When we rejected previous arena proposals, ultimately leading to the [Sonics'] departure, it was because we collectively determined that keeping the Sonics was not worth the price being asked. This deal is better. It's not perfect. It's not free. But it's a helluva lot less costly and less risky to taxpayers than anything we've seen before or anything we're likely to be offered in the future.
The fact that when it comes down to dollars and cents this deal is likely to be better for Chris Hansen and his partners than it is for taxpayers is beside the point. If we want the Sonics (and possibly an NHL franchise too) it's gonna cost us something. The decision council members have to make is whether this cultural amenity is worth the price of admission, or whether we're going to continue to hold out in the hope of an even better deal.To be fair to Goldy, he opens his post by saying that he's "not yet taking a position" on the arena proposal. But I can't help but think the only reason he doesn't seem to see any deal that involves taxpayer financing as the massive public subsidy to private, for-profit business that it is, is that asserting so would put our resident cantankerous liberal on the same side of an issue as the editorial board of the Seattle Times.
I think his blind spot is made apparent earlier in his post:
Parks and libraries are free and accessible to everyone. Transportation infrastructure benefits everyone, whether you use it directly or not. Ditto public education. I'm just going to quote myself from the comments section: If you pay $50+ to make use of a facility, and the overwhelming majority of that money goes into the pockets of team owners, the league, and Ticketbastard...IT IS NOT A PUBLIC AMENITY.
That said, one could make the same claim about taxpayer investments in parks, libraries, museums, opera houses, zoos, and other public amenities. Yet all of these investments collectively improve our region's overall quality of life, even if most taxpayers don't avail themselves of all of them.
Look, sports are great. I think it would be dandy if Seattle had an NBA and/or NHL team. I'm all for it. But let teams and leagues buy the land and build the palatial arenas they require themselves.