Posted: July 31, 2012
Sonics fans are right to cheer yesterday’s vote by the King County Council in favor of the SODO arena proposal. But the more meaningful vote was 11-7 in favor of a more informed approach and that’s good news for just about everyone.
Eight of the 11 votes were cast by members of the City Council who signed a letter yesterday to the arena developer stating that they won’t support the present arena proposal. They asked the developer to instead consider a revenue-sharing arrangement with money for SODO transportation infrastructure.
The other three votes came from members of the King County Council who cast fairly emphatic “no” votes on the arena because of inadequate information about impacts on transportation in general and seaport traffic in particular.
Put them together with the eight city councilmembers and you get a total of 11 votes in favor of a better informed, more balanced approach to the arena proposal.
True, six members of the County Council voted for the arena Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). But even those six members voted for conditions that require further studies of transportation and economic impacts before a final OK might be awarded.
Normally, conditional votes of this type might not be worth the keyboard strokes it takes to record them. But given the legal and political requirements that swirl around the complex arena deal, the 11-7 tally is important because it shows there is now a fighting chance to document and consider the full range of impacts.
Prospects for such a balanced approach appeared dismal at the beginning of February when the arena deal was unveiled in the blush of the Valentine’s Day season. At that time, it was presented as the penultimate Free Lunch. It isn’t. Maybe it will be worth the cost, or maybe it won’t be.
Yesterday’s 11-7 vote gives hope the actual costs will be included in the decision process. In the long run, that’s good news for everybody including all who want to see the Sonics return.
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