Wednesday, March 4, 2009 Medina Rep to the Rescue

KeyArena is not quite dead in the state legislature. In a story about state representative Ross Hunter possibly running for the King County Executive position vacated by Washington D.C. bound Ron Sims reporter Laura Onstot mentions that there is a placeholder bill in the legislature that might be used to address local funding for a KeyArena remodel.

As noted below, the bill is an empty vessel, with a title that says nothing about the intent of the bill. Welcome to Washington State, where if there is a door, it is closed and people are behind it negotiating a deal.

Hunter has also been going to bat for the city. He currently co-chairs a legislative task force to determine possibilities for remodeling KeyArena in the hopes of attracting a new NBA team. Hunter says he won't use state money for the project, but did offer to craft a bill that would allow Seattle to levy a city-wide tax to pay for the project. The city declined, but the deal isn't entirely dead. Hunter has kept a bill sponsored by Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) alive in his finance committee. The bill itself contains only a name—the visitor destination campus act of 2009—but keeps the issue on the table in Olympia if the city manages to come up with a plan to finance a remodel that doesn't involve using state money, Hunter says.
Medina Rep to the Rescue, by Laura Onstot.

Here is a placeholder bill HB2281's legislative home
Relating to the visitor destination campus act of 2009.
[edited 6:02 pm] As mentioned at, SB6116 dropped today. Unlike the house bill that acted as a placeholder, SB6116 has full text, including new section 6 to the legislation that actually has the word "arenas" in it.
Thank you state senator Ed Murray.

On the House side you have Ross Hunter writing these bills trying to solve these issues, on the Senate side we have Ed Murray. We are lucky to have both.

This bill, I hope, will address the entire 74 acre Seattle Center site. With 53 days left in the legislative session there is enough time for this bill to die and live again, and again, and again.

Meanwhile over at Brian Robinson is asking people to give a call to the legislative hotline to encourage state lawmakers to consider supporting a solution to KeyArena before the end of the session.
Legislative Hotline: 800-562-6000

There are $30 million dollars on the line from Clay Bennett, or a remodeled KeyArena with an NBA team. If the legislature acts then either option is possible. If they do not act it will be a very long time before another solution comes along.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for staying on top of this stuff and giving an informed and educated slant on this on-going issue. Like I said before, somewhere along the line logic has to prevail. Whether it's out of spite, self-interest, or for the common good. The parties involved should be motivated to get that $30 million from Clay Clay and his boys. Let's get 'em.

dead ball foul said...

So Hunter's plan for City to come up with their own tax (which the City flaty rejected) is still alive... so what?

Mr Baker said...

that depends, if he say take a tax you have and use it then your are right, and Clay is off the hook.
If the state authorized the city to collect the restaurant tax just in Seattle (for example, I do not know) and use that, extending the end date and purpose of the state authorization to Seattle Center, then the city is collecting its own newly authorized tax, splitting it off of the county stadium tax, then the state did provide something, clay is on the hook.
I do not know what source they would use.

To a much finer point, the empty bill was referred to the Rules Committee. That is the legislative leadership, including Frank Chop. If this bill comes out of the committee then it most likely has been agreed to by Chopp, and everybody else that has power to stop it. Had it not gotten to Rules the issue would have been all but dead.
This is very much alive, but I did not want to spread too much sunshine on the SC downer-fest.

Anonymous said...

Good idea, I wasn't done pointing fingers yet. Don't forget future Mayoral candidate Nick Licata. Because according to him the Sonics, (and pretty much all sports) provide no cultural value to the city and its citizens. His approval ratings are currently higher than hizzoner.

Mr Baker said...

but wait, there's more, how much political support would Ross get from Nickels and the media if Ross was seen as the guy that killed a chance to take $30 mil from Clay, and the absolute death of KeyArena in a county he wants to be executive in?
Saying yes or no is one thing, not understanding the question is another. If he thought his prior solution would have let the state off the hook but left Clay on the hook then he would be fine. But he was just wrong in his understanding. He has a lot on his plate, to be fair, but there was this task force ...
Anyway, he can look like a hero in saving Seattle Center and arrive in the executive position in time to gain political mana from things being resolved.
If this does not work then he can throw Frank Chopp under the bus.