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The Commish Goes to Washington

Thursday was a full day for the Sonic fan. Even though there wasn't a Sonics game scheduled there were plays being made, most notably by the trading of a few players, and by David Stern's appearance at the Washington State Capital in Olympia.
Stern was stern...
"A substantial amount has been done for the baseball and football teams. I'm here personally to find out whether the same is being considered fairly for the NBA," Stern said at a legislative hearing, flanked by principal owner Howard Schultz and team president Wally Walker.

"If not, that's a decision we can accept. But then we'll have to act on it ourselves," Stern said.

Here is somebody at the state level looking for a way to make this work:
Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, has said Stern would help the Senate understand what it takes to keep an NBA team competitive in the league.

“He knows what the needs are and how to be competitive,” she said.

There is somebody at the local level looking for a way for this not to work:
Council President Nick Licata said he is convinced the Seattle Center could thrive without the Sonics as the major tenant at KeyArena.

Maybe the Sonics should have demanded a trolly or a self-cleaning public toilet?

What the locals need to know is that the decision on what taxes can be collected, where, when, and for what purpose is done at the state level. The tax being spent on the millionaire (or is that billionaire?) owners of the Seahawks and Mariners will either be extended for the Sonics and Seattle Center, or that tax will end and the Sonics will leave. There isn't some third option that says they can keep the tax and spend it on the empty Key Arena. That's half-assed.

King County Executive Ron Sims might have a better handle on the bigger Seattle Center picture, from his editorial in the Seattle Times:
The center still bills itself as "the nation's best gathering place" and "the cultural and community heart of the city." If only that were true. At best, the center has become a set of valuable, albeit self-enclosed, spaces devoted to local sports, arts and culture, lacking in overall coherence and devoid of the urban vitality that does justice to all the changes Seattle has experienced in recent decades. At worst, the center sometimes feels like little more than a supersized, underutilized, government-owned tourist trap, and is a sustained financial drain to boot.

We can do better, if we are willing to unleash the power of our imagination. Currently, we are engaged in a narrow debate about whether to renovate KeyArena to keep the Sonics in Seattle. But whether the team stays or goes, we should embark on a holistic rethinking of how to revitalize the center in its entirety. The city of Seattle has already initiated this process; a panel convened by the mayor is expected to deliver a report in upcoming weeks. Its recommendations should provide a useful starting point for public debate.
read the full editorial @ Seattle Times.com

Let's hope for a complete recovery of the Seattle Center, nothing against the Sonics and Storm, but I would like another reason to want to go there, the the center of my city.