In difficult to balance situations it is sometimes important to acknowledge that, while the goal is to make everybody happy, the greatest indicator of success is often to have them all be moderately upset with you.
As I have stated repeatedly the Murray campaign is chock full of people whose opinions I trust. Many of his most significant endorsers and donors are former Arena Solution supporters who remain extremely passionate about bringing the Sonics back and assure me that Ed Murray shares their support.
Several of those people called me to question the tone of my recent article covering Peter Steinbrueck. The article, they believe, strongly implied that Senator Murray's does not support the Sonics Arena despite the fact that he made supportive comments on the same day.
Not surprisingly I also received some less than thrilled comments from friends who are strong McGinn supporters questioning my decision to allow yesterday's decidedly pro-Murray piece by Mike Baker. His article cited those statements as proof that, to the best of anyone's knowledge Murray has been and continues to be at least a passive proponent of the Sodo Arena.
I don't intend to silence Mike Baker in any way. SonicsRising is obviously biased and blatantly subject to the interpretation of its writers but we consider ourselves an independent editorial news source with a culture of writing what we feel. I use the forum to express my positions and support my writers in doing the same. Furthermore Mike Baker has been a valued friend and trusted confidant since the earliest days of Save Our Sonics. His opinion matters to me.
The great news for both Mike and I is that people in both campaigns continue to notice. With Sonics fans regularly cited as one of the meaningful constituencies that will contribute substantively to the outcome of this election it is easy to forget how insignificant and disregarded we were just a few short years ago.
In 2008 at one of the Sonics final home games Karen Bryant, then President of the Sonics and always one of the strongest and proudest women I know put her head in her hands after a failed attempt to secure a corporate partner for the next year. Usually pragmatic she said to me despondently "I want to get this done so bad but we don't have any juice. Nothing we do is making any difference."
This statement came in the wake of Nick Licata's despicable comment that sports had no cultural value. It was also just weeks after a senior NBA executive had, without even realizing how condescending he was being, looked down his nose at me and said "Enjoy your 15 minutes Brian. They will be over soon."
Back in those days it was easy and accepted to be dismissive of sports fans. We had no "juice" and we certainly were not perceived as having any staying power. In that environment no candidate for mayor would have felt the slightest need to balance a Steinbrueck endorsement with a supportive statement to Sonics fans. They would have taken the NIMBY votes Peter brings without ever factoring us into the equation.
Now we have to be considered because we have definitively proven Nick Licata to be wrong. Sonicsgate has 4 million online downloads, global distribution and a massive following. We showed our cultural value by securing key alliances like the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association and construction trades. We came out in numbers each and every time we were called including rocking Occidental Park with the Blue Scholars and Macklemore and again by turning out obscenely large numbers at the joint city/county council meeting.
Our voice, amplified by unmatched online distribution forums and exclusive traditional media outlets is backed by thousand of followers around the globe. Last week Sonics supporters in TURKEY were on site to protest the Oklahoma Thunder's preseason game and here at home we are strong enough to successfully trade blows with a Major League Baseball team, a $4 Billion-a-year public corporation and all their paid consultants. Many people are still trying to figure out how we won that PR battle and forced them to be the ones to regroup. (here's a hint: we backed Chris Hansen who had a position that the public found to be much more reasonable than our oppositions)
Recently we took another step, substantially impacting the mayoral primary and delivering all the essential currencies of politics(voice, volunteers, donations and VOTES) to Mayor McGinn who stepped up along with the County Executive to be our most visible champion.
Mayor McGinn has been there for me and I am going to be there for him passionately until the final buzzer sounds. If the need ever arises I will be an equally passionate warrior for Dow Constantine, Pete Holmes or other supporters. If Ed Murray happens to win I will point proudly to this loyalty and let him know he can count on the same support if he decides to carry on Mike's strong stewardship of the Sonics return.
I'm sorry to my friends on both the Murray and McGinn team if I occasionally wind up in conversations you would prefer I stay out of. At this time I'm an independent player and my primary contribution to the process is to do everything I can to make sure my friends and sports fans in general are active and speaking with a loud voice. Our goal is volume and our success should be measured by our total impact, not by any one candidate victory.
I'm going to be pushing hard for McGinn in this election and encourage other fans to jump on the bandwagon with me. If however you hear Murray speak and like him better or if you think Mike Baker makes a more compelling case then vote for him. The most important thing is to BE LOUD AND ACTIVE! If you live in the city VOTE FOR SOMEBODY! If you don't live in the city use use your voice to influence friends, and impact the votes of other fans in the region.
While it is unrealistic to retain enthusiasm every minute along the way it is important to bring energy at critical moments. Stepping up over the next 2 weeks is one way we thank each other for all the work we have put in to get this far. Please do whatever you can do because demonstrating our commitment to relevancy ensures that some of our common priorities like youth athletics and infrastructure and facilities to support sports culture continue to be recognized. Most critically this is how we ensure WHOEVER wins this race remains committed to bringing the Sonics and the NHL back to Seattle.
The dream is to be so visible that 4 years from now a candidate for Mayor will call a press conference to announce The Sonics Guy's endorsement, balancing it out by making sure to mention that Peter Steinbrueck, the Port of Seattle and the Mariners also deserve recognition for their valid points.
Don't give anything back. If we stay relevant the rest will take care of itself.