Honestly I did not realize that new users were not able to log on. Welcome to the conversation and thanks to my friend Speedcat for getting the site up.
It is a critical couple of weeks.
For starters we need to turn out next Monday again to reinforce our point. Essentially we are at 2 more potential public hearings. The first on Monday and then again the day of the city council vote which will occur prior to August 13.
All indications are that we will see a 7-2 vote in favor of the arena at the county level with Councilmembers Pete VonReichbauer and Larry Phillips voting against. VonReichbauer has refused to meet with arena supporters and by all accounts is working to tank this deal in hopes that at a later date he can pursue his "plan b" in Bellevue. Bellevue government strongly denies any involvement and it is my hope that they are being honest in that claim.
I met recently with Larry Philips and we had a very candid discussion that demonstrated very divergent positions. Councilmember Philips on multiple occasions cited the need to protect the general fund and a suspicion that "when you agree to one thing sport teams always come back for more." He would not discuss what part of the financial protections were insufficient. He also could not explain how they general fund would be at risk other than stating that there is always some risk and in this recession with our budget cannot be subject to any risk whatsoever. He takes the ports risks seriously and acknowledged no benefits of the project although he would like to see basketball come back if it were 100% risk and cost free.
On the city level we are expecting to have a much clearer picture within the next week. The position has been described in typical political fashion as "we are still at no but working towards a yes."
At this time members of city council are stating that they are asking for further concessions from Chris Hansen and if he agrees we will have a deal. If he does not agree we do not. There is a strong rumor floating that specific members of council intend to make a "poison pill" offer that contains provisions they know Hansen will decline in an effort to shift the blame to him. I informed council that we will clearly publicize what those final terms are and the public will determine whether their made reasonable requests or unfairly attempted to extort concessions from him.
We need to let council know that the overwhelming majority of the citizens feel this is a fair and generous deal. If there are some general changes to security or legalities that may be fair to negotiate that is one thing. If on the other hand they go back looking for substantial pro-forma adjustments on a fair deal just because they think they can gouge more from a committed investor then the community is going to see through that.
How would you feel if City Council says "Chris Hansen refused to accept our compromise offer that he pay $50M to support the Port's transit improvements?".
Stay on the grind. 2 more weeks to go and we have this thing.