In all the excitement generated by Tuesday's announcement that a tentative deal had been struck between investor Chris Hansen and the Seattle City Council -- an agreement that seemingly paves the way for Hansen's proposed Sodo NBA/NHL arena to be built, and an agreement represented in a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be voted on later today by Seattle City Council committee - apparently not everyone is buying in.
The group sent a letter to the Seattle City Council's Government Performance and Finance Committee expressing its displeasure over a process it contends is being rushed, while objecting to the "lip service" being to SEPA and the fact that no other sites but Hansen's Sodo plot are seriously being considered.
The letter, which is signed by environmental attorney Peter Goldman, Vice President of the External Affairs for the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association Jordan Royer, Executive Director of the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle Dave Gering, and Executive Vice President, Legal and Governmental Affairs of the Seattle Mariners Bart Waldman, identifies environmental review and state environmental law concerns, but seems most pointedly directed at the fact that language in the new MOU identifies the land Hansen has already purchased in Sodo as the project site, despite the fact the group feels like the process has an obligation to study alternative sites, and the city council has promised as much.
"If the City Council members approve the MOU as written, they will be locking in the Sodo site prior to any analysis of alternatives - something they said they would not do," Royer said in a press release distributed to the media Wednesday afternoon. "Unfortunately, the council members' rhetoric Tuesday morning does not match the document [revised MOU] that was released much later in the day."
The press release distributed by the group says that the revised MOU mentions Hansen's Sodo land as the "project site" 26 times.
This seems to irk them.
"With such language, it's a fait accompli that the arena will be built in Sodo," Gering comments in the same press release. "We were all lulled into thinking by the council members' press conference that the environmental review would be robust, but the text of the MOU shows that is not the case."
The letter urges the City Council to take more time before pushing the agreement through so "stakeholders" can weigh in on it. The press release warns that more groups will likely share the concerns raised once they've had a time to adequately review the revised MOU.
Meanwhile, the Seattle City Council's Government Performance and Finance Committee is expected to gloriously approve the amended MOU this afternoon at 2 p.m., paving the way for the City Council as a whole to approve the deal by as early as next week.
You can find the angry letter below along with yesterday's press release on the following page.
Previously on The Daily Weekly: