Friday, the Longshoremen's Union will have their case brought up before a judge.
Here is their basic argument and the three responses.
INTERNATIONAL LONGSHORE AND WAREHOUSE UNION, LOCAL 19,
CITY OF SEATTLE, a Washington municipal corporation; and KING COUNTY, a Washington county,
WSA PROPERTIES, III, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, dba ArenaCo,
Their claim? "Action" has been taken "prior" to the completion of the SEPA process has completed.
Plaintiff Opening Brief is here.
The city says, nope, SEPA doesn't recognize a MOU as an "action", and there isn't prior approval because the city and county councils still have to vote to give final approval to act.
There is also a little lawyer lingo in there that says that the judge should dismiss the case because the Union has no standing (it's not their beef), and they do not understand the law (idiots).
The City's Response is here.
King County's response takes a similar perspective to the city's, only they basically say that there can't be a case yet since the damages the Union says could happen simply have not happened. Dismiss the case and they can come back later if something bad happens.
They request that the judge tells them to shut up and get out, and come on back when you have more than just speculation.
King County's Response is here.
Ok, big finish by ArenaCo's Response (just a couple paragraphs):
Indeed, it is ILWU that has “put the cart before the horse,” by improperly asking this Court to adjudicate SEPA claims that are not ripe, in the absence of judicially mandated standing, and in the very midst of the City of Seattle’s ongoing SEPA review process. ILWU should bring its energies to bear where the law allows – in the administrative EIS process that will review the environmental impacts of development of an arena at multiple sites. ILWU should not waste the Court’s time with lawsuits plainly designed to raise political points rather than to adjudicate legitimate legal claims.
In its Motion, ILWU quotes selectively – and misleadingly – from the MOU in an attempt to portray it as an “action” under SEPA. ILWU Motion, p. 6-7. ILWU even goes so far as to characterize the MOU as “cementing the deal.” Id., p. 6. Nothing could be further from the truth. The provisions ILWU fails to share with the Court tell the real story. Specifically, ILWU glosses over Section 24 of the MOU, which sets out multiple conditions precedent, all of which allow the City and County to decline to contribute financing to the Arena. Declaration of Peter Goldman (“Goldman Declaration”), Ex. K, Recital D, Sections 5, 24. Indeed, contrary to ILWU’s representations, the MOU simply establishes a process under which – in the future – (1) the City will consider whether to issue land use permits for the Arena, after conducting full environmental review (id, Sections 5, 24.b); and (2) the City and County will consider whether to enter into a transaction for funding of the Arena under specified terms, again after conducting full environmental review (id, Section 24). ILWU inaccurately describes the proposed terms of a future transaction as if they were a done deal – but the plain language of the MOU shows this is an intentional mischaracterization. Id., Sections 5, 24.
The MOU does not qualify as an “action” under SEPA because it does not approve or fund any activity that will modify the environment nor does it purchase, sell or lease publicly owned land. WAC 197-11-704(2); Goldman Declaration, Ex. K, Section 24. The MOU also cannot result in environmental impacts, since it does not approve any physical activity. Goldman Declaration, Ex. K, Sections 5, 24.b. Finally, ILWU’s claim that the MOU “gives ArenaCo precisely what it wanted: an Arena in SODO” (ILWU’s Motion, p. 2) is simply false. Directly contrary to this unsupported statement, and far from limiting the range of alternatives to be considered, the MOU affirmatively mandates consideration of alternative locations under SEPA. Id., Sections 2, 5, 24.b. For these reasons, the City and County were not required to complete SEPA review before approving the MOU. WAC 197-11-070.
Instead, the City is conducting SEPA review at exactly the right time. The EIS process is ongoing now. This process properly began following submission of an application for land use permits for the Arena to the City Department of Planning and Development (“DPD”), the City agency charged with implementing SEPA and making decisions on land use permit applications. Declaration of G. Richard Hill in Support of Response to Motion for Summary Judgment (“Declaration”), Exs. T, U. This administrative process provides the proper forum for ILWU to raise the issues it attempts to bring prematurely before the Court. In fact, ILWU has submitted comments regarding the alternatives to be considered in the EIS to DPD, and DPD is considering this input. Hill Declaration, Exs. V-Y. Indeed, the lawsuit before the Court today is little more than an effort to enlist the judicial system to interfere with the City’s SEPA review process in the very midst of that review.
The only thing missing from ArenaCo's Response was the word balderdash.
The Plaintiff should not waste the court's time with lies, oops, I mean, misleading statements.
The indignity of it all.