Does the Responsible Public or Private Developer choose fans over freight?
Tough call, but many feel it should be based on the highest best use and long term financial interests of taxpayers.
Today the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that the ongoing battle is between the Longshore Union, the City of Seattle and King County, will escalate due to the approval of the $490 million pro basketball arena in the Sodo area of Seattle.
Cameron Williams, president of International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 19, said the Sodo site isn’t feasible because arena traffic would interfere with the movement of freight to and from the Port of Seattle.
Chris Hansen, a San Francisco hedge-fund manager who wants to bring a National Basketball Association team back to Seattle, has spent $53.8 million on properties in the neighborhood, which is just east of the port. “We are here to defend our jobs and the maritime industry,” Williams said. He added that an arena can be built anywhere, but a deep-water port cannot be moved.
David Mann, an attorney for Local 19, said that under the state Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, city officials should have begun studying the environmental impacts of the arena when they started talking about developing a publicly owned facility.
Local 19’s co-counsel, Peter Goldman, said the arena memorandum of understanding, or MOU, “more or less ordains” the Sodo site. He said this is an example of “strong-arm government.”
The purpose of the planned lawsuit is to invalidate the MOU as a violation of the state Environmental Policy Act, he said. “We are deciding to call foul now… This process is off to a bad start, and that’s why we are blowing the whistle now.”
Goldman said the suit will be filed after Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine sign the memorandum of understanding. A signing ceremony is scheduled for October 16, at 1:30 p.m.
In the MOU is a provision to try to protect port and industrial jobs by making transportation improvements in Sodo. The plan calls for a $40 million Sodo transportation infrastructure fund. Initially, it will be funded with tax revenues and bond financing from the arena project. The city and King County will seek additional funds from public and private partners, including the port and state and federal governments.
Wary taxpayers remember that a certain Boeing plant and high paying jobs went elsewhere due in part to similar concerns about bad traffic and high operating costs. Taxpayers also remember two other things, what happened to our last NBA team, and having to foot some of the bill for other arenas.
It is good to see more local development but the Responsible Developers should spell it all out in projected long term costs, returns and jobs.
Link to the Original