So I first met with the Mariners regarding ArenaSolution in late November, before Chris Hansen and the Sodo concept had emerged. The purpose of our meeting was to engage Bart Waldman who had risen from stadium advocate to head of the Mariners legal dept. I wanted to make sure that we had asked people with an understanding of the process for their input about the process and also to see if the Mariners represented a road block.
I met with them a couple of more times before it became apparent that they were not only going to be against the arena, but also that they were determined to take active leadership in funding that opposition. That crossed a line of propriety for me. On April 3 I had my last communication with them and left it at this final correspondence:
"I think we will have to let sports fans determine if they feel that funding these types of polls and aligning with maritime interests is appropriate for a tenant of a publicly financed building. the mariners have been big beneficiarys of transit improvements to the region including a huge regional investment in mass transit designed to service a stadium district. that investment is for the public good, not intended to be reserved for the mariners alone.
the citizens of the region all deal with traffic generated by mariners games amd the chaos it causes. The maritime interest you have aligned with have been complaining about it for years also.
My guess is that this will be the subject of substantial scrutiny by the customer base. i am always happy to give you the opportunity to represent your positon."
About 4 hours later they preempted my move by issuing a press release on their position.
That was before I had ever met Chris or heard his views on things. Since that time I have spoken with Chris about the Mariners. While I was advising that they were going to go to put up a fight on this issue he was adamant that if he was able to convey his vision to them that he would be able to show them that this was not only something they could tolerate, but would in fact be a win for them. The team will see additional parking in the neighborhood. They will have their garage rented for additional revenue. In addition he is really committed to working with the Mariners and Seahawks to ensure that the entire Sodo experience is better for all the customers, giving people more of a reason to go there. Long before it was mandated by the opposition this included working collaboratively on traffic mitigation for freight, fans, and pedestrians.
He had a vision that they could make the Sodo experience something really magical for fans and in doing so really benefit all of the local franchises. He still has that vision.
The Mariners have been leading opponents of the arena. They have funded multiple anti-arena campaigns and aligned themselves with the maritime industry in a way that is totally opportunistic. They have also wooed Tay Yoshitani into this argument and in many ways used the Port of Seattle as a scapegoat for the activities they direct.
I am especially disheartened that our public tax dollars are being used in this effort. The Public Facilities District(PFD) signed a $37,000 contract with a PR firm which has carried out the Mariners instructions since March.
Lots of positives right now. The Mariners are not one of them.
Props to my guy Jerry Brewer for his honesty. Shame on Howard Lincoln. I love the team and value a large number of the people working there but Lincoln is an old school rich guy who looks down his nose at his customers and has disdain for common people. #FATCAT! #YOUAREHISTORY!