Saturday, August 30, 2008

Enough! Back to the arena.

What is supposed to be coming up in September is another meeting of the state task force.

Back on August 18, Eric D. Williams posted on the Tacoma News Tribune, With Sonics gone, KeyArena looks to future (in my link list).

TASK FORCE STUDIES ARENA’S FATE

The City of Seattle is working with a task force created by the Legislature, co-chaired by Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, and Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way. The seven-member group is charged with evaluating the options for using King County taxes, some of which are being used to pay off debt on Safeco Field, Qwest Field and the demolished Kingdome.

Though none of the money is from state taxes, the Legislature must authorize the county or city to use the money for anything other than what was originally intended. And the Sonics aren’t the only ones in line – the University of Washington, looking for financial help on a stadium renovation of its own, along with local arts groups and organizations involved with low-income housing and Puget Sound cleanup also want their share.

The task force will meet at least two more times to listen to presentations from groups seeking money before making recommendations to state lawmakers late this year.

“What I would love to see is some kind of consensus of, here is what we should do with this,” Hunter said. “I don’t know if we’ll get there. Every person has a different interest. But my personal interest is letting people make decisions on their revenue.”

Alex Fryer, a spokesperson in Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ office, said Nickels is asking the Legislature to consider restoring the city’s ability to raise money through the hotel-motel tax that funds the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

The tax rate in Seattle is 7 percent, but Fryer said about 6 percent is needed to pay off the remaining bonds. So the city is asking the Legislature to reduce the Convention Center tax to 6 percent and restore the remaining authority for the city to extend 1 percent of that tax as part of its overall finance package to remodel KeyArena.

Fryer said the tax would apply only to hotels and motels inside the Seattle city limits. That change could potentially make the proposal more politically palatable.

“We believe our chances are good next year,” Fryer said. “We hope the Legislature values professional basketball as a cultural benefit, an economic engine and a regional attraction. We have a good deal with the Professional Basketball Club and a good venue with KeyArena. We need state action, and we hope to make a strong case.”

Lawmakers last session considered several proposals for financing a $300 million KeyArena remodel, but none of them gained enough steam to merit a vote.

The task force had an information gathering meeting in July and will meet again in September.

Brian Robinson, co-founder of Save Our Sonics, a grass-roots organization that worked to keep the team in Seattle, is involved in a coalition of sports-related and business groups interested in seeing KeyArena remodeled. He said Save Our Sonics plan to hire a lobbyist to help with the city’s effort during the 2009 session of the Legislature.

“I think the city understands that having gone there four years straight with the same approach that they have to try some new things,” Robinson said. “And I think the city will change their approach, and hopefully they change it in a positive manner.”

Robinson said he’d like to see the city use some of the $45 million it received in the settlement to bring another professional basketball team back to Seattle.

“They took $45 million toward the city general fund in exchange for our team,” Robinson said. “And from the perspective of a sports fan, I don’t think it’s unrealistic that some of that money is dedicated to an effort to secure a new team.

“They have to put their money where their mouth is. They promised a strong effort toward pursuing a new team, and so far they are. But we’re going to watch them very closely.”


This is really the hard part, convincing people that should not be involved to not get in the way.

BALMER’S GROUP COMMITTED

The private investment group headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer still is interested in working to bring professional basketball back to Seattle, said Matt Griffin, a spokesperson for the group.

Griffin said his group has had conversations with the city to make sure it is taking the lead on the initiative to secure state funding to remodel KeyArena. The private investment group, which includes Ballmer; Griffin, a Seattle developer; wireless magnate John Stanton; and Costco CEO Jim Sinegal offered to put $150 million toward a KeyArena remodel, along with pursuing the purchase of an NBA franchise. The city has offered to pitch in $75 million, and now needs $75 million in state-authorized local taxes to complete financing for the deal.

Griffin said he became involved in the project because of his concern about what would happen to KeyArena, the cornerstone of the Seattle Center, without a prime NBA tenant. Griffin said he thinks the KeyArena remodel is a viable option for an NBA team, and doesn’t see his group getting involved in a privately financed arena.

“I personally worry about KeyArena,” Griffin said. “And we want to solve that problem at the same time.”

Griffin said he hasn’t heard anything from the NBA about the availability of a franchise

“It’s (a) hard discussion to have when you don’t have an arena for them to play in,” Griffin said. “We will go and make an effort. We are clearly committed to the process, but it still takes a willing seller of a franchise.”


That's really where we are at with Key Arena. There is a willing buyer for an NBA team . That buyer is willing to pay $150 million dollars to remodel the parts of Key Arena that effect the NBA.
The City has committed to user the sports generated revenue t pay for its' 75 million dollar portion.
The city is working with the state to direct locally collected funds that are currently used for the Washington Convention Center in Seattle, to the Key Arena remodel in Seattle.

July 16, 2008 there was a state task force meeting:

Local Financing Options for King County, Joint Task Force* - 07/16/08 9:00 am
Full Committee

House Hearing Rm C
John L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA

REVISED 7/15/2008 9:56 AM

Agenda:

1. Task Force administration - selection of Chair, discussion of Task Force goals and meeting schedule.
2. Overview of stadium related revenues in King County including: history, scheduled uses of revenue, and bond repayment timing, and including the current 7%/2.8% hotel-motel tax levied within the City of Seattle / King County dedicated to the State Convention Center.
3. Review of 2008 Legislation: SB 6638 - Reallocating existing lodging taxes for heritage and arts programs in a county with a population of one million or more.

~

Let's go further back to July, 3, 2008

"Comment from Sen. Ed Murray and Rep. Ross Hunter on Sonics settlement
Posted by Niki Sullivan @ 11:56:39 am" [Tacoma News Tribune]


Here's what Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has to say about the Sonics settlement. Murray, a member of the task force to meet this summer on King County local taxes, said he hasn't read the settlement but has been briefed.

"My concern is that some of the sources we're looking at give me puase. An example would be the convention center and some of the funding that would come out of the money that we're getting out of the convention center... I think we need to look at renovating and expanding the convention center before we talk about diverting that money into KeyArena."

He said the Legislature wasn't involved in the deal-making. "That wouldn't be appropriate."

"We have time now to look at our options through this task force. Again, I think we need to be very cautious about where we get the money so that we don't hurt other needed projects or tax sources."

"I'm not saying we won't act, but I think we need to be deliberative. We have time ... using public money for the use of sports facilities is very controversial and I think we need to be very careful."

On whether the less-than-optimistic revenue forecasts have any effect on this, he said, "It's certainly something we have to take into consideration."

Update 2:37 p.m.: I just talked to Rep. Ross Hunter, who's also on the task force. Here's what he had to say after reading the settlement:

"It's very vague and it's intended to be vague," he said. "They want the state to take some action that makes $75 million available to this. Obviously we could just give them $75 million, which is unlikely – heavily unlikely. Or we could allow the city to shift funds from one account to another."

That fund-shifting is in reference to a pool of unused money from the Seattle hotel-motel tax that pays for the convention center. While Murray didn't seem hot on the idea, Hunter described it as excess money that could be used without affecting the convention center's future.

"If it's in Seattle's best interest to remodel KeyArena and attract a professional basketball tenant, that would be a reasonable basis."

He said projected budget shortfalls and decreasing revenue forecasts could have an effect on the political wrangling. "We have a number of things that are more important than dealing with this problem."

He said he's a skeptic on the idea of subsidizing sports teams. "It's just not attractive to me. I don't think that's what we're doing here."

"If the basis is, we want to spend taxpayer dollars to subsidize players' salaries, then no."

It should be noted that neither House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, nor Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, are willing to talk today. (Brown did issue a statement yesterday, though.)

Sonics basketball will return! » Blog Archive » Schultz Drops Lawsuit

Xteve at SonicsCentral.com sticks a fork in the return of the Sonics franchise that was sold by Howard Schultz to the liar Clay Bennett.

http://sonicscentral.com/blog/?p=2078


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Percy Allen: Howard Schultz drops Sonics suit

Steve Pyeatt, of Save Our Sonics, does not know why Howard Schultz decided to pull the plug on his court case on Friday. Percy Allen, from the Seattle Times, writes the end of the Schultz story in today's newspaper.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sonics/2008147943_schultz30.html
I can only account for my actions, or inaction. Others that keep silent become targets of speculation, even Howard Schultz, even by Steve Pyeatt.
The irony there is the tight-lipped nature of Save Or Sonics, and how
Pyeatt takes a shot at Schultz, even though he has not had a chance to talk to Schultz's lawyers. I read Pyeatt's quotes in the Seattle Times, and not at
SaveOurSonics.org, and not at SonicsCentral.com
Something like this Schultz announcement happens and there isn't a word from SOS on there sites. What should we make of that?
Through a lack of communication SOS may be reduced to two guys, and their secrets. That's not much lobbying power.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, August 29, 2008

Schultz drops lawsuit seeking return of Sonics

As reported by Greg Johns in the Seattle PI, Howard Schultz has dropped his case against Clay Bennett. Schultz cited the judge's decision to not allow the case to be split as making the litigation less likely to be successful. Schultz also said that his case might hurt the chances of the NBA returning to Seattle sooner.
Brian Robinson is off the hook.
Let's move on to an arena solution. Maybe Howard Schultz would like to help with that in some way. He did, after all, sell the team to the liar Clay Bennett.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/377089_schultz30.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

"Brian may be heavily involved, possibly as a minority owner."

As re-reported in Hoopsworld, by Steve Kyler, Brian Robinson was "served a standard Subpoena during the course of my business day".

The rumor at the end of the story in interesting.
There is a back story to Brian's involvement in this issue. When Brian left HOOPSWORLD he was heavily involved in Clay Bennett's push to get a new arena, often dropping us notes and e-mails giving us the very latest from inside Clay's inner circle. When Clay decided to end pursuit of an arena and possible relocation, Brian changed from supporter to activist and founded Save Our Sonics and led a very public push to keep the team in Seattle. Sources close to the situation believe if Seattle is awarded a new NBA franchise at some point in the future, Brian may be heavily involved, possibly as a minority owner.
Hoopsworld


If Brian Robinson was getting sued because of SonicCentral.com, it would not be because of anything Brian has written. Brian has been pretty careful about what he has said online, much the the dismay of many of his readers.

What he hasn't said publicly, that is documented, may become part of the public record. The nature of his involvement, and his relationships with the Sonics, does not protect him from having to submit. It might not matter anyway, Brian Robinson is not the first parson, and absolutely not the last person, Clay Bennett allegedly lied to and used in order to commit his alleged fraud. It's enough to make a guy angry.

Telling lies is not against the law, doing it to induce somebody to act when they might not otherwise, for Bennett's material gain is called a fraud by Howard Schultz.

Mr. Robinson's relationships with both the Schultz and Bennett ownership groups may be a double-edged sword.

We shall see.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sonics Editorial, Opinion and Sarcasm: 50 Feet from the Sun

Today, Brian Robinson of Save Our Sonics, and SonicsCentral.com, said that he had been served court papers inviting him to testify and turn over any meaningful documents in connection to Howard Schultz's case against Clayton Bennett. This should make for some interesting reading, but I am not sure how having Robinson provide facts that show he was lied to by Bennett can help Bennett's case.

Read Brian's song at SonicsCentral.com

This event reminded me of a story I had written just over a year ago.

http://theseattlesupersonics.blogspot.com/2007/08/50-feet-from-sun.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brian Robinson asks: Do we give a crap?

The poll.

Yes, about the NBA

5 (10%)

Yes, about the OKC Thunder

3 (6%)

Yes, about getting a team here

14 (30%)

No, it's dead to me, but here I am

2 (4%)

No, not until another team shows up

8 (17%)

No, not unless Schultz can bring the old franchise back

11 (23%)

No, bring on FIBA USA

2 (4%)

Yes, just about Delonte West

1 (2%)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seattle Center gets overhaul approved

The Seattle City Council approved the Seattle Center Master Plan
yesterday. The overhaul of the 74 acre site is home to Key Arena. The
arena's plan can be added as a supplement to the Master Plan.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/375502_council19.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Flushed away by the city: $4,987,500

I'll guess that going into this bathroom adventure the cost was not
questioned because pro sports teams were not involved; and a return on
investment equal to a Treasury Bill was not demanded because pro
sports teams were not involved; and that the Seattle City Council
appoved of the flushing away of tax payer money even though the
subject did not poll well.
The Seattle City Council does not represent me, I'm sure they have
their reasons.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/375206_toilets16.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 10, 2008

USA Basketball: Rules, Rule!

Over the past few years the NBA has made rule changes to effect the game, to add movement, reduce contact of offensive players, and make defense something defined by having possession of the basketball or not.

I prefer the international floor, the key in particular. The NBA has that half-circle the NBA has is supposed to keep defenders from diving under players driving to the basket. The international floor does not need anything like that because the width of the key at the baseline is 19-feet wide. The NBA key is 16-feet wide. Making defenders take an extra step from outside the key to defend the basket opens up that driving lane without that need for referees making split-second calls on a defender's feet inside or outside that half-circle. Change the shape of the NBA key to the international key, get rid of the half-circle.

I also prefer the hands defense of the international game.
I prefer the contact that is allowed in the international game, the body surfing in the NBA is pathetic.
I prefer the goal tending rule of the NBA, the length of quarters.
I prefer the talent level in the NBA.

I just watched USA v. China in the Olympic Games. Watching Team USA defend the point guards bringing the ball up was great to watch. Wade stripped his man with the ball and had a break away dunk. That same contact that allowed for the strip would have cost Wade a foul in the NBA. Isn't that Fantastic!
The rules that allowed Gary Payton to be the NBA defensive player of the year 12 years ago do not exist today, and the NBA is not better for the change.
Combine those things and that is what I would prefer to watch and play.
http://www.usabasketball.com/rules/rules.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Only seven employees have currently relocated to Oklahoma."

Friday, Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reported that September 30 is the cloosing day of the Sonics Seattle offices, not all of the employees have decided to relocate yet. (read the story here)
Meanwhile PBC filed paperwork to close its Seattle site and move its front-office employees to Oklahoma City. According to the form filed by PBC, 117 workers will be affected on the Sept. 30 termination date.

A team spokesman said the filing is just a "formality" and that many employees are still determining whether to move to Oklahoma City. Only seven employees have currently relocated to Oklahoma.


My advice to those that go to Oklahoma City. . . rent.
We will want you back very soon.

Brian Robinson, Jordan Brower, Greg Johns, Mayor Greg Nickels

Quoted below, in its entirety, is a statement by Brian Robinson from Save Our Sonics to the readers of SonicsCentral.com

I am posting the statement here since there are currently some stability issues with SonicsCentral.com web site.

Mr. Robinson's statement is in response to quotes by Jordan Brower to Seattle PI reporter Greg Johns about Brower's effort to gather signatures in an attempt to stop the settlement between the City of seattle and PBC (Clay Bennett). At best the result of the petition to have a vote against the authorization for the agreement.

The net benefit of Brower’s action would be another lawsuit that might return that franchise, with its current owner, for one year. The effort would sidetrack efforts to get an arena solution, delaying or killing a long term solution.

Look up Brower and call him, caution, he may demand $100,000 from you.

The completion of the settlement was postponed until after the signature gathering deadline of August 15th. The settlement was supposed to complete by August 6th, but has been moved to August 25th.Read the Seattle PI story here on the delay, and Jordan Brower's comments on his view of Save Our Sonics.

Jordan Brower's comments from the Seattle PI August 6, 2008:
However, Brower said Wednesday he was stunned that he received no support from the Save Our Sonics organization concerning such a petition and expects the issue to die without financial and political backing from that group.

Save Our Sonics leaders prefer to work with Mayor Greg Nickels and his efforts to pursue KeyArena financing in the Legislature.

"They don't want to upset the apple cart," Brower said. "I think they're misguided. My whole point was to give Sonics fans a voice. But unless they want to kick in and do the rest, I'm not going to make the numbers."


Statement made on August 9, 2008, by Brian Robinson from Save Our Sonics to the readers of SonicsCentral.com in response to Jordan Brower.

Jordan Brower and Eaten Threads

For starters I did not deleat any threads relating to this issue. I moved into a new house this week and I’m busy. Our site is falling apart. If you have wordpress experience I’d sure appreciate some help.

Secondly I have no comprehension why Greg Johns did not call me for commentary when he talks about me and my efforts. I don’t understand why he did that because I have a good relationship with Greg. He’s going to be writing a followup on this piece.

So Gregs article basically had Jordan Brower taking a shot at me, and stated that our plan is to work with the Mayor because we’re scared to be confrontational. What a bunch of crap.

When we first got wind of Jordan Brower we were obviously highly interested. Its an unusual turn even by the standards of this situation which has had a lot of unusual turns. We spoke with him immediately on the phone, met with him in person on multiple occasions, and floated his idea to multiple legal experts.

The initial concerns about Brower centered around his motivations. The guy claims he wants sports fans to have a voice and to save the team but he’s an on the record anti-arena advocate. When Key Arena was built he testified alongside Chris VanDyk, lobbied against the arena, and had a series of litigation designed to stop the construction. People who interacted with him at that time advised that we should simply keep our distance as his primary role has always been simply to cause chaos and rock the boat. I cannot help but speculate that he likes to get in the paper as well since he’s already taken his little show out to multiple press releases.

When we met with Brower we had two primary questions. Why are you doing this? and How will this help us get our team back?

The answer to the first question is somewhat muddled. He states he is doing this as an advocate of transperant government and as a reaction to Greg Nickels selling people out. My perception is that he remains bitter over some conflict with the Ackerley family, Bank of America, and the local government who set up Key Arena. He seems to feel that he can tie these 13 year old injustices to our cause by claiming that legislature is deeply concerned about this old corruption and that this is the reason they will not fund a new arena for our current mayor. It is a stretch. Brower has a history of litigation against the Ackerleys and it goes so far that there are claims of stalking by Chris Ackerley and some type of physical confrontation which was settled out of court in a sealed agreement. As near as I can tell Brower got Chris to take a shot at him and got paid for taking the hit. This guy has some interesting history and I have been advised to stay away from him. Despite those warnings and his apperent eccentricity we met with him twice, spoke with him omore htan that to see if this option was legitimate in any way.

I felt that there were key misrepresentations made by Brower that I preferrer to keep silent. In response to Greg Johns’ article however I have some obligation to bring some of them to light. As an example Brower told us that he had briefed the governors staff on this issue and that they were highly interested in the scandal. He felt that they may take some action. Upon checking up it turned out that he had simply mailed a letter to the Governors office and to the best of my knowledge gotten no reply. He made similar contentions regarding the council that had similar outcomes.

When it comes to bringing the team back we felt that this option had no legs. There are very serious legal and contractual issues that make it virtually impossible to get them back in this manner. Prior to the team leaving we had “posession’ of the team in our region and they were not allowed to move pending the resolution of litigation. We have to remember that the court case was solely about specific performance of the lease as opposed to Bennett making a cash payment. The contract could be enforced specifically at the sole discretion of the Mayor. The agreement made by the Mayor dismissed the court case with Judge Pechman and resolved that the city would waive specific performance in exchange for cash considerations.

Browers plan had tremendous downside. It is hard to gather signatures and win a vote even if you have some allies on your side. To do so when every party including the mayor, the governor, the league, and the team ownership would go on record that a public vote is completely irrelevant would make it hard to pass. In a worst case scenario it would fail to get signatures or pass the vote and all parties would claim this as further proof that the city did not support basketball.

In a best case scenario, after spending $100K that Brower demanded from SOS the councils ruling would be unwound. The team however would still be located in OKC. At that point the city would have a choice to file suit to bring them back. The team would argue that they have already moved and that it is an undue burden and ask the court for an equitable(cash) solution. Since the city had already accepted cash the argument against a cash value would be significantly lessened. Meanwhile the team would be playing in OKC, the court case could take a year, leaving only 1 year remaining on the lease, and nobody would be working on an arena. The cash could be significantly less than we have now and the $30M additional payment and agreement between Stern and Balmer would all go away.

I continue to say, and believe unequivically that a building is ultimately the problem and any solution that does not include a building is a waste of time. Right now, despite how we all feel about the Mayor he is the one leading a charge for a new building. Having Jordan Brower lead us against the powers that be simply to rile things up and get in the paper seems counterproductive.

The article also implies that I’m content to work with the city and the context of that implication is pretty inaccurate. Here is the deal: I am taking the same approach to the city that I did Clay Bennett. I have told them bluntly that we’ll work with them honestly at first but that if we ever get the sense that they are just going through the motions we will turn on them and that the months we spent closely involved will add a lot of credibility to our complaints. Understanding Bennett and having given him the benefit of the doubt legitimized us in many ways when we actually went on the attack. The same could happen with our local government. I hope that it never comes to that.

Right now Greg Nickels is the guy who sold our team and lost the NBA for this city. He will have that title until he resolves the problem and I don’t intend to forget it or be particularly kind to him. I want to be supportive not of him, but of the Ballmer ownership group who really are our last hope. Remember if you spurn the Mayor you spurn them. We can try to work with Nickels but to do so as a driving force to get him to do more, not as a decoy that he can hide behind. Believe what you want but the conversations have been confrontational enough that they know were we stand. We are making demands of them, not the other way around.

Over the last couple of weeks there have been multiple meetings involving a good chunk of the community. I have made some mistakes in keeping the work too “in house” and trying to do everything myself. That hurt bad when, over the last 10 days, I got busy with a move and some real business and communication just ended. I need to work more closely with my SOS cohorts and get a bigger team involved. Look for some news later this week.

Hope you’re all well. I am about 80% moved into the new place, love having a swimming pool, and getting ready for the big party next week.


Initial statement, here is an additional comment:
# Brian Robinson Says:
August 9th, 2008 at 10:59 am

I was at a fundraising event with the Mayor two weeks ago and former Mayor Charlie Royer introduced himself and said that “I was the mayor the year the Sonics won the championship. What a great thing that was for the city.”

I replied “Thats a better legacy than Greg has right now.” and Royer immediately picked up on it and called Nickels over to rib him about that.

Nickels does not want to be the guy who sold the NBA. Whether his reasoning for that is because he wants political coverage, because its the right thing to do, or because he legitimately wants basketball back is not the most relevant question. We need to figure out what steps he’s taking to pass that buck to the Governor and Legislature, and push him to do so in a really legitimate and serious way. Then we need to move up the ladder and insist that the governor and legislature take the same steps.

I have a ton of skepticism of anyone in government. You can’t trust any of them but you have to work with all of them. A lot of energy can be spent trying to determine their motivations and how to make the most of those motivations.

And this:

Brian Robinson Says:
August 9th, 2008 at 11:52 am

He [Mayor Nickels] states that it was the best he could do. He felt that if he pressed the lawsuit that the league and Bennett would offer some compromise. They never did. They never even got close. They continued to re-itterate that it would be 2 and through if he won and he grew to believe that was the case. He states that he believes that given the options this settlement gave us our best odds of long term basketball. He didn’t like the options we had but he worked with it.


I understand Robinson's position, it is pragmatic.

The problem I have is not with Robinson, but with Nickels, and Christine Gregiore, and Ron Sims, and everybody else the believed Clay Bennett and David Stern when they told the politicos that if Seattle went through with the court case that the NBA would wait out the two years of the lease, leave, and not return. Why believe those two, Stern and Bennett, now?
My guess is that nobody has actually believed that the 13th largest media market, with an arena solution, with Steve Ballmer willing to buy a team, would never get another NBA team. I think they used the lies for political cover to end a no-win situation that would require political leadership from people that act only on sure things.
The sure thing right now is that Greg Nickels is grasping for revenue streams, like chairing the Sound Transit board, like Nickels wanting to dedicate the hotel/motel/car rental tax collect in Seattle to the entire Seattle Center remodel.
Quite frankly, Nickels does not have a viaduct solution, an urban mass transit solution, or a solution for a 74 acre Seattle Center site that is in decay.
What does he put on his campaign literature? Plastic bag tax? Sculpture Park? Losing the NBA to Oklahoma City?

I will agree with Robinson that the fastest way to get an arena solution and the NBA back in Seattle is to just move on from the Bennett situation, and focus on getting the arena funded on the state side.

In a parallel universe Howard Schultz is about to apply a lot of pressure on David Stern and Clay Bennett to deliver a team to an ready arena, a willing buyer, and a publicly willing NBA, to the Seattle market.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Schultz Lawyer Answers PBC's Statement on Spilitting the Trial in Two

As reported by Greg Johns, of the Seattle PI (the reporter that's actually working on the story), Schultz's lawyer has provided a response to the PBC's issues with splitting the trial in to two parts; the harm, then the remedy.
PBC does not want two trials because they have "anxiety" over the fraud charges.
Hmmm, wonder why?
PBC needs the case to be a rushed, jumbled, complex, mess. They need the case to be iconic, both sides do, iconic of the vision of the result of the actual result of the case.
Sideshow Brad Keller needs the judge to grow tired of the circus and give up on the idea of justice.
The most excellent Richard Yarmuth needs the fraud to be exposed on its own, that ensures that some kind of remedy is required. Another chance to explain the facts are different than they are for Clay.
Good luck with that, fat head.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/374114_trial08.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deadline extended in Sonics accord

They are not quite dead yet. Deadline has been extended between the city and Bennett to after signatures must be turned in for a citizen's referendum. The shocking truth: free help has a will of its own. We need an arena solution no matter what.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/373924_trial07.html


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Local Idiot To Post Comment On Internet | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Get ready for Friday.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/local_idiot_to_post_comment_on


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

my hands are clean

Judge Pechman said, before the City of Seattle's case against Clay Bennett, that she did not want "mud wrestling". It appears to me that Bennett is attempting to sling as much mud as possible in order to influence the judge's decision on splitting the case in to two parts.
Bennett's lawyer will make it a circus no matter what she decides. She might as well go with the facts presented in the motions, because Sideshow Brad is revving up the big red nose and seltzer bottle.

Read Greg John's story in the Seattle PI:
The PBC attorneys say Bennett and his franchise are moving full speed ahead with new contracts and situations in a new city and deserve to have the legal questions put to rest as quickly as possible.

But Yarmuth said there is valid reasoning behind his client's pace of pursuing the litigation.

"This is a difficult lawsuit," Yarmuth told the Seattle P-I. "It's not the kind of thing that can be presented based on somebody else's schedule. Hurrying up and doing it quickly and losing is not a good strategy."

It's also worth noting that Schultz is seeking a first phase in May that would answer the question of whether fraud was committed. The PBC has requested one all-inclusive trial in July. So Schultz's schedule actually would produce a quicker conclusion, unless the Starbucks chairman wins and the second trial played out later in 2009.

Among the arguments raised by the PBC's motion are that it will be too difficult to unwind the team's relocation once it becomes entrenched, which Yarmuth counters by noting the New Orleans Hornets played two years at the Ford Center following Hurricane Katrina before being moved back to New Orleans.

"The idea that the team can't play in Oklahoma City for one or two years is incorrect because the Hornets did just that," Yarmuth said. "Oklahoma City can do the same thing now."


Somebody is not satisfied with the settlement the City of Seattle agreed to with Bennett's PBC.
Go Howard!

The polls have closed on 3 items, Seattle Center; the Team; your Vote

A plan for Seattle Center made before the election:

will influence my vote.

44 (59%)

may influence my vote.

17 (22%)

may not influence my vote.

2 (2%)

will not influence my vote.

11 (14%)



Votes so far: 74
Poll closed

In Seattle 20 thousand people in winter stay dry;
in an expanded, rebuilt, Key Arena.

131 (67%)

in a private arena on private land.

35 (17%)

In a new public/private building.

36 (18%)

by passing out 20 thousand umbrellas.

26 (13%)



Votes so far: 195
Poll closed

The team I can live with in the future is (you could pick more than 1)
Return the Sonics

178 (76%)

Expansion team

119 (50%)

The Griz (back to the NW)

98 (41%)

The Hornets

66 (28%)

The Bobcats

38 (16%)

None, I'm done

28 (11%)

Whatever Steve Ballmer buys.

104 (44%)



Votes so far: 234
Poll closed

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Shout Out to Jerry Brewer "No hero, but Schultz sticks with Sonics fight"

What I am shouting is SCREW YOU!
Cynical Jerry Brewer ignored the points along the way, that Brewer cites, where Howard Schultz did not live down to Mr Brewer's negative hopes to arrive at... more negative hopes expressed by Mr Brewer. In order for Brewer to be right about his negative projections of Mr Schultz motivations and outcomes Mr Schultz will have to fail in his current effort. Mr Brewer admits that he has yet to be correct in his characterizations of the efforts Mr Schultz and his current lawsuit. Still, Jerry Brewer beats the drum of doom. This effort may not bring the team back from Oklahoma City, even though the Hornets moved there for two years and then left, regardless, at least recognize Mr Schultz is worthy of forgiveness. But then, you would have to admit you are wrong in all the motivations you have made up and projected on Mr Schultz. You don't know shit, neither do I, but one of us is capable of forgiveness, and it ain't you.

Jerry Brewer of The Seattle Times fails to find forgiveness on Sunday morning.


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ordinance 122736 terminating the Sonics lease: City Council voted on 7/1408, Mayor Nickels signed 7/17/08

The letter of agreement from 7/2/08 is attached to the linked page. I do not know what final form it took as of the closing date yesterday.

122736 posted here!


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Seattle City Council - Parks and Seattle Center Committe

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008, the Parks & Seattle Center Committee will meet at 9:30 am. On the agenda is item #4 RES. 31071 Adopting the Seattle Center Century 21 Master PlanDISCUSSION & POSSIBLE VOTE
Here is link to the Seattle Center Master Plan, caution, big pdf file. The one I have linked is from March.

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL
PARKS and SEATTLE CENTER COMMITTEE
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
9:30 a.m.

Note: Public Comment is limited to issues on the meeting agenda
Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held in Council Chambers on the
2nd floor of City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, Washington

RECOMMENDED
ACTION

1. Chair’s Report REPORT
2. Public Comment
3. Monthly Director’s Report
Presenter: Robert Nellams, Director, Seattle Center
(20 minutes) REPORT

4. RES. 31071 Adopting the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan.
Presenters: Robert Nellams, Director, Seattle Center; Christa Valles and
Sara Belz, Council Central Staff
(20 minutes) DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE VOTE


5. RES. Relating to the Department of Parks and Recreation, Aquarium
Program; establishing principles to guide the development of an
agreement between The City of Seattle and the Seattle Aquarium
Society for the Society’s long-term lease, management and
operation of the Seattle Aquarium; including the possible transition
of City employees at the Seattle Aquarium to Society employment.
Presenters: John Braden, Director, Seattle Aquarium; Robert Davidson,
CEO, Seattle Aquarium Society; Kieu-Anh King, Council Central Staff
(25 minutes) DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE VOTE

6. Monthly Superintendent’s Report
Presenter: Tim Gallagher, Superintendent, Department of Parks and
Recreation
(20 minutes) REPORT

Link to Seattle City Council's Parks and Seattle Center sub-committee is here:Parks & Seattle Center Committee
They meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesday's of each month, 9:30 am.


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, August 1, 2008

SeattlePI: Stern denies threatening Schultz over lawsuit

As reported by Greg Johns, of the Seattle PI, David Stern formally denied that he did not threaten Howard Schultz. He did admit that he said what Mr Schultz claimed he said, including the part about the added expense of the lawsuit, but denied he threatened Schultz.

Perception is reality Stern.

The NBA answered Schultz's motion to deny the NBA the right to join, or limit the NBA's involvement to the potential remedy proposed by Schultz, that is to transfer the team to an honest owner. The NBA insists on being part of the liability phase of the case because the PBC could not fully represent the NBA's interest as a signing party of the Reception signing paper transfering ownership. That is like having an escrow company join in a lawsuit over the sale of a property to protect the integrity of its Notary stamp. The claim and liability rests on the fraud to induce the signing and sale.

It is telling that the NBA makes no claims on behalf of PBC as to the honesty, or contest that Bennett committed fraud. Their interest in the first part is pretty thin, and ignores the nature of the claim, Bennett lied in order to get the sale to happen.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/ Greg John's story here.


Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone