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

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