newspaper

And I say, screw you.
The city claimed to have 19 million dollars budgeted in the general
fund fir things like this. The city was the one that took they buyout,
causing the lawyer's fees to be encurred. That on the city.

The Key Arena debt should be retired.
The Seattle Center direction stated in the council sub-committee last
month that the Key Arena would not lose money once the debt was retired.
The 2007 mayor's study stated that the arena would require 30 million
dollars in investment if the Sonics were to leave, to make it at least
acceptable as a "minor league" venue.
That is 23 million plus 30 million, looks like the city needs to put
up 8 million, not suck money out of it and funnel it away to the
general fund.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 20, 2008

" Clay Bennett's attorneys want Sonics fans' lawsuit dismissed" from Seattle Times Newspaper

Fan's case still alive.
Good for them.
The Sonics story is still alive in the press, good for me.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

The Seattle Times - Guest Guesser

Off Topic: Going into week three of the Seattle Times' football game picking contest, Guest Guesser, I am ranked at 138th of 3838 contestants. I really am guessing. I have not watched an entire football game in more than a year. I watch a few minutes here, and there, when I channel surf past local teams only. The percentages of other guessers selections are on the web page. The group, if large enough, and diverse enough, usually comes up with the best answer. At the very least, that is where the majority of selections are. The only "upset" I have actually picked is NE beating the J-E-T-S Jets last week, 24 to 17 (actual score was 19 - 10, I think).

Let's see how this plays out in real life the first Tuesday in November. My guess there will be as well informed as Akron v. Ball State last week; I do not have a clue, but I will pick one, because that is how the game is played.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thunder names TV announcers |

From Seattle to Oklahoma City;
from Kevin Calabro to . . . Brian Davis.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Crosscut's David Brewster asks - Could a convention center work at Seattle Center?

The answers I have are:
Yes, if they are going to operate the meeting space and arena when Key
Arena is rebuilt.


In either case the city is not going to promote a facility to be placed at Seattle Center ( or anywhere else in the city) while it is actively seeking part of the same revenue stream that the Washington State Convention & Trade Center currently enjoys. It is not going to promote convention space to be added while it is trying to fill its own space. The more likely spot is the "air space" above the King County bus ranch.

The fact is that the Washington State Convention & Trade Center people do not have an actionable plan. They have a want to grow in 3 possible spots with no scope of size (200 to 300 hundred square feet). They do not want to give up the revenue stream when their project is paid off. They have not proposed a cost, which might be hard to do without a real scope of work.

David Brewster has taken another swing at throwing this idea out there. I think that when he says that the "state" is interested he is also talking about Frank Choop.

He also gives Ron Sims' point of view. He did give the reaction from the spokesperson from the Seattle Center, that the city would not support a Seattle Center solution for the WSCTC. The story was sadly lacking in fully explaining the city's point of view.

This is a sandbag, David Brewster is the bagman.

The answer at the end will be that the city plan for Key Arena is defined, does not consume much of the revenue source, and enough revenue from that source would be there if the WSCTC ever got its plan together.

Brewster does mention that the hotel folks were unhappy that several million dollars from this source were dumped into the state's general fund, and that they do not want that to happen again. I think Senate Bill 6638 closed that loophole.

There are 30 million reasons the city is not ready to "finally let Key Arena go".

BTW, Ron Sims, mind your own backyard. You have been no help to me.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 15, 2008

Washington State Senate Bill 6638

Senate Bill 6638 went into effect on July 1, 2008. This bill set a framework around the funding sources, and the types of things the funds could be used for. This restricts the spending to agracultural, arts and heritage, and in counties with a population greater than one million - sports stadiums. The "lodging" tax that had an end date no longer has an end date. A great deal of the general scoping and limiting has been done.

What it looks like to me is that the Washington State Task Force is going to have to play match maker between descrete sources and revenues with more specific requests for those funds. At this point, I think Seattle Center's Key Arena has a better shot at slicing off a sliver of the Washington State Convention Center tax collected in Seattle, than does the University of Washington's attempt at the stadium tax collected in King County and currently paying off Safeco and of Qwest.

The Senate Bill keeps refering to "Arts and Heritage", maybe those that want Key Arena remodel to happen and another run at having a teamed the Sonics might want to have the NBA opening day "rally" at the real current home of the Sonics at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

That is where our Art and Heritage went, not Oklahoma City.

"It's my ballet" (did Mike Seely say that?)

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brian Robinson says "Good Morning"

Brian Robinson of Save Our Sonics, at , says, in not so many words, that the City of Seattle is talking but he does not see them doing, that he hears them say they are wanting but wonders if that will translate into action.
Robinson says, as has been reported here, and reported here, that the state task force (Local Financing Options for King County, Joint Task Force) is supposed to meet again this month. That task force is chaired by Ross Hunter. It is unlikely that Hunter, or any other politician running for office this November will want to be very public about this subject. The task force has a report out date of December 10th, I expect the month between the election and that report date to be the period of heavy lifting.

As Robinson says, the city needs to have its plan together before that legislature starts up. Robinson says that he has met with Dino Rossi.

The reality for the city, Hunter, Chris Gregoire, Rossi, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and Brian Robinson, is that the first NBA season without the Sonics in Seattle is Tuesday, October 28th, one full week before election day. This is in time to be right in front of the majority citizens that vote by mail.

The first NBA preseason game is October 5th (I had to look it up). The sports columnists, reporters, journalists, bloggers, sports radio, will have nothing much to cover in the two weeks leading up to that because the Seattle Seahawks have a bye week the prior Sunday. That is two weeks without meaningful local NFL coverage. The Seattle Mariners season officially ends September 28th. The NBA, and the missing team story, will fill the hole in the sports section at some point during that period. What else are they going to write about?

I suggest that before the memory of the settlement between Clay Bennett and Greg Nickels, agreed to by the city council, becomes newspaper fodder at the end of September, beginning October, that the politicians get their shit together.

I am guessing that Brian Robinson will get asked, and he is likely to "point fingers", that is the leverage he has right now.

Oh, and a fine hello from Brian Robinson to Brad Keller (seen below).

Brad Keller, seen here preparing to stab Seattle in the back.
Get out of town, jackass!

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fan's Case Still Alive

Lately, looking at reminds me of looking into a
pond at the Japanese Garden in Seattle on a cool Spring morning. You
look into the still water, is there anything going on in there?
Yesterday, Brian Robinson surfaced like one of those koi.
The fan's court case is still alive, and Mr Robinson has been advised
to be silent.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, September 5, 2008

Crosscut Seattle - Our Convention Center has growing pains

The Washington State Convention & Trade Center that currently hovers over Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle is expressing their desire to expand, off-site, to one of three places, one option being Seattle Center.

Remodeling Key Arena would have the same effect and draw an NBA team
back to the market. They are getting in line for the same tax source as Key Arena and the
rest of King County. What should be understood is that there is a recognized need for more
convention space in Seattle.
Building a state of the art arena and convention space would kill two birds with one stone, makes sense, that's why Frank Chopp will fight it.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sports Media: FSN to expand Pac-10 coverage

No Blazers for you!

As I had mentioned here and there, somewhere, that local media will
turn to local stories, rather than importing Blazer games and NBA games.
FSN will go to more PAC 10 broadcasts and Seahawk talk shows.
FSN has reduced some staff.
Two sport town, I do not care for the sound if that, no, not even a

Read the PI story here:

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Crosscut Seattle - Did Howard Schultz pull the last plug for the Sonics?

"Chopp felt like he was being used by Bennett, who only wanted to move the team and needed local politicians to blame." David Brewster,
The irony is that is exactly what happened, Chopp did not act and guess what Frank, it is put on you. The retry at funding will be put at your feet again, Clay Bennett's gone, who can you blame for your inaction this time?
I'm sure you will think of somebody, other than yourself, of course.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bring the NHL (or NBA, or . . . ) to SEATTLE

With the official end to the possible return of the franchise formerly knows as the Sonics back to Seattle and Key Arena a vacuum is created.

Seattle is the 14th largest broadcast media market as measured by Markets are Designated Market Areas, as defined by Nielsen Media Research, and are sorted by their rank in the 2008-09 television season..

As we look down the list we see the largest media market without an NBA team is Seattle at #14, followed by St. Louis at #21.

The advantage the NBA has in the Seattle market is political leanings (you have to hammer the nail a few times to get it to lean that way) and the public desire of a billionaire owner, Steve Ballmer. If there are other billionaires that want the NHL here, it has not become a very public discussion.
For the rough cost of remodeling the Seattle Center's Key Arena the city of Pittsburgh (at #23) through its Sports & Exhibition Authority. Seattle's Key Arena rebuild would have cost about 300 million had it broke ground this year. Pittsburgh's new arena will cost about 290 million as it actually does break ground this year.

Will the NHL fans in Seattle get together with the NBA fans, or not? Will the NHL beat the NBA to the Seattle market?

Below are the top 75 television markets.
Rank Designated Market Area (DMA) TV Homes % of US
1 New York 7,433,820 6.495
2 Los Angeles 5,654,260 4.940
3 Chicago 3,492,850 3.052
4 Philadelphia 2,950,220 2.578
5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 2,489,970 2.175
6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose 2,476,450 2.164
7 Boston (Manchester) 2,409,080 2.105
8 Atlanta 2,369,780 2.070
9 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn) 2,321,610 2.028
10 Houston 2,106,210 1.840
11 Detroit 1,926,970 1.684
12 Phoenix (Prescott) 1,855,930 1.622
13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) 1,822,160 1.592
14 Seattle-Tacoma 1,819,970 1.590
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 1,730,530 1.512
16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 1,546,920 1.352
17 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 1,524,930 1.332
18 Denver 1,524,210 1.332
19 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn 1,466,420 1.281
20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 1,399,520 1.223
21 St. Louis 1,249,820 1.092
22 Portland, OR 1,175,100 1.027
23 Pittsburgh 1,156,460 1.010
24 Charlotte 1,122,860 0.981
25 Indianapolis 1,114,970 0.974
26 Baltimore 1,102,080 0.963
27 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle) 1,080,680 0.944
28 San Diego 1,066,680 0.932
29 Nashville 1,016,290 0.888
30 Hartford & New Haven 1,014,990 0.887
31 Kansas City 937,970 0.819
32 Columbus, OH 925,840 0.809
33 Salt Lake City 919,390 0.803
34 Cincinnati 915,570 0.800
35 Milwaukee 905,350 0.791
36 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 858,050 0.750
37 San Antonio 818,560 0.715
38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 779,430 0.681
39 Grand Rapids-Kalmzoo-B.Crk 741,420 0.648
40 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 739,750 0.646
41 Harrisburg-Lncstr-Leb-York 738,880 0.646
42 Las Vegas 728,410 0.636
43 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws 718,020 0.627
44 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 689,120 0.602
45 Oklahoma City 687,300 0.600
46 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem 685,110 0.599
47 Jacksonville 674,860 0.590
48 Memphis 673,770 0.589
49 Austin 667,670 0.583
50 Louisville 667,230 0.583
51 Buffalo 631,120 0.551
52 Providence-New Bedford 622,580 0.544
53 New Orleans 602,740 0.527
54 Wilkes Barre-Scranton 594,570 0.519
55 Fresno-Visalia 574,900 0.502
56 Little Rock-Pine Bluff 567,060 0.495
57 Albany-Schenectady-Troy 556,750 0.486
58 Richmond-Petersburg 550,240 0.481
59 Knoxville 547,930 0.479
60 Mobile-Pensacola (Ft Walt) 537,810 0.470
61 Tulsa 529,540 0.463
62 Ft. Myers-Naples 509,530 0.445
63 Lexington 503,260 0.440
64 Dayton 483,790 0.423
65 Charleston-Huntington 479,750 0.419
66 Flint-Saginaw-Bay City 465,790 0.407
67 Roanoke-Lynchburg 461,420 0.403
68 Tucson (Sierra Vista) 456,030 0.398
69 Wichita-Hutchinson Plus 450,930 0.394
70 Green Bay-Appleton 444,210 0.388
71 Des Moines-Ames 432,410 0.378
72 Honolulu 429,940 0.376
73 Toledo 425,890 0.372
74 Springfield, MO 421,960 0.369
75 Spokane 416,630 0.364

Monday, September 1, 2008

Beat the Clock, December 31, 2009

In terms of basketball, 16 months is a very long time. In terms of state legislative action we are about half-way through the first quarter. Like many basketball games, the game will be decided long before the final buzzer sounds. The state has a task force that was authorized by the last legislative session to look at local taxing resources for a variety of King County items. The City of Seattle is looking to carve out a source drawn from within the city limits to be directed to a city item. This is likely due, in part to the enthusiastic support the city received from King County Executive, Ron Simms, that rivaled that of a boat anchor. ( )

A popular taxing source, and not the only one, is a portion of the hotel/motel tax that is collected to support the Washington Convention Center. Not all of the funds are currently used, and this source makes sense for the city and a narrowness of connection between source and target. The state will provide its final report and recommendation December 10, 2008, just after the elections.

I will contact my state representatives, as well as the Chairman of the task force, Ross Hunter, to express my opinion, that other groups that want to spend identify a source that is directly connected to the target. The citizens in east King County do not want to spend "their" tax money on Seattle Center, likewise they should not expect tax dollars to come out of the pockets of the citizens of Seattle (that's me) to pay for their projects. You worry about you, I'll worry about me, just how the rural citizens like it.
If Seattle did not pay for a variety of things outside of the City of Seattle we would not have the same kinds of problems we do now, they would be different, and, quite frankly, I am tired of these problems and would like new and different problems of equal severity.

On this one point, I agree with Mayor Greg Nickels, local taxing sources and authority is best for Seattle.

Frustrated by the state and federal gridlock on solving Seattle's transportation problems, Mayor Greg Nickels suggested secession at a Thursday luncheon.

"Our region should declare its independence," Nickels said.

The Puget Sound regional economy makes up 67 percent of the state's economic activity, he said. "If we were a country, [our economy] would be just a little smaller than Thailand. We would be larger than Colombia, Venezuela. We are held back because our state and federal government still believe our economies are driven by wheat farms and timber logging."

Nickels spoke as part of a CityClub round table at Town Hall with Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger and Redmond Mayor John Marchione.

Nickels suggested the region start by putting the Puget Sound Regional Council "on steroids."

The 32-member board, Nickels said, should shrink and take greater control of how to spend state transportation funds.

Nickels spokesman Marty McOmber later said the mayor's comments at lunch — such as, "I am serious when I say we ought to talk about independence" — were meant to be tongue-in-cheek. The mayor was venting his frustration after the state opposed transportation projects and gun-control legislation he wanted.

"We have rural legislators making decisions on things like the viaduct and whether we can keep our city safe," Nickels said.

The three mayors did not disagree on much in a discussion that ranged from homelessness and Highway 520 to improved regional cooperation. Degginger and Marchione both said they would not support a 20-cent fee on disposable grocery bags, as Nickels has proposed in Seattle.

Nickels said he disagreed with King County Metro's plan to distribute 40 percent of new transit service to the Eastside, while Degginger said the policy was necessary to improve service to the underserved suburbs.

A new Highway 520 Bridge is an example of an issue that needs execution, not more discussion, Degginger said.

The biggest challenge ahead is "to show some leadership," he said. "... We need to implement decisions, rather than talk about them over and over again."

All the mayors advocated for better transit service, including buses. Moderator James Vesely, editorial-page editor of The Seattle Times, asked them if they knew what bus route they would take to get to work in the morning.

Each knew the number of his route, which drew applause, though Nickels admitted he does not take the bus.
, Friday, April 18, 2008, By Sharon Pian Chan and Ashley Bach, Seattle Times staff reporters.

I doubt the mayor limits that line of thinking to just transportation.

By December 31, 2009, the State of Washington must provide a funding resource to the City of Seattle, or if necessary King County, that will provide one quarter of the cost of an arena, $75 million dollars (or adjusted CIP), or they lose rights to $30 million dollars due to the City of Seattle at the 5 year anniversary of this agreement, August 18, 2008. If a funding source is provided and a team can not be made available to a willing buyer or existing owner to relocate, then Clay Bennett will request a cash call of the PBC owners to provide the additional $30 million dollars, added to the $45 million dollars paid now, added up to a total of $75 million dollars from PBC. The banners will hang where they are, the trophies will be at the Seattle Museum if History and Industry (I call it the graveyard for the hearts of Seattle Sonics basketball). City of Seattle /FinalAgreementPBC.pdf

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone