Sorry for the late update all. It has been a very, very long day.
I think today between the Bennett news, our previous actions, and our meeting we established the Seattle Sonics as arguably the most visible issue for Governor Gregoire's campaign. That is not a bad thing.
We spent more than an hour with the Governor today, on the day of her Seattle campaign kickoff. It was both respectful of her to give us that much time and moderately productive. I wish I could claim it was very productive because the Governor was quite convincing in her desire to do something. She was also quite convincing in her explanation of why nothing had gotten done.
I think there is some passing of the buck going on here obviously. A big question is how much of it is legitimate. Could the city have done a better job lobbying? SURE. Could Stanton, Ballmer, etc. have come out earlier? SURE, could Ron Simms be completely throwing sports fans under the bus? SURE
At the end of the day though I think the governor has a real problem if she can't get this done. For better or worse she is the one with the most percieved power to resolve this, the biggest gap between what people percieve her leadership to be and what is needed, and she is up for re-election. She never asked us to take it easy on her, nor did we offer.
She was ultimately VERY sincere in her statements that she wants to resolve this situation. I believe her. She cautions that a special session unless you are assured the votes could be a death blow to this as opposed to a measured win next session and I take her at face value with that comment. What we looked at is that if a special session is not an option how can she take action to make sure something gets done. She is working on a letter signed by virtually all state and city officials to the NBA owners pledging her support. She was also very receptive to the idea of further reaching out to the city to see if there were some level of assurance she could provide that would lead them to provide bridge funding for this $75M. We urged her, and I think she will honor this, to make a concerted effort to work with the city towards a pledge that satisfied them within the next 72 hours.
We had another idea that may or may not produce something. She seemed animated in her desire to pursue it, again with the 72 hour timeline.
At the end of the day I think Gov. Gregoire has never been criticized for her intentions or desire, but rather for her performance and delivery. Today she took a step in demonstrating resolve but at the end of the day we Sonics fans will have to judge her on her actions. Like it or not this issue is camped squarely on her doorstep right now.
Yes she did say that Frank Chopp was on vacation. Yes I did immediately suggest a same day special session. We got a smile out of that.
Thanks to the Governors office for all the time. I wish I could convey more concrete results but it was not a negative meeting in any way.