Last week I interviewed Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin in the aftermath of the e-mail he sent out to a handful of constituents opposing a public investment in Chris Hansen's proposed SoDo NBA/NHL arena. As we know by now, that email set off quite a firestorm.
While the reaction to such a statement - the Seattle Times refers to Conlin today as the "first elected official to oppose the new arena" - seems somewhat predictable to anyone familiar with the fire and passion behind the arena movement, believe it or not Conlin tells Seattle Weekly he wasn't aiming to create such a fiasco.
"It wasn't my intention to create a big public splash," says Conlin of his e-mail, which questions the need for a public investment in Hansen's proposed SoDo arena, and which he says he probably sent to 50 people or so, all of whom had contacted him regarding Hansen's proposal. Conlin classifies yesterday's e-mail, and providing responses to constituents, as something that's part of his normal daily routine.
As for the e-mail's contents, and Chris Hansen's time spent earlier this month trying to persuade the City Council, Conlin simply says, "I don't feel like I got information that's persuasive ," in making the case for a public investment in the project. He says his prediction that the arena would ultimately fail to be approved by the City Council was "pure speculation" on his part.
A week later, the post is still generating heated reaction, including a recent comment from Leahrichardson2013.
The reason we need the Arena deal to be passed quickly is because the Sacramento Kings are the only available team, and we need to be in a position to be able to acquire them if they relocate. If we keep dilly-dallying on a deal which is so obviously beneficial for our city long enough to the point where Sacramento catches a financial miracle or they re-locate to Anaheim, we have just lost our best chance at bringing the Sonic's back to Seattle in the near future. The fact that Hansen on www.sonicsarena.com has answered all of the questions raised by the council's thoroughly and quickly, and made them look quite insignificant, should be seen as overwhelming evidence that this is an extremely low-risk, positive investment for our city. The city and county council's need to accept this no-brainer MOU and move the process towards the hardest part about getting a team, actually getting a team. Hansen wants a team ASAP, and has given us our best offer we will ever receive in terms of returning the Sonic's to Seattle. We also know, as evidenced by the rally, he will go to extreme lengths in order to get the arena, and get the team. By taking so long to respond to the MOU, we may squander our best, and quickest route to returning the Sonics to Seattle. Rejecting the MOU would be essentially saying basketball will never retur, at least with this current legislation