Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Arena debate between passionate fans and angry taxpayers
Special places for wealthy patrons
I love sports, and Chris Hansen seems likable enough. But I found his arguments for supporting a new arena absurdly ironic [“Sports can lift lives, bind a community,” Opinion, June 26]. He said that part of his motivation is to see “rich and poor ... just fans, bonded together by a single common interest.”
But isn’t that what fans were doing in KeyArena? And that didn’t work. Why not? Because there weren’t enough luxury boxes for the big spenders.
That’s the whole reason for needing a new arena in the first place. NBA teams can’t survive unless there are enough special places set aside for those with lots of money.
So let’s at least be honest about it. This isn’t about bonding the rich and poor. The new arena plan is about having a place where the superrich and the upper-middle class can cheer in unison, but from different vantage points, eating different food, with separate bathrooms.
— Rick Kosterman, Seattle
If we build it, shame on us
In his 26 June op-ed, Chris Hansen describes all the benefits to the community that can accrue from a new SoDo arena. He concludes his piece by saying, “This [building the SoDo arena in order to provide these benefits] is my motivation.” He says this categorically and without qualification. Not social benefits and money. Not social benefits and profit. Just providing the benefits.
If all Hansen wanted to do, if his only interest in the arena project were providing a venue that could bring the community together, he could have contributed the money to the building of community centers, basketball courts, etc., etc., etc., instead of using the money to build a sports venue — and then crossing his fingers and hoping that the projected benefits to the community will just sort of “trickle down” as accidental, fortuitous, serendipitous byproducts.
This is what Hansen asks us to believe: a real-life version of “Field of Dreams”: “If we build it, they will come.”
Just how dumb does he think we are? Does he think that we Northwest hicks get up every morning, dry the rainwater off our animal skins, clean the squashed slugs off our feet, comb the evergreen needles out of our hair, and then start hunting today’s whale to feed our families? It would seem so. An exceptionally dull third-grader could see through the gossamer argument he advances in his op-ed. Unfortunately for Seattle, the lure of pro sports seems to have precisely that effect on the intellects of otherwise-intelligent adults: It reduces them to exceptionally dull third-graders.
— James R. Cowles, Kent
Looking like Argentina
I do hope the Seattle property owners read The Times article, “Council: Arena doesn’t need OK of voters,” in the June 21 edition of the paper [page one].
The construction of the proposed basketball stadium will be determined by the City Council. The few council members will make the determination if taxpayers would be paying for the building of a stadium for a private business composed of ultrarich businessmen.
The citizens should always be allowed to vote on issues regarding the taxation of their property for private business ventures.
This city looks more and more like a miniature Argentina from 20 years ago; council members should read the archived Times newspapers from that period when Argentina’s dictating generals were tossed out.
— Allan Wenzel, Seattle
The Space Needle’s ownership
In response to Tom Hawley’s letter to the editor of June 22, “Our World’s Fair” [Northwest Voices] — one minor correction. The Space Needle is not now, nor was it ever, owned or financed by the city of Seattle.
The Space Needle was privately built and financed by the Pentagram Corporation and is currently owned by Howard S. Wright, who controls it under the name of Space Needle Corporation.
No public funds were ever involved, so there was no risk to the city or its citizens.
— Steve Knechtel, Woodinville
Chris Hanson just wants to make money
It’s actually very sad that people are buying the deal when it’s going to cost taxpayers oodles of money in the end.
Chris Hanson is a businessman and is probably very good at making money — that’s why he bought the Sodo land on the quiet, and will eventually sell it back to Seattle for lots more money, some of it yours and mine.
This makes me angry; I’m willing to pay my fair share of taxes, but want it to go to stuff like early education, immunization and dental clinics, transportation improvements, etc. You know, stuff like that — not to make him richer.
He even said that he wasn’t interested in improving KeyArena because it already belongs to the city — so he can’t make a bundle on selling back our land. Seems it’s fine and dandy for the Seattle Storm women to play there, but not quite good enough for the guys. What happened to Title IX? Wow.
— Mary Kathryn Myers, Kent