Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Chris Hansen's NBA/NHL proposal draws debate
Clarification on taxes
Editor, The Times:
I am writing to correct two points made in The Times July 8 editorial about the arena proposal for Seattle’s Stadium District l [“No public money for Sodo arena,” Opinion].
The Times’ editorial inaccurately opined that the city will “repay the annual debt service on bonds with taxes generated by local businesses.” The fact that the arena will be financed by revenues that would not exist but for the arena, with no new taxes, is a key pillar of the proposal.
It is also inaccurate to write that tax liability will be shifted to the city. The city will not experience any additional tax liability resulting from this project.
It is important to correct these two errors because we believe arena investor Chris Hansen’s proposal to invest $800 million in our local economy will be a shot in the arm for Seattle as we work to maintain our recovery from the Great Recession.
While The Seattle Times editorial page may have based its opinion on inaccurate details, it is important that readers have correct information on which to base theirs.
— Beth Goldberg, director, city of Seattle Budget Office
A disservice to the public
I’d like members of The Seattle Times editorial board to please explain the childish editorial piece they wrote. Since they can’t attack the plan and they refuse to educate themselves on the plan, they are now attacking the person by basically saying we can’t trust a San Francisco hedge-fund manager.
He’s from here, folks. Did they mention that? Nope. And of course, no mention of Steve Ballmer or the Nordstroms in the editorial either.
Funny how the editorial board had no problem with the proposal for a new football stadium that required $300 million in public money and new taxes in 1997 [“ ‘Yes’ to stadium vote for Seattle Seahawks,’” seattletimes.com, June 1, 1997]. They called that proposal a “great deal,” but this one isn’t good enough?
You say it should be 100 percent privately financed, but how many times has that happened in other markets? Less than a handful, which The Times hasn’t mentioned.
— Craig Paulsen, Lacey
Arena editorial omitting key facts
I found the recent editorial published in The Seattle Times to be deeply disappointing.
The editorial chose to start with an unwarranted attack on Chris Hansen’s occupation. Next, while mentioning the traffic problems put forth by the Port of Seattle, it conveniently forgot to mention the third-party traffic study that Hansen paid for out of his own pocket, which found that the traffic issue was overblown.
It further claimed that he had never stated why money was necessary from the city, when in fact he answered that very question during his testimony before the Seattle City Council, stating that the city can borrow money at much lower rates than even extremely wealthy individuals. The important fact to remember is that the city’s investment is guaranteed.
Lastly, the editorial claim’s that the only goal of the investment group is to make money on developments around the arena. Tell me, who should be upset about this? The hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people provided with jobs? Or the hundreds of thousands of people who will get the opportunity to see world-class sports and entertainment, again, at no risk to the taxpayer?
Don’t let facts get in the way of a good opinion.
— Tim Nichols, Seattle
We weren’t jilted
I wrote a letter, addressing it to a bunch of people, in support of the proposed arena and encouraged our local leaders to bring back the Seattle SuperSonics. I received a response from a member of the Seattle City Council, and that response contained a reference that I just can’t leave alone. I want to make an extremely important correction to what was said.
This, from Sally Clark :“Since we (the people of Seattle) are being asked to go in on building the new arena to the tune of $120 million, we (the people jilted by a pro-basketball team once before) need to be appropriately cautious ...”
That’s just not true, is it?
We the people of Seattle were not jilted by our Supersonics. No way. Quite the contrary.
The Supersonics were a constant for 40 years in this city. They were exhilarating, exasperating, comforting, infuriating, intriguing, bonding, exhausting, and thoroughly, thoroughly invigorating. Everything a sports team should be. Everything. We were not jilted.
This distinction may seem small to the individuals lobbying against the arena — I get that — but I simply ask everyone ... everyone ... I urge you: don’t approach your due diligence with such negativity; if you are approaching the arena proposal as a dire threat to the well-being of our city, then you are simply not giving history its due.
All I’m asking is this: Please, everyone, do your homework and ask your questions. I would never ask anyone to “rubber stamp” such a colossal project, but approach the proposal as a positive ... an opportunity to regain something special.
Don’t ignore traffic. Don’t ignore I-91. Don’t ignore KeyArena.
But we weren’t jilted, Ms. Clark. This city was very, very happy for a long time. Don’t ignore that either.
— Erich VonHeeder, Shoreline