Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SonicsCentral.com: Both Candidates on the Record

Both Candidates on the Record
The following was posted at SonicsCentral by Brian Robinson of Save Our Sonics.
We were very thankful to recieve a statement yesterday from Governor Gregoire. I will say that my own communication with her office has been excellent and that the delay in recieving her statement was 100% our error.

I found it especially interesting that she mentions the scope of the construction project and the jobs created. This is a change in rhetoric that is pretty substantial and something I was hoping would get mentioned for a long time:

Statement from Christine Gregoire:
It was a sad day for our region the day the Sonics left.

My husband Mike and I are big sports fans. In fact, we were original Seahawk season ticket holders, and we already have season tickets to the Seattle Sounders FC.

I understand how strongly Sonics fans feel about the loss of the team, and I want to tell you the truth about how we got where we are today.

Let’s talk about what happened earlier this year. The last ditch effort by the new ownership group to improve Key Arena had to be supported by the Legislature in Olympia. Only the Legislature could grant King County the authority to raise taxes for the arena.

This vote wasn’t taken because it would have failed. If a vote had been forced, it would have failed. It’s that simple.

If the legislature rushed to a vote and it failed, the message sent to the NBA would be that Washingtonians won’t support professional basketball. And that is not true.

Now, let’s talk about where we are today. First and foremost, we need to work together to make Key Arena attractive to another NBA team and find out how to bring them here.

My office has been working with those involved on a proposal to use existing tourist tax revenue to fund renovations at the Key. Currently there is a seven percent tax on hotel rooms in Seattle; this money goes to convention center operations. The plan, which is still being negotiated, would take one-tenth of that revenue stream and put it toward the renovation of the Key.

This existing revenue would be joined with a large private investment from the local ownership group and presumably, if the legislature acts, from $30 million from the Oklahoma City owners as part of their settlement.

I want to work with the local ownership group and you to see what can be done.

Our nation has found itself in troubling economic times and while we must find balance in funding our priorities, a $300 million construction project will help create jobs in the short term. In addition to placing Seattle in a position to regain the Sonics, a long-term result of this effort would be the start of a re-energized Seattle Center.

What would my Republican opponent do? I don’t know. He was asked directly at the KING5 debate and he wouldn’t answer the question.

He has said many times that he would fix our roads and cut taxes. But last week he told The Herald in Everett that he wouldn’t do either of those for at least three years, maybe longer.

He hasn’t promised to do anything to bring an NBA team to our state.

When he was a senator, he opposed letting voters decide if they wanted to fund Seahawks Stadium. There was no risk to him. He just had to give the authorization for a vote, but he wouldn’t.

Maybe this is just fine with you - but not me. I think the only thing he’s demonstrating here is political opportunism.

We may not agree on everything, but at least I’ll give you a straight answer.

During my second term, I will work with your group and local leaders to look at our priorities, our resources and continue to try and bring the NBA back to Seattle.

Statement from Dino Rossi:
October 20, 2008
Back in the spring our elected officials in Olympia, for the 4th year in a row, decided they were not interested in being proactive in keeping the Sonics in Seattle. Despite being briefed in advance, and presented with a proposal early on, they claimed they didn’t have time to adopt a “no brainer” solution. In fact they spent more time making excuses for not having time than it would have taken to give the City of Seattle permission to move ahead in negotiations… and then they went home early. This permission would have prevented the relocation approval from the NBA which in the end became the driving force for the buyout the city accepted.

As you all recall you flooded Olympia with emails and phone calls swamping the message takers and showing overwhelming support for a solution. You sent the message loud and clear that a failure this time would have repercussions.

This year is our last chance
So now we are faced with going back to Olympia in January, for the 5th year in a row, and asking that the City be given permission to route surplus tourist taxes only collected in Seattle to fill out the last $75 million of a 50/50 public/private investment to save Seattle Center from collapse and prepare Key Arena for restoring SuperSonics basketball to Seattle. With this proposal we will have our team back within 5 years or Clay Bennett will be forced to pay the city $30 million of what little he has left after his ownership group was decimated in the recent stock market crash. A failure this next legislative session will signal the end of any short term chance of restoring our team and lets Clay Bennett of the hook for this payment.
With the definition of insanity being repeating the same actions and expecting a different result we have to ask ourselves if we trust the current elected officials in Olympia to back up the statements made last spring with action?

If you do, then by all means vote for the same people who showed no consideration for the urgency of the situation, if you don’t then you should give this serious consideration when casting your votes. Save Our Sonics is committed to working with whoever is in Olympia to resolve this problem but now is our chance to make sure those we will be working with are going to be solution oriented.

Now the control is on your hands
Save Our Sonics is not a political action committee. We do not spend money advocating for or against any candidate for elected office, or endorse any candidates, but we do want our members to be well informed when they cast their votes. We have extended an invitation to both candidates for Governor to submit a statement of support to our group. To date only one has responded and that statement is included below. If we get a response from the other we will forward it to you later. We also urge you to contact the candidates for your districts Legislative seats and ask them how they will respond to this problem come January and educate your friends and family who will lead in Olympia and who should be replaced.

Statement from Dino Rossi:

I proudly stood along the parade route in 1979 when the Sonics won the championship. I never wanted the Sonics to leave Seattle. Early this year, I was asked to remain silent on the proposed Key Arena renovation offer by representatives of the group of private investors so Governor Gregoire could support it without suffering political repercussions. But when I read the headline of the Oklahoman newspaper near the end of the legislative session that read ‘Washington governor gives up: Official says there is no saving Sonics,’ I knew we had to act and I publicly supported the public-private partnership. Still, Gregoire remained silent.

Bringing NBA basketball back to Seattle will require creative thinking and courageous leadership on behalf of elected officials and basketball fans. As governor, I will actively support efforts to make this happen. What happened with the Sonics is evidence that Olympia is missing real leadership. I’m running for Governor to start making decisions and fixing problems facing our state. Professional basketball has been an important piece of our cultural fabric here in Washington, but now that piece is missing. I look forward to the day where we once again have an NBA basketball team in Seattle, and as governor I’ll work to make that happen.

Please make sure you vote!

In the end, they can fight about who has a real desire to solve the problem, and that both failed to deliver votes last legislative session.
I win either way.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker
Sent from my iPhone


dead ball foul said...

It's unfortunate that Brian released that attributing the middle five paragraphs as Dino Rossi's statement. That was actually Steven Pyeatt's statement. Only the final two paragraphs are Rossi's statement. That should've been made more clear in the release.

Mr Baker said...

Yes, that was unfortunate. I'm not going to correct it, it's not worth the time.
What is SOS now? How much pull do you think they have? They are not Saving Our Sonics. The franchise is gone. The focus has changed to the arena solution. I expect you will see SOS go away, significantly change to the arena solution, or something very soon in order to be effective in the current conversation. As was mentioned in the Tacoma News Tribune, Brian is part of a lobbying group now. Sending an email out through the SOS email list is so after the fact, not because of what they are trying to do, but for the simple fact that the team is gone.
The next version of the push for the arena without a team here should show its face very soon with the city proposing its plan on December 1st.

Isaac Alexander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Isaac Alexander said...

I don't think they've updated SOS with the new words that it stands for.
"Secure Our Sonics".