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The Seattle City Council is getting beat on the urbanist liberal left, as they should

The Stranger’s Dominic Holden is calling out Richard Conlin by name.

Holden says, in part:

So the Seattle City Council has a choice: Build the arena in the city and have those fans spend their money in the city—thereby helping our businesses, contributing to our tax base, and bolstering the economy of our dense city—or send those patrons and their cash to the suburbs.
. . .
Cities need to compete with road-oriented sprawl on our terms, and that's by building attractions that act as magnets. Do I think that dense, transit-served, diverse, local-business-supporting cities are superior to auto-oriented, mall-packed suburbs? Yes, and I make no apologies for it. Even though Bellevue has patches of density, it's built for cars, it's hostile to pedestrians, and it's overrun with corporate chain crap. City Hall shouldn't give them a leg up.

But right now, several members of the council are resisting the arena. For example, Council Member Richard Conlin recently said he thought the deal was dead due to internal political opposition to the city spending money on infrastructure. It appears, lacking a substantive complaint about the arena's risk (after all, the city is reasonably guaranteed to be repaid in full from arena revenue without any new taxes), this is mostly about the council's beef with the mayor, who put together the deal with investor Chris Hansen.

If the council rejects this arena and it's built in the suburbs, they'll be screwing us all out of a once-in-a-generation opportunity. They'd also also have no credibility when complaining that Bellevue and other suburbs are usurping downtown business. Nor would they have moral authority to pass meaningless, feelgood legislation (in the name of supporting downtown business interests) like adding new penalties for aggressive panhandling. But this arena—no question—would bring millions of dollars downtown every single year.

The council talks a good game about supporting downtown, cultivating jobs, encouraging density, and funding libraries. So here's a chance for Conlin and the rest of the council to put their votes where their mouth is.

CITY The Case for the Arena: Build It in Seattle and Support Downtown Businesses or Let All That Money Slip Away to the Suburbs, The Stranger / Slog

Pelz called out liberals as elitists.
He says, in part:

Now the fact is that I don’t play Little League, I went to the opera once, I go to the Seattle Art Museum or MOHAI about once in every five years, I go to the library to return my wife’s books, and I miss too many plays.

But I probably spend about 100 hours a year watching NBA games, sadly now only on TV.  As a child growing up in Maryland, I watched Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell play against my Baltimore Bullets. I saw Wes Unsoeld and Earl Monroe play as rookies, then moved to Seattle and saw Xavier McDaniel, Gary Payton,  Shawn Kemp, and Kevin Durant (sigh) play as rookies. I had the supreme honor of attending the Seventh Game of an NBA Finals.

The Sonics lost that Seventh Game, but the next year we won, and I sprinted from my house to drink in Pioneer Square with about 50,000 other ecstatic fans. I own a Sonics blanket, pillow, lunch box, autographed basketball, and Reggie King’s signed warm-up jersey.

I love Seattle and I love liberals, but sometimes we are so politically correct that we ask the wrong questions. For instance: “What is more important, sports—or schools or libraries or health care for the poor or clean water or justice for all?” Of course sports is “less important,” especially if you are asking the wrong question.

At that point we liberals get close to crossing the line from educated enlightenment to snobbery or elitism. We call for investment in the leisure- time priorities of the well-educated, but not always of working people.

As liberals, we pride ourselves in caring about people more than the right wing does. We should be  a city that respects the desires and dreams of the child who falls asleep clutching a book, as well as the child who falls asleep clutching a basketball.

Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz: Why Liberals Should Support the Sonics, Publicola

The Seattle City Council is getting beat on the urbanist liberal left, as they should.