It’s pretty easy to figure out who is FOR the Arena Deal: Sonics fans. Primarily, they’re Sonics fans. You can also include general NBA fans, area SoDo business owners looking to see a bump in attendance from people going to Sonics games, construction workers who’d get work building the new arena, and hockey fans. It’s a pretty dedicated, passionate group, and if this thing gets done, we will have no one but them to thank.
Because the people against the Arena Deal? They are many. They are many and varied and generally ignorant about what the Arena Deal actually is. They just know they don’t want it, and that’s all they NEED to know.
Let’s start at the top: people who hate sports. And I’m not just talking about people who are indifferent to sports, I mean people who actively wish all professional sports would be eliminated. Maybe they don’t like how the leagues are run, maybe they don’t like people pampering millionaire athletes, maybe they don’t like their billionaire owners, maybe they just don’t like all the attention being heaped upon grown men throwing a ball around. Hell, maybe they were picked on as children by athletes at their high schools; I don’t know. All I know is they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!
In this group, you’ve got the Citizens For More Important Things. Now, they will couch their argument in stating that they just don’t want any public funding to go towards private sports enterprises, but in reality they just hate sports. I mean, if the government wants to give money to the arts, it’s no big waste of money. But SPORTS, oh HEAVENS no!
Now, if you’re a citizen of the area, you might have a beef with regards to public funding. I mean, let’s face it, every team in every professional league has either held its home city hostage for more public financing, or that team has moved on to another city that WILL kowtow to their every demand. That’s not right. That’s ESPECIALLY not right when – after they get their publicly-financed stadia – they don’t do everything in their power to bring a winner to their city. It’s the least they can do, but for teams like the Mariners, they’ve found a way to do even less. You’d think, as a nice Thank You to all the citizens who paid for your multi-million dollar palace, you’d at least TRY to give Seattle a championship.
So, that’s shitty. Seattle has seen every possible angle of this ordeal. The Mariners threatened to move to Tampa until they got their stadium deal passed. The Seahawks were halfway out the door down to L.A. before Paul Allen stepped in and forced the city into agreeing to build Seahawks Stadium. And the Sonics, of course, made demands, were rebuked, and ultimately high-tailed it for OKC. It’s shitty, because on the one hand “We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists”, but on the other hand, Don’t Take Our Fucking Team Away, They Belong To Us!!!
If you’ve got a sour taste in your mouth from the whole Sonics experience at the end, because of diabolical owners trying to shyster their way to getting whatever they want for free, or because of David Stern and the NBA essentially giving up on Seattle without a fight (where he has done just about everything in his vast power to prevent other cities *cough* Sacramento *cough* from doing the same exact thing), then I can see your point, to an extent. But, if you gave one iota of a shit about the Sonics before the whole Clay Bennett mess, then you HAVE to realize that you will eventually care about them again if they return. There’s no way you can stay mad forever, so start warming that icy heart of yours with a cool island song already!
Moving away from this crowd, we’ve got probably the most vocal of the opponents: the port. I dunno, I guess this has nothing to do with hating sports and everything to do with … traffic? Traffic in the area is already bad as it is, what with the shitty roads and the constant construction going on. Tack on a new arena and 41 home dates a year, and I guess that makes it even worse somehow? Or, you know, just as bad as any Mariners game, only across more days of the year. Winter and spring days. Rainy, cold, dark days.
I have a hard time taking the port seriously in this matter. The port isn’t going anywhere, those jobs aren’t moving anywhere else, and traffic won’t really be impacted AT ALL. You get off work at a dedicated 4:30 every day! With Sonics games starting at 7pm, most fans won’t get there until 6:30-7:00. There will be a number showing up to SoDo early, but that number isn’t high, and they’ll most likely be clogging up Pioneer Square anyway because that’s where all the good bars are! AND, anyone who shows up early will likely show up no earlier than 5pm, which means you’ve got a solid half hour to get the fuck out of dodge on game days.
And if the port is just against this so it can angle for better roads and overpasses and all that, then why don’t they just pull their heads out and realize: the roads and overpasses won’t come if there’s no reason to build them. Having an arena, and building up the business district down there, will do everything to get the city and state to improve SoDo. Having nothing there will continue to have the government ignore it as they’ve done all along.
Of course, the ports aren’t the only group with a problem with the proposed location. The biggest road block thus far is the Seattle Mariners. Surprise, surprise. Yeah, they’ve shut their stupid traps after initial outbursts by Lincoln and Armstrong when we first heard about this deal (assholes that they are; DIE ALREADY!), but make no mistake, they are playing hard and fast with the politics behind the scenes. They’ve got councilmembers in their pockets and they’re not afraid to call in favors when it suits their interests. You know, their ONLY interests: making money and making more money. Not what’s good for the city, what’s good for local sports fans, what’s good for local businesses; just what’s good for their own pockets. It’s how they run their own organization (not spending money on players, not putting a winning product on the field, a field these fans GAVE them for free), so why should we expect them to be any different when it comes to something like this?
Speaking of politics, you can’t ignore the politicians. Ineffectual, do-nothing politicians. If the city council passes on the Arena Deal, then you can look no further than these dirty politicians and their dirty politics. Because they surely have eyes on the Mayor’s office, and they’ll do anything they can to make the current mayor look foolish. McGinn bringing the Sonics back to Seattle will almost guarantee him another term. Failing to do so will ultimately be his final nail. And I think there are enough politicians on the council against either the mayor or the location of this proposed arena to kill this thing. My gut has absolutely no faith in the process of Seattle’s government; I hope it’s proven wrong.
When you add it all up, I don’t see how you can be REMOTELY confident in getting this Arena Deal passed. There are so many factions pushing against this thing. If we didn’t have some of the most passionate basketball fans in the entire country, this thing would already be dead. But, I don’t think even passion is going to be enough. When I say that I don’t think the Sonics will ever come back to Seattle, this is part of what I’ve been talking about all along. You can’t get anything done in Seattle. Say what you will about corrupt Chicago city politicians, but at least they get shit done! In Seattle, shit man. This city is a fucking joke. Someone should just drop an atomic bomb on this city and start the fuck over.