Please note this article represents my personal opinion and endorsement and is not intended to imply a position of the site or its other writers.
I understand that some Sonics fans may consider Councilmember Richard Conlin's opposition to the Sodo arena as reason to vote for Kshama Sawant in the coming election. I ask them not to do without having a clear understanding of her socialist positions or the fact that she may prove be considerably less friendly towards the arena than Mr. Conlin.
Having spoken to Richard I know that he is not anti-sports but is in fact a fanatical baseball fan. His concerns around the arena were based on a desire to resolve legitimate traffic and infrastructure issues in the area. He has made it clear that going forward his focus will not be on trying to re-open or undo an action the council has already approved, but rather on working cooperatively with all Sodo stakeholders to resolve those issues in a way that provides fans with needed access to the stadium district while protecting valuable Port and industrial jobs.
I share Richards commitment to this collaborative approach and know that his veteran leadership will help bring people together to accomplish that goal. I know this because trusted friends like the construction trade workers of the King County Labor Council, the nightlife and entertainment industry and our City Attorney Pete Holmes have all endorsed Councilmember Conlin. The support of these and other critical and trusted allies was essential to the arena's success and I believe that it is important for myself and arena supporters in the region to give strong consideration their opinions in the coming election.
As a basketball fan I disagreed with Councilmember Conlin's vote on the arena. However I understand that differences of opinion and spirited debate on controversial issues are both essential parts of democracy and the public process. I respect his position as I believe he respects mine.
As a small business owner and proponent of the growth and well-being of our city I believe Richard Conlin is the best candidate to provide leadership and continued economic stability for the region. I have strong concerns that the action of well-meaning fans seeking retribution for his previous vote may elect a candidate who pulls council into broad ideological debates and squabbles at a time when our leadership should be focused on unprecedented regional investment and opportunities for transformative growth.
Richard Conlin is the right candidate to participate in that growth. His work on South Lake Union development, commitment to the arts, culture and construction trades are all reasons why I am choosing to endorse Richard Conlin for city council.
I wish him the best of luck in his re-election campaign.