Brad and I will be dominating the AM radio waves with a 50,000 watt stick. We will be hosting KRKO 1380′s The Locker Room on Saturday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Our good friend Maury Eskenazi can’t do his regular hosting duties, so he was kind enough to let us turn his show into a zoo. We will be attacking all kinds of topics and having a few guests as well.
You can tune in on the regular radio dial at 1380 AM or tune in on the fancy internet.
- Fantasy baseball with Andy Greenberg from Arizona 620 in Phoenix and Fan Ball Weekly. You can find his podcast at ArizonaSports.com, facebook.com/FanBallWeekly, the Podcast Twitter: @FanBallWeekly, iTunes (search Fantasy Baseball Weekly) or his personal twitter: @AndyTheG
- NFL Draft with Josh Deceuster from Draft Breakdown and @DB_JoshD on Twitter
- Entertainment with guitarist Mischa Kianne from the band Witchburn
Other topics that are going to get ran through are Sounders, players committing to the NBA draft, Mariners, Brady Quinn, Peyton Siva, Emerald Downs and the fast food review.
Also, Dimitri Sandeman will be keepin’ real with us the whole show. You can always check out The Locker Room on Facebook.
The headline says it all – we will be on this AM talking with Dave Clark from Sounder At Heart – previewing the season as well as your regular slate of programming.
Click here to listen!
On this week’s segment on The Locker Room (be sure to give that a like on the Facebook) Ben and Brad discussed the Atlanta vs. Seattle game. Now, we both know the result of that game – but hey! Listen to this optimism!
We also recorded some sweet calls from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and played them for everyone to hear. They ended up being kinda right, but still funny none the less.
Give it a listen here, and hey – next week, try us live. You can do that by clicking here at 11:00a this coming Saturday, or tune into KRKO 1380 AM here in Seattle. Also, be sure to check us out on the iTunes. On the iTunes, you can get these sent straight to your phone. AMAZEBALLS.
Until next year – GO HAWKS.
We were live on KRKO this last weekend on The Locker Room (LIKE THE SHOW, FACEBOOK STYLE), with our segment aptly titled, No Fair Weather Fans.
The subjects tackled were -
- M’s Winter Meetings (or lack therof)
- Mike Leach gets exonerated
It’s nice to get more perspective on these subjects, as I realize we podcasted on this subject too. But this was on live radio! That’s worth something, right?
Then, if you are a true fan – you will come watch us up at the 13th Ave Pub in Lynnwood, where if you stick around for the whole game, Maury picks up someone’s tab, as well as opening night Silvertips tickets.
RADIO TIME! – and for those who don’t catch it, we will be posting the segment later in the week.
Check us out – live on North Sound 1380 AM. We will be on in a few minutes. But first, Ben with the Dairy Ambassadors.
I have received a few more emails from councilmembers. Larry Gossett seems in favor of the proposal. That is exciting news. However, Sally Clark seems to be more sceptical or even against it. Nick Licata is somewhere in the middle, but likes the proposal more than previous proposals. Here are all three emails. Brush up on what your representatives are thinking and don’t forget about the town hall meeting tonight at 7:00 pm at North Seattle Community College. I think it is a great place to get educated on the proposal. There is also information in Gossett’s email about the public hearing on Thursday, July 19th. Please, go to sonicsarena.com for all the information on the proposal, if you can’t make either meeting.
Email from Larry Gossett:
I would like to thank-you for writing me about your position on the proposed new basketball arena. I want you to know that I am favorably disposed to voting for this arena deal. However, at this point the council is still critically reviewing all aspects of this project. Therefore, as Chair of the King County Council I must wait until the entire deal is fully vetted before I set a date for the final vote on this measure.
Please be aware that a public hearing sponsored by both the City and County Councils will be held regarding the arena at the Bertha Landes room in the Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave. on Thursday, July 19th at 5:30 pm and that your thoughts matter to me.
Larry Gossett, Chair
King County Council
Email from Nick Licata:
Thank you for writing me about the basketball and hockey arena proposed by the Mayor for the SODO district.
The Mayor has sent the Seattle City Council a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for an arena in SODO, along with an Interlocal Agreement between Seattle and King County. Both the City and County Councils would need to approve the MOU for it to go in to effect.
The Seattle City Council and the King County Council will hold a joint public hearing on the proposed SODO arena at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 19 in the Bertha Knight Landes Room on the first floor of Seattle City Hall, at 600 4th Avenue, between James and Cherry. Sign-up for the hearing begins at 5 p.m. The Council’s overallschedule can be viewed here.
In brief, the proposal calls for a $200 million public contribution for a $500 million arena, with a cap in public funding. $120 million of the bonds to fund the arena would come from the City of Seattle, and $80 million from King County; $300 million would come from investors. Taxes collected at the arena rent would be used to pay off the bonds over 30 years. An estimated $258 million in city taxes, with a net present value of $106 million, would be included. The investors could extend the lease for five years up to four times, making this a potentially 50-year agreement.
The Council is considering the proposal in the Government Performance and Finance Committee, and considering a list of issues released in May, which includes closely examining the agreement for clear financial responsibilities and obligations, transportation and freight mobility, the future of Key Arena, the provision of City services, and other issues.
Here’s my perspective and analysis. This proposal is better than previous arena proposals, with less public funding, no brand-new tax to pay for it, and a significant private sector contribution. Secondly, the intent of the proposal is to address Initiative 91, approved by 74% of Seattle voters in 2006, which requires a fair value return on any investment by Seattle taxpayers in facilities provided for professional sports organizations.
Third, I want to ensure city services are not affected. We must maintain services to those most in need, and cannot sacrifice them. In addition, we must maintain our obligation to fund critical infrastructure. Seattle has a large volume of necessary construction projects, most notably the waterfront seawall, and limited bonding capacity. The seawall must be funded in the next few years, and will require approximately $300 million. I’ve asked city staff how this proposal would affect the City’s debt capacity, policies and construction needs.
The Council is receiving briefings on Initiative 91, and how best to calculate fair value. We must receive fair value in return for our investment, as set in Initiative 91.
Most previous arena and stadium proposals have generally focused on state funding. This proposal would rely on the use of City of Seattle credit and bonding capacity, so any potential risk would be borne by the City and its taxpayers, not the state. General obligation bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Seattle. We must determine what the appropriate level of risk is for a municipal government.
The MOU contains details that need to be fully understood. For example, one provision in the MOU would allow the investors to request that the City and County amend the terms of the MOU to facilitate financing for the private side of the deal. Presumably, this would take place after an NBA team was attained. Although the City and County could say no, this provision could result in a situation where the Council could either choose to amend the MOU and get a worse deal, or lose an already acquired team.
Under current federal tax law, a key tax benefit that accrues to NBA owners diminishes after 15 years; the “roster depreciation allowance” allows sports team owners to write off 100% of the team purchase price as a loss over 15 years. It’s therefore reasonable in considering the MOU to assume ownership may change over a 30-year time period.
I am continuing to closely scrutinize the proposal with other Councilmembers to reach a decision that can work fairly for the city, taxpayers, and the owners of any new franchise.
Videos of the meetings of the Government Performance and Finance Committee can be viewed here.
Email from Sally Clark:
Thank you for your email about the proposal to build a new sports arena to accommodate new NBA and NHL teams. Sorry for the mass-email response, but I’ve received a quite a few emails on the topic (2,742 in the last two weeks alone). This is the fastest way to get a response back to everyone.
First, I appreciate the passion from people on both sides of this debate. To many of you — thanks for loving basketball, hockey, and the spirit of community. To the other many of you – thanks for pushing for careful scrutiny of public investment. Thanks especially to those of you who have taken a moment to research the proposal, consider what it means to use City debt capacity, and who realize – whether you support the proposal or not — scrutiny is exactly what you want.
Most of you know this, but for the few who may not, the basics: former Jet City resident Chris Hansen has purchased the SODO Stadium District land necessary and would buy (in partnership with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, Peter and Erik Nordstrom, and others) an NBA team when one becomes available (another group would need to purchase and move in a hockey team). Mr. Hansen and associates would chip in $290 million and the City and County would under-write arena construction with a total of $200 million via councilmanic bonds. That debt would be paid back over time via rent payments, taxes and fees “captured” from the site and arena operations (city property taxes, city business and occupation taxes, city lease excise taxes, city sales tax, and city admissions tax), and an extra infusion of cash from Hansen and friends in any year the base rent plus taxes and fees fall short of the bond repayment amount due. The team owners would operate the new arena and enjoy profits off the activities inside. The NBA team would have a no-relocate requirement for the 30-year term of the bonds. At the end of the 30 years, the city and county would own the land and the arena.
Since we (the people of Seattle) are being asked to go in on building the new arena to the tune of $120 million, we (the people jilted by a pro basketball team once before) need to be appropriately cautious and do our homework. That’s what we’re doing through the Council’s Government Performance & Finance Committee. You can see the schedule for review and the video for previous sessions here.
Mr. Hansen’s proposal appears well thought out and sensitive to Seattle’s past troubles with pro sports. In order for me to put the City’s full faith and credit on the line I need to understand a few things:
· Why should the project include public debt? If it’s not just a safe investment, but mildly profitable, why not build the project with private dollars only?
· How will we ensure that the city’s General Fund is shielded from responsibility for the arena debt?
· How strong is the no-relocate clause? What’s our recourse if the team moves before the bonds are repaid?
· Is SODO the best place for a new arena and what might a third venue in that area mean for Port-related and other industrial traffic?
· How would use of our debt capacity for a new arena affect our debt limit? How might using City-issued debt for the arena affect our ability to debt-finance other major projects?
· How do we account for impacts to Key Arena operations?
· Are we a big enough market to support two more major teams? How does the size of our market affect projections for corporate suite sales, advertising and sponsorships? All of these affect team business success and the ability of team ownership to fulfill debt payment back-up obligations.
· Can we determine if the proposal satisfies voter-approved Initiative 91 that sets standards for public investment in pro sports ventures?
That last one proves harder than I thought to answer. The builders of I-91 couldn’t foresee every possible investment structure and, sure enough, the wording of the two primary sections of the initiative appear to conflict when it comes to judging this deal.
The path forward from here? We have more work sessions as the review calendar shows and a public hearing with the King County Council scheduled for July 19 in City Hall. It’s likely the Council will vote in August.
Feel welcome to contact my office if you have further questions or for more information on meetings. Thanks again for weighing in.
Sally J. Clark Seattle City Council
There is a town hall meeting about the proposed SoDo arena coming up on Tuesday, July 10th. I know Brad and I will be attending. If you are seeking information and want to get filled in with the details of the proposal, please come as well. Here is the email that we received.
You are invited to an upcoming town hall meeting about the proposal to build an NBA & NHL arena in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle.
Tuesday, July 10, 7-8 p.m. at North Seattle Community College
The proposed new arena is an important issue. Under the proposed memorandum of understanding negotiated between County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and private investor Christopher Hansen, up to $200 million for the arena would be financed through public bonds that would be paid back from rents and tax revenues generated by the facility.
I am hosting this meeting with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien to provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions, express their thoughts, and have their voices heard.
More details about the town hall meeting are available here and below. I hope you can join us!
Bob Ferguson King County Councilmember, District 1
Ferguson and O’Brien to hold joint town hall meeting on arena proposal
Opportunity for public to meet with County and City representatives and ask questions about proposed arena
King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson and Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien will hold a joint town hall meeting on the arena proposal:
Tuesday, July 10 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. North Seattle Community College Cafeteria, College Center Building 9600 College Way North Seattle, WA
“The proposed arena is an important issue currently before the county and city councils. This meeting will give community members the opportunity to ask questions, express their thoughts, and know their voices are being heard,” said Ferguson. “As an elected official, I believe it is important to meet with and hear directly from the public and the people I represent.”
“As both City and County Councils are digging into the details of the arena proposal and beginning to understand the potential benefits and risks to the region, it is critical we are also hearing from the public,” said O’Brien. “We are receiving thousands of emails on the topic, but there is nothing like getting out in the neighborhood and engaging directly with the people we represent.”
The King County Council and Seattle City Council are currently reviewing a proposal for development of an approximately $500 million multi-purpose arena. Under the proposed memorandum of understanding negotiated between County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor McGinn, and private investor Christopher Hansen, up to $200 million for the arena would be financed through public bonds that would be paid back from rents and tax revenues generated by the facility.
Last week Brad and I sent email letters to the Seattle City Council and the King County Council. We each got two emails back. Both of us received one from from Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember, District 8. Brad also received a response from Larry Phillips, Councilmember Metropolitain King County Council, District 4. The second response that I received was from James Bush, Communication Specialist for King County Executive Dow Constantine. The letter from Joe McDermott was a template response, the same letter was sent to Brad and I. Here is all three letters. There is a lot of good information in the letters.
Here is the Joe McDermott letter:
Thank you very much for your email.
As you know, in May, Chris Hansen reached a memorandum of understanding with County Executive Constantine and Seattle Mayor McGinn to construct a facility in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood with the ability to host NBA and NHL teams.
I agree that this is an exciting proposition and potentially a great opportunity for the region; and I know that for many fans this proposal is a reason to have great hope that the Sonics will play in Seattle again.
As exciting as this proposal is, many questions remain to be answered. That is why, as Chair of the County’s Budget & Fiscal Management Committee, I have brought together a panel of outside experts that will provide councilmembers with independent analysis of the plan. The panel is comprised of experts in economics, public finance, public-private partnerships, labor, urban development and transportation who have generously volunteered their time and expertise to help the Council better understand the benefits and risks of the proposal.
On June 5th the Budget Committee had its first briefing on the ordinance. Tuesday the committee met again for a presentation and discussion with Hansen and to give all members their first chance to hear from our panel of experts. Some have suggested putting this proposal up for a public vote; however, we are elected to make just this sort of decision and I believe it is our responsibility as elected representatives to resolve this at the Council level. The Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, and the entire King County Council, are dedicated to fully vetting the all aspects of the proposal andI’m looking forward to a robust discussion and to continuing to work with all the stake holders.
An important part of that discuss is hearing from you directly. To that end, the King County Council and Seattle City Council will be holding a joint public meeting on Thursday, July 19th to hear from the public. The meeting begins at 5:30pm at Seattle City Hall and all are invited to attend and give in-person testimony. Both Councils will accept written public comments at any time as well. Please find details for that meeting below:
Public hearing on proposed SODO arena legislation
Thursday, July 19th
5:30 p.m. Sign-up begins at 5:00 p.m.
Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Ave, First Floor
Again, thank you for your thoughtful input on this subject. I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you and other members of the community as this process continues to unfold.
Please keep in touch,
Here is the letter from James Bush that speaks on behalf of Dow Constantine:
Dear Mr. Kelley:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the proposal from investor Chris Hansen to construct a basketball/hockey arena in the SODO neighborhood and to bring NBA basketball and NHL hockey franchises to Seattle.
On May 16, Executive Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn released proposed agreements between the City, the County, and ArenaCo (Mr. Hanson’s company) to govern the financing of a new multi-purpose arena.
This proposal represents a unique opportunity for our region. Under the agreement, Mr. Hansen and his co-investors would invest more than $800 million in private capital in the purchase of teams and arena construction, with the City and County issuing public debt totaling $200 million. This proposal represents the largest contribution of private capital ever to a public stadium or arena project. It is important to note that all of the public issued debt will be repaid by the taxes generated from the site and rent paid for by the team owners. No new taxes are proposed as part of this project.
At the start of this process, Executive Constantine and Mayor McGinn established several principles for any agreement reached between the City, County and the private investor. These principles are:
· A new arena must be self-funding, and not rely on new taxes;
· Existing City and County funds and services will not be adversely impacted;
· Private investors would bear risk against revenue shortfalls;
· Any project cost overruns will be the responsibility of the private investors;
· Private funding should be provided for a study of ways that Key Arena can be modified to keep it a financially successful part of Seattle Center.
No bonds will be issued for arena construction until Mr. Hansen and his group land an NBA franchise, and the bonds will be repaid by the revenues generated by this facility. Under his proposal, Mr. Hansen and his group will pay for any cost overruns and any shortfall in revenue.
A panel of community leaders and finance experts examined the preliminary proposal and, on April 4, endorsed moving forward, while identifying issues for further study, including the impacts of a new arena on traffic and transportation. The King County Council is now evaluating this proposal.
King County is working with various parties to address any transportation impacts caused by the new proposed arena, as well as the broader transportation needs of the South Downtown (“SoDo”) area of Seattle. Mr. Hanson also recently commissioned a transportation study that shows how arena generated traffic could be accommodated, particularly on days where events might overlap with other stadium traffic.
And, while there are challenges in the SoDo neighborhood, including freight mobility issues, we must remember that it is the largest transportation hub in our region—with service from Link light rail, a Sounder commuter train line, three bus rapid transit lines, 21 Metro bus lines, nine Sound Transit express bus lines, four ferry routes, two interstate freeways, and a future deep bore tunnel. There is no other site in the region so well served by major transportation assets.
King County Council and the Seattle City Council are now in the process of review the arena proposal. Executive Constantine looks forward to working with these legislative bodies as their members consider this unique opportunity.
for King County Executive Dow Constantine
Here is the letter from Larry Phillips:
Dear Mr. Dobbs,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposal to build a new professional sports arena in SoDo. This is an important issue with high stakes for our community, so I especially appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter.
My family and I have been long time fans of our local sports teams, and especially the Seattle Supersonics. I appreciate the economic and cultural benefits of having professional sports teams—including basketball and hockey — play here and represent tour region to the nation at–large, and have closely followed proposals in recent years from private, local investors to bring a basketball team and accompanying stadium improvements back to Seattle.
Most importantly, as an elected official responsible for fiscal stewardship of county taxpayer resources, I am keenly aware of the need to safeguard our public funds from financial risk. These funds must pay for basic public services including public health and safety, roads and transit, and our justice system as local government’s top priorities. This is the lens through which I am viewing the new arena proposal.
As you may know, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Christopher Hansen, a private investor who proposes to bring NBA basketball and NHL hockey franchises to Seattle, have reached agreement on a financing proposal for the new arena. This agreement will now be reviewed by the Seattle City Council and King County Council, respectively, for possible approval in upcoming months. Because this issue is now under active consideration by the King County Council, I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.
Knowing the potential for future King County Council involvement, earlier this year I submitted a several rounds of rigorous questions to the Arena Review Panel and Mayor McGinn, respectively, for review and response. I continue to have concerns about existing obligations for other stadium debt, overall existing debt load for City and County government, the viability of this arena proposal given other established stadiums and professional sports teams in our region, the financial soundness of the facility proposal and its private investors, neighborhood transportation infrastructure, and public involvement in this decision. I will continue to ask tough questions about this proposal as this process moves forward, with a focus on protecting our taxpayers and limited taxpayer funds.
Thank you again for contacting me with your input on this exciting proposal for our community. I will have your input in mind as we move forward.
Larry Phillips, Councilmember
Metropolitan King County Council, District Four
King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue, Room 1200
Seattle, WA 98104-3272
Before I get going, let me first say that I think LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan, but that is a topic for another day. However, I think his beard is somewhere along the line of Sam Bowie, it just isn’t doing the job. As a man who has rocked a beard almost every day of his adult life, I feel that I have some expertise on beards and LeBron’s just isn’t cutting it. I see beards every day that magnificent, and I simply give those guys, occasionally ladies, a tip of the hat for the glory that is on their face. LeBron needs to step up his beard game to match his basketball game.
There are some great beards in sports that are so beautiful that they make me shed a tear. When Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants, went down with injury, I punch the couch knowing his beard wouldn’t get the amount of coverage it deserved this season. Baron Davis’ beard is an example of how to grow a beard. His beard has stood the test of time. The basketball skills have diminished, but his beard skills have stayed on top of the world. Another beard that LeBron should look to for inspiration is the facial excellence of James Harden. Harden has been sporting the second coming of Jesus since his days at Arizona State. You wonder how a non-basketball powerhouse like Arizona State could make tournaments and the Thunder are dominant, it’s the beard. Duh!
I have to be the one to fix what you are rocking on your face, LeBron. First of all, the only other people who rock your style of beard are rolling horses and buggies. The other person that went big with that style beard was Abe Lincoln. What’s he up to lately? (Too soon?) The point is Lebron needs to get the whole face going with the beard. No more of this grown out chin strap. The world’s best player should have the world’s best beard. If you can’t get the world’s best beard, at least try.
I know there are more sports beards out there. Let us know which other ones are there. Leave us pictures, links or hit us up on Twitter.