We lost. #Robbed
The Seattle City Council voted down the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation by a 5-4 vote. The corrupt opposition spent enough money on lawyers and messaging campaigns to defeat the legitimate Will of the People, convincing a five-vote majority of Seattle City Councilmembers to betray Sonics fans yet again. This is devastating to the hopes that Seattle will get an NBA/NHL team within the city limits.
LISTEN to immediate reaction from the producers of Sonicsgate:
The five “No” votes were: Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold, Kshama Sawant, Debora Juarez and Lorena Gonzalez. Remember these five names come election time. These public officials chose to disenfranchise thousands of voters by defeating the Occidental Avenue Street Vacation without any legitimate data to support their reasoning.
Their opposition statements during the vote indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts of the proposal, in particular:
- The extensive data in the FEIS and SDOT reports
- The absolute lack of data produced by arena opponents
- The negligible overall impact of eliminating Occidental Avenue
- The exponential mitigation value Chris Hansen would provide in the form of a publicly-managed $40 million SoDo Traffic Infrastructure Fund plus $20 million for the Occidental Avenue land
- KeyArena’s complete lack of viability factoring in building deficiencies, lack of private investment and decades-away traffic infrastructure
- The self-contained financing structure of the Seattle Arena MOU and protected public bonding component
- The overall public benefits, both economic and cultural
- The coalition of labor unions and nonprofit organizations that testified in favor of the arena proposal
- The fact that Seattle Arena would be the “Greenest” arena in the country, and having this arena is not mutually exclusive to any other important city need
- The importance of Seattle having a “Shovel Ready” arena plan in place during the window when NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations occur in 2017
- The contingent nature of the entire agreement
Considering the facts, this decision indicates bad faith by the city in fulfilling its civic obligation to act diligently regarding the Seattle Arena MOU that was approved by the Seattle City Council and King County Council in 2012. This MOU expires at the end of 2017, and nearly the entire five-year duration has been spent producing extensive studies and carefully mitigating any concerns, all of which provided an undeniable preponderance of evidence supporting the merits of the SoDo arena proposal.
Instead of approving this contingent street vacation, these five Councilmembers opted to squander five years of careful MOU vetting and nearly a billion dollars of private investment that would have benefited the entire region. Their lack of foresight is unacceptable, and we will lead the charge to vote them out.
Regardless of our defeat, Sonics fans can be proud of our movement. We left it all out on the floor and had the truth on our side. Unfortunately the opposition had the establishment power on their side, and the grassroots were left in the dust of the Seattle political process yet again. Sonicsgate will continue to catalog the evidence and haunt all those who share the blame in this ongoing saga.
We encourage arena supporters to send a respectful, firm and sincere email to the Seattle City Council today:
email@example.com – Voted NO
firstname.lastname@example.org – Voted NO
email@example.com – Voted NO
firstname.lastname@example.org – Voted NO
email@example.com – Voted NO
firstname.lastname@example.org – Voted YES
email@example.com – Voted YES
firstname.lastname@example.org – Voted YES
email@example.com – Voted YES
– Find out who is representing your district:
– Download the Seattle Arena Research Document:
The following is the sample letter we encouraged everyone to write before the vote with additional resources linked below. The facts are all still there, so you can continue to copy and paste elements in your personalized email to the Seattle City Councilmembers:
Please vote YES to approve the Occidental Street Vacation for the SoDo Arena. Below are several key reasons why this is an important, prudent and justified step for the future of our region:
– This is a unique opportunity in our region’s history. It offers our city a positive opportunity to maximize the infrastructure improvements and community benefits made possible by significant new private investment into our city. The vacation of the one-block stretch of Occidental Avenue South is the final step in a lengthy and costly EIS process. Vacating this street will put our city in the best place possible to bring an NBA franchise back to Seattle and creates an opportunity for any NHL investor who wants to bring professional hockey back to Seattle, as well as providing a much needed modern venue for concerts, conferences, conventions and community gathering events.
– The arena investment team spent many millions of dollars getting the arena solution to this point including acquiring the land, architects, economic studies, lawyers, traffic engineers and environmental studies. After considering impact on existing SoDo operations, Hansen pledged an additional $40 million in private money in a City and County managed SODO Transportation and Infrastructure Fund. They have acted in good-faith and done everything asked of them over the past four years, and the Stadium District will be complete with bike paths, pedestrian walkways and mass transit integration.
– Mr. Hansen has entered into Labor Peace Agreements with a coalition of unions to make sure arena workers are paid a living wage and everyone gets their fair share. Union support includes UNITEHERE Local 8, Service Employees International Union Local 6, and Teamsters Local 117.
– The SoDo arena location is in the area zoned for sports facilities. It is also in the largest transportation hub in the region with Link Light Rail, a Sounder train line, three bus rapid transit lines, 21 Metro bus lines, 9 Sound Transit Express bus lines, 2 state ferry routes, 2 interstate freeways converging in this neighborhood. No other site in the region has these transportation assets, which is why the two existing sports facilities are located there.
– The Final Environmental Impact Statement was clear that the arena would have no significant unavoidable adverse impacts to the street system, public transportation, bicyclists or bicycle corridors. The FEIS found that the change in traffic volumes caused by the arena falls with the range of current experience and that this portion of Occidental does not serve as a critical function to the street grid and does not serve a critical function to maintain freight mobility.
– The current proposal would make Seattle owners of the “Greenest arena in the country,” which we should embrace as our region leads the way on environmental and climate issues.
– The SDOT commissioned multi-modal transportation and parking study found that Arena event traffic is well within the existing parking, traffic and transit capacity of the area. The Seattle Downtown Design Review Board voted unanimously to approve the arena design and the Design Review Commission voted unanimously after 10 meetings over a period of 3 years to recommend approval of the street vacation.
– Arena opponents have failed to provide any legitimate data supporting their claims against the arena, relying instead on unsubstantiated fear tactics and an unethical disinformation campaign. Arena supporters are an organized local constituency that represents the will of the people. We will be heavily active in future election cycles.
– Unlike past stadium proposals, the SoDo Arena plan utilizes a revolutionary private-public partnership that protects citizens and reduces public risk to zero. This is not a giveaway to a billionaire; this is a local Seattle son generously giving back to his city with hundreds of millions of his own dollars invested to provide much-needed public infrastructure for the region. All public bonds are repaid by revenues generated exclusively within the arena, so only those who use the facility pay for it, and Mr. Hansen has included safeguards on future improvements that will revitalize the area with valuable infrastructure using private investment dollars for guaranteed, measurable public benefit.
Watch our #GameTime: Sonicsgate on Occidental Ave videos plus the full footage from the March 15 City Council Public Hearing and the Transportation Committee Meetings below: