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ILWU Dismissive of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, threatens City Council over arena support

In opposition to Chris Hansen's SoDo arena proposal, the ILWU displays some dismissiveness of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Mayor Ed Murray
Mayor Ed Murray

In a press release that attorney Peter Goldman helped craft, ILWU Local 19 strikes a dismissive and disrespectful tone toward Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and his handling of the SoDo arena proposal.

The document specifically criticizes Murray's decision to recommend the vacation of Occidental Avenue for the purpose of building the arena, as evidenced by the title of the release, "Press Statement regarding Mayor Ed Murray's recommendation on Occidental Ave S. street vacation for SoDo arena."

According to the statement, the project's FEIS was deceptively designed and executed, and the mayor's decision to recommend street vacation proves it. A lawsuit to stop the arena if approved was also strongly implied.

"The recommendation re-affirms that the environmental and economic review of the proposed Sodo arena is a sham and that the SoDo location was predetermined.  Not only do the environmental documents not address the impacts of the arena but they fail to consider alternatives sites.  We are confident a court will find that the arena is a public project that needs a credible analysis of alternatives sites."

Goldman personally reinforced this notion in an interview with KING5 reporter Chris Daniels, calling the FEIS "absurd" and a "totally sloppy document" that was done in a "haphazard" way.

"The Mayor's recommendation is a non-starter."   -ILWU

The mayor's office declined to comment for this story, but the Seattle Department of Planning and Development denies that the review was any of those things.

"We remain confident in the adequacy of the impact analyses found within the final EIS document," SDPD spokesman Bryan Stevens said in a statement to Sonics Rising. "This proposal has progressed through environmental review, design review, the Design Commission and is now with City Council for their review and decision on the street vacation."

ILWU also said that the mayor's recommendation amounts to a bait and switch tactic to disguise the fact that another arena in SoDo would destroy the Port of Seattle and other industries in the area.

"The recommendation also continues the fiction that the City is only giving away a few hundred feet of street.  But this is about creating an arena, not simply giving away a street. In fact, by adding almost 6000 cars 200 days a year, the City is creating a huge traffic nightmare that will kill the Port of Seattle and other Sodo industrial uses. This section of Occidental is a crucial traffic release valve in SoDo's freight and rail network during all game events."

The Seattle Department of Transportation studied the impact of the street vacation and came to a different conclusion than the union, as expressed in a statement by SDOT communications director Rick Sheridan to Sonics Rising.

"By law, SDOT is required to thoroughly consider street vacation requests and provide a recommendation to the city council for their consideration," Sheridan said. "Our job is to ensure that any request to vacate public space is considered with a thorough understanding of the impacts and the public benefits gained. The detailed, 65-page recommendation speaks to the many hours of staff time spent considering this vacation request. Like any other vacation recommendation put before the city council, it is extremely thorough and provides council members with the facts to make a well informed decision."

The ILWU statement also criticizes the mayor's recommendation as a meaningless gesture designed to push final decision responsibility onto other people.

"The recommendation really doesn't mean much more than that the mayor punting a dying Sodo arena deal to the new City Council."

Speaking of the City Council, the union strongly implied that any member who votes yes on the arena would be targeted for ouster in the next election.

"No council member who wants to be re-elected is going to vote for a taxpayer-subsidized SoDo arena that effectively makes the city-owned Key Arena a loss for taxpayers.  The Mayors recommendation is a non-starter."

This statement was made in spite of the recent Seattle City Council elections, in which four yes votes from the original MOU decision were voted back into office, and in which two new pro-arena candidates were elected.