Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seattle Times: Nickels seeks tax boost for affordable housing in Seattle

On Monday I sent the governor my plea for inclusion of SB 6116 in the special session that will be called after a cooling off period, and some negotiations between interested parties.
The next day, Tuesday, the runs a story on SB 6116 not passing.

Welcome to Wednesday, and this in the Seattle Times, Nickels seeks tax boost for affordable housing in Seattle.
Naturally, the natives are restless, even revolting (in all its definitions).

So, let's cut to the chase, shall we?

Dear Mr. Mayor,
Say something to relieve these poor souls of this burden, find a way to do the right thing, the right way, in public, for once on this bill and issue (low-income housing, what did you think I was referring to?).

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Begin forwarded message:

From: Mr Baker <communicate.with.mike (at)>
Date: April 29, 2009 11:30:50 AM PDT
To: "nick.licata (at)" <nick.licata (at)>
Cc: "Sen. Murray" <Murray.Edward (at)>, "Hunter, Rep. Ross" <hunter.ross (at)>, "byoung (at)" <byoung (at)>
Subject: Nickels seeks tax boost for affordable housing in Seattle

Mr. Licata,
I have a great idea for the City of Seattle. How about the mayor and city council make a public effort to get Ed Murray's SB 6116 into the Special Session as a way to fund afordable housing for Seattle and the entire county.
This would not be subject to a city or county vote. And, raising property-tax levy right now would get crushed at the polls.


Thanks for your time,
Mike Baker
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 KeyArena bill could come back to life in special session

A cat should have as many lives, Senate Bill 6116 has had many declarations of death, all premature.
SB6116 is the bill that did not beat the end of the legislative session's schedule, and would provide funding for low-income housing, arts, and Seattle Center's KeyArena.

Read the story at

The last amendment, just before the end of the legislative session, was 6116-S AMS MURR S3250.1
(Floor Amendment 554)
. This cuts husky stadium out of the bill, though I am not sure why other sections not identified in the amendment would not stand, including low-income housing, arts, and youth athletic facilities.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I apologize to Washington State Senator Ed Murray

In an unusual twist a blogger will freely apologize.
I apologize to Washington State Senator Ed Murray for a prior story questioning whether or not he was killing his own bill.

I had been contacted by those that prefer to remain anonymous, and there were a few pointed comments that simply were not fair, not to him or me. I suggest that if somebody else has issues with Ed Murray (and you know who you are) that you contact him directly.

Back to Mr. Murray.
This is blog entry is very disappointing. This is how you treat your friends and supporters? I worked hard on this bill and got it out of committee with a bipartisan vote. I started to lose my GOP support after they where worked over by cougar fans. How disappointing.
Senator Ed Murray

All fair points, and all quite true, and we should all grasp the facts as tightly as we do our own opinions (including yours truly).

Senator Murray, let me know how I can help you move the rest of what is in the bill forward.

SB6616 had Husky stadium essentially stripped out of it with a Striker amendment to SB6116.

The questions become: does the rest of the bill come back in a special session?

Yes, I'd like KeyArena solution (as it is a little white elephant without one), but even bigger I am building a billion dollar light rail system and nobody can afford to build affordable housing. Having lived in "affordable" housing, I know what a lot of people don't know, and I hope as many others at least have that.

The arts were screwed, let's leave it at that. They could use some real support that doesn't come and go with the whims of economies and legislatures. A long term solution for King County is there in SB6116

Had the needs driven the press rather than the sensational wants we might have had a better chance, maybe not, I don't know anymore.

Back to toiling.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Ed Murray Killing his own Bill?

[editor's note, I made a mistake, and later apologized].

I am being asked by donors to the Dem Party why State Senator Ed Murray is actively killing his own bill, SB6116, beyond his own distructive amendment that he filed just a few short days ago.
The arts community, low-income housing proponents have to wonder how that helps anybody, to kill this bill.

I am at a loss for words, for them, or you. Time is very short.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 23, 2009 : Please call the state legislature!

Bills like fences are amended where they are broken. As has been mentioned everywhere, including, Senate Bill 6116 has been passed out of Rules Committee and to the Senate floor for voting.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, April 20, 2009

SB 6116 Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert!
Stop reading if you have lost all hope!

Substitute Senate Bill 6116 has been posted to the bill's home page. Language that fulfills the terms of the settlement between The City of Seattle and Clayton Bennett is located on page 11.

I have read it, I will have to read it again to see where the money really goes, and I have a spreadsheet from house bill 2252 in my coat pocket, and it is such a nice day that the pocket is in the coat, in the closet.

It looks like low-income housing and arts infrastructure is about to get tens of millions of dollars.

It also looks like Seattle only keeps Seattle generated money if a team is secured by 2013, and that there is at least $150 million in private finds, in 2008 dollars, adjusted for inflation.

This does have a chance of passing, a pretty good chance.

A week to go, and Green has been golden, Murray is a champion.

Thanks to you Margarita, and the Ways and Means Committee.

A week to go, feels like forever.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, April 18, 2009

6116 Out of Ways and Means

Voted at 5:15pm, SB6116 was passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

There is a NEW clause that by 2013 Seattle has an NBA team then they get a porting of the fund for KeyArena.

SB 6116 Added to Today's Seanate Ways and Means Committee Meeting Agenda

This is a very good sign, it is in the Executive Session for discussion, amending and/or voting in committee.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fwd: Friends and Sonics fans - last chance to help save Seattle Center and get a new team

Last chance, public pressure?

Where are the low-income housing advocates (that's you Frank Chopp) , arts advocates, and Chris Van Dyke (he supported with testimony SB6116), where is the political leadership from King County?

Have a great day,
Mr. Baker

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Adam Brown <>
Date: April 16, 2009 8:01:36 PM PDT
To: "" <>
Subject: Friends and Sonics fans - last chance to help save Seattle Center and get a new team

Friends and Sonics faithful:
I had to let you know about proposed legislation that would create jobs, fund the arts, save Seattle Center and give us a really good shot at getting a team back in the next couple years!  If the Wash. State Legislature passes Senate Bill 6116 or amends House Bill 2552 to include Seattle Center, Steve Ballmer will buy a new team (Sonics 2.0) and contribute 50% to a KeyArena remodel!  But as of right now, it doesn't look like this will pass before the April 26 deadline. 
SB6116 is a great bill for a lot of reasons besides just basketball.  Please take a couple minutes to read the following letter and, if you agree, call the Wash State Legislative Hotline at 800.562.6000 and tell them you are in favor of SB 6116.  They take your address and automatically send your message to the Governor and the legislators in your district.
Thanks!  You can doooo iiiiiiiiit!
- Adam Brown

***Sonics Faithful – One Last Shot at Getting a New Team and Saving Seattle Center!***



The fight for the Sonics in Seattle is not over yet!  We need your help to make one final push before the 2009 state legislative session ends on April 26!


The Washington State Legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 6116, which would allow King County to use existing restaurant and car rental taxes to create a dedicated funding source for the arts community, cultural centers, low income housing and regional public facilities including Seattle Center and KeyArena.


Call the State Legislative Hotline now at 800.562.6000 and tell them you support SB6116!


WE NEED YOU NOW SONICS FAITHFUL!  This is our last chance to get a new team in Seattle.  All our hard work has come down to this moment, and we must not allow our legislators to waste this opportunity.  Here are just a few of the many reasons to pass SB6116:


1.       Save Seattle Center ­­– The lower Queen Anne area has struggled in recent years, becoming an outdated shadow of the economic and cultural cornerstone it was for 40+ years.  The City of Seattle currently has no funding source in place for the unanimously approved Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, a $570 million public infrastructure project that will bring the grounds into the modern era over the next 20 years.  SB6116 would provide that funding source for much needed campus improvements without creating any new taxes or tapping the general fund.

2.       Jobs and Economic Stimulus ­– A modern, vibrant Seattle Center with additional funding for arts and cultural centers all over King County will create thousands of jobs and increase tourism from out-of-towners, providing a sorely needed infrastructure investment during this recession economy.  The bill also provides funding for low-income housing and youth recreation facilities.  Two words: JOB CREATION.

3.       Attaining Private Investment in Public Facilities – As outlined in Mayor Nickels' settlement agreement that allowed the Sonics to break their lease and leave town, the city/state must pass some form of arena legislation in 2009 to get an additional $30 million from Clay Bennett if no team comes to Seattle by 2013.  A local investment group led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promised to contribute $150 million plus cost overruns in private money toward a $300 million remodel of KeyArena and buy a new NBA team for Seattle!  If the state approves SB6116, the entire region benefits by getting a massive public works project for only 25% of the full cost, with 50% from Ballmer and the final 25% coming from a ticket tax on KeyArena events.

4.       Small Investment, Big Payoff – According to the KeyArena Subcommittee Report, "KeyArena will need capital investments of at least $20 million to remain competitive even without the Sonics."  If you spend $50 in a bar, the current tax is only $0.25 on your bill; a quarter that you probably don't even notice!  These "tourism taxes" are already in place, and it will be a lot more difficult to pass a new tax later.  So when you factor in the $30 million from Bennett or the $150 million from Ballmer, the benefits of passing SB6116 and the relatively tiny cost make it a no-brainer!

5.       Bring Back the Sonics – It has been a cold, dreary winter without our team, but as many as 10 NBA teams are currently for sale.  If SB6116 passes, there is an extremely good chance that Steve Ballmer will bring Sonics 2.0 back to Seattle within a year or two! 

Call the Legislative Hotline now at 800.562.6000 and tell them to pass SB6116!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

20 days to go on Monday

On Monday the Washington State Legislature will land on day 85 of the session, with 20 to go, and no plans for going beyond. The budget bills, as well as the appropriations bill have had hearings in the various committees. They next move into some hardcore deal making and amending, with the product possibly being a vote of the people later in the year to ask for two billion dollars for "green" school remodeling, it's the right thing to do and it would generate jobs, they say.

As the focus of the budget shifts to this refinement period, I found myself this morning tapping out an email on my phone to Senator Ed Murray to ask him to not forget, and ask him if there is anything I can do. Last week I had an email come my way from the very busy Ross Hunter, and through the exchange with Hunter he said he would "work with Ed".
So, Ed, what shall we do with Ross' HB 2252 and your SB 6116?
How can I help you?

While that email washes around in the sea of late session emails to legislators, I likely will find myself tapping out a few more, to a few others, asking to help. I know I am in no position to help, other than to remind everybody that I know what time it is, that being now.

Luck has nothing to do with it, it's all effort, but good luck anyway Ed.