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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words

May 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Arena-deal financing faces tough scrutiny

Enhance existing site

I suggest that the CenturyLink Field Event Center, located between the two sports arenas, be converted to a basket ballgame site.

That way, parking is already available, traffic patterns are already established — including walking distance from the ferries. Local restaurants are established and could use the business.

By enhancing an existing site, the shipping industry won’t be interrupted more, shipping jobs and cargo won’t be diverted to Tacoma. This way the city of Seattle won’t lose the corresponding business and occupation tax. The shipping industry would have room to expand into the empty warehouse, which was purchased by a California speculator.

— James Hochstein, Bremerton

Mariners, shut your mouth

I understand the concern of the taxpayers; however, this is not about who pays for what, but the stance of the Mariners organization.

First, let me state I am not a huge basketball fan but it strikes me odd that the Mariners organization does not approve of a new NBA arena being built in Sodo ... interesting stance considering that taxpayers voted down building Safeco Field. But the state Legislature, with lobbying from the Mariners, pushed stadium funding through in a special session, forcing people to help pay for a stadium they didn’t want.

I do believe the majority of the money from the new NBA arena will be paid for by the owner, including cost overruns and bond deficits; did the Mariners offer that? No!

The Mariners (and the Seahawks) abandoned the Kingdome (which, even though it was imploded in 2000, will not be paid for until 2015), and moved into their fancy new stadium on July 15, 1999.

Since moving into their new stadium, the Mariners have played 13 seasons, finishing just over .500 five times, winning their division once with .716 win percentage. Over their history, they have finished 35 seasons, finishing over .500 11 times, winning the division three times and making one appearance in the ALCS.

In 35 seasons (1973-2007) the Sonics finished over .500 23 times, winning their division four times, their conference three times and the NBA championship once.

Hey Mariners, know your role and shut your hypocritical mouth!

— Ryan W. Brewer, SeaTac

Mayor taking risk with tax dollars

Seattle! What is with your mayor? First he wants to tear down the viaduct but opposed a tunnel to replace it because, “Seattle taxpayers might be on the hook for cost overruns.”

Instead, let’s just dump Highway 99 traffic onto the freeway and surface streets. Have you been anywhere around Alaskan Way lately? Minor traffic revisions, to allow prep work for the viaduct/tunnel projects while the viaduct is still carrying a large volume of traffic, have created major gridlock.

Now the guardian of your tax dollars is pushing a memorandum of understanding with a private group for public financing of a sports stadium. According to The Times, the public’s risk in this deal could be substantial.

Oh, and the effect on transportation — crucial commercial transportation — of yet another sports venue in Sodo is likely to be negative. The guy hates transportation, loves basketball and is OK with taxpayer risk, as long as it’s for a good cause.

— Eric R. Weissman, Bainbridge Island

Arena builders should raise own money

Why should the taxpayers open up their pocketbooks one more time to supplement a bunch of rich guys to build yet another sports arena?

If they can raise $800 million on their own, they can come up with another $200 million. Maybe they could sell stock like Green Bay.

Risk vs. reward. The taxpayers are about to get shafted once again.

— Richard G. Sproul, Kirkland

Simple question

If Chris Hansen is a multibillionaire, why does he need $200 million from the city of Seattle [and King County]? Why doesn’t he just pay for it all himself?

— Michael Dare, Seattle

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