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Seattle Times Publisher proposed a newspaper promo to the Port of Seattle during the arena vote

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The Seattle Times was selling promotions to the Port of Seattle during the SoDo arena street vacation vote

Occidental Street, where the arena is supposed to go
Occidental Street, where the arena is supposed to go

The Seattle Times and the Port of Seattle's partnership in opposition to the multipurpose arena in SoDo apparently was a backdrop to a $290,000 promotion of the Port in the Seattle Times, according to SeattleMet.com:

Last April, in the runup to the SoDo street vacation vote, as the Seattle Times was busy editorializing in sync with the Port of Seattle’s position that the city council should vote no on the NBA street vacation, the paper’s publisher, CEO, and editorial board member Frank Blethen was simultaneously pitching a $290,000 promotional deal to the Port that sounds like what is known in the business as advertorial.

-Josh Feit, SeattleMet.com, "Frank Blethen was Proposing Newspaper Promo Deal to Port While Paper was Port's Position Against SoDo Arena"

Seattle Times publisher and Editorial Board member Frank Blethen brokered this business with the Port of Seattle's CEO Ted Fick leading up to - and directly after - the Seattle City Council vote on the SoDo arena's street vacation. I would think that they would hire people to do that work.

On May 4, Fick responded to Belthen’s proposal. After greeting Blethen—"Thank you for the proposal. We have been focused on the Street Vacation matter which we all must agree was effort worth-while!"—he goes on to say the Port would be "excited about working with your team and understanding how we move forward together."

It’s certainly kosher for the Seattle Times to partner with Port of Seattle on an apparent newspaper advertorial. But having Blethen himself, who sits on the paper’s editorial board, pitch the Times’s  "partnership program" could give the appearance that the Times was mixing business and editorial content. Or more crassly put: There’s the possible appearance that the Times was trying to sign a lucrative deal after printing favorable editorials.

-Josh Feit, SeattleMet.com, "Frank Blethen was Proposing Newspaper Promo Deal to Port While Paper was Port's Position Against SoDo Arena"

I appreciate Josh Feit pointing out how it looks. The net result is that is what is going on.  The publisher and the CEO just doing business. The most puzzling part it for me is that I don't know why the Port would buy the cow when they were getting the milk for free. Not only is it in effect a purchase of editorial opinion, but a gross waste of taxpayer money. Also, what I don't know is if this was something special or a routine back scratching exercise.