So how do I tell enough of the story without including too many details? Man oh man that is a tough question.
You all ask what is going on and I feel very obligated to tell you. I'm going to be sending out a more formal and detailed message to all the SOS members next week. I owe them a lot more communication than I've provided but basically I've been a little shot. I bought a house, went fishing, had my birthday, had my sons birthday, went crabbing, fishing again, now I have to move, and sometime after that I'll emerge from my shell and get out in the world again.
There are a lot of people in this city who are not happy with the fact that the team is not here. You can take large businesses, poltical leaders, business associations, and some really wealthy individuals who are begining to say "Geez I never though they'd really leave. we need to kick someone out of office for that!"
There are a lot of political leaders who are saying "If I'm not careful and don't get this arena funded to look like I'm proactive then someone is going to decide to kick me out of office."
What it comes down to is money. More money than we have had in a long time. We have not one but several different factions courting us right now to become an actual lobbying group for this legislative session. A funded, operational group hopefully with an office, paid employees, some real public personas up in front, and I am really hoping a decent chunk of the Seattle-native portion of Sonics employees who will be staying here will come to work on the project.
We're going to lobby for this arena and we're going to do it all the way. We're going to take the factions and negotiate a ton of support and tell them that unless they are committed to us we're going with the other guy. If Gregoire doesn't want to find a way then we have to listen to Rossi and visa versa. If Nickels wants to dodge the blame then he has to allocate SIGNIFICANT resources to all of this and get it done. If some of the people who just want to throw grenades at our government in general and replace as many politicians as possible can convince me that this is the right thing to do then we'll take their funding and go on the attack. I doubt we'll take that approach but we're listening to everyones pitches.
What we're doing right now is evaluating what our team is going to look like, who our friends and enemies are and getting ready to go into Olympia with a real and organized agenda. We're going to approach it differently that Schultz, Bennett, or even Ballmer. We're going to be there early and with some resources or we won't be there at all.
There are good options. We're gathering as much information as possible to make the most informed choice. I am committed to getting this done. People have said that I am too accomodating, that I am scared to take people on and always trying to appease the government. You don't know me. The media is not the place to fight your battles. Burning bridges publicly when you have limited options is bad policy. I won't do that but I am capable of being tough when it counts behind closed doors.
In some ways this has broken well for us given the terrible circumstances. Sonics fans came through this more energized than I expected and people still care. In fact people are pissed at both high and low levels. The backlash has various officials working hard to figure out how they can get this off their plate, like they should have done last March and I am meeting with them and telling them that there is only one way, a single option, to avoid being complicit in this. It is to fund the damn arena. Do nothing less. No lip service, no big promises. Dedicate the resources necessary to get this done and just do it. That is the message.
So there is a lot to set up. I refuse to do this halfway again and have already turned down what I considered to be half-assed projects to make us all feel a little better. If we can't do it right, at a level that I feel confident that it will get done then I am going back to my family, moving out of Seattle city limits and saying to hell with all of them. If we can push this thing to get it done right then you'll be hearing more from me in the next couple of weeks.
We'll need your help. I know we've asked for it before and I know its felt meaningless. We fought a good fight and you should not be discouraged. I hope more of you will be there with me.
I love you Speedcat! You're the man! Don't think I'm letting you out of this. Its not optional for you.