Ken Robinson

Put the new stadium in White Center

I had to laugh when I heard that carpetbagger Chris Hansen, the San Francisco hedge-fund manager who wants us to help him build a basketball arena in Seattle, said he would pay for traffic studies.

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.

After the Mariners objected to the plan to plunk an arena next to the baseball stadium we are already paying for, Hansen apparently has decided to play an additional card.

I think it is a bad plan from the get go. We already have disagreeable traffic congestion on days when the Mariners and Seahawks play. Hansen wants to add more traffic and use the big parking garage used by the Mariners.

Remember: Hansen wants to put up only half the money. You and I will be asked to put up the rest. If you have forgotten, you have helped one of the world's richest men build a stadium for his football team.

What is wrong with people?

It is possible I just don't get it. I am not a sports fan. I don't feel right about paying $100 to watch a bunch of millionaires play a sports game while I sit on a hard aluminum bench hundreds of feet from the action. And then if I am hungry or thirsty, pay four times the value for food and drink. I would much rather watch the events on TV (which I also don't do.) I'm just not a sports fan. That is why I can take an objective view. My opinion is not colored by my deep  and blind affection for a team.

I saw a picture of a couple of Sonics fans in their special shirts and hats at a hearing on the proposal. They look serious about their interest in basketball. I can understand that.
But what I can understand is why we should help them pay for an activity that is enjoyed by an average of only 14,000 people per game (when the Sonics were here before).

When the Kingdome was first proposed, in the misty days before Seattle had a first football franchise, some wise people wanted it to be placed in Kent. It made a lot of sense. But then King County Executive John Spellman engineered the placement of it where the current football stadium resides. Why? To benefit some powerful downtown business interests.

If there must be a basketball team here, don't put it downtown where all the congestion is now. Here is an alternative proposal: put the basketball stadium in White Center. It is an area of the city that could best benefit by a little rehab. Placing the stadium there could greatly enhance the community by bringing the same economics benefits that would accrue to the SODO area. Land would be much cheaper. In fact, there is land available now where the old Park Lake Homes once were. Maybe the county would sell that land for a sports arena.

Tassel-toed Chris Hansen doesn't live in Seattle. It seems fair that anyone who is able to bring about great change in a community should have to live with those changes. And pay for it himself.

I think McGinn is wrong on this too. It seems odd for him to be embracing this project and cozying up to Hansen.

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