Guest Column: The stadium issues
Kingdome lease sends negative signals
by Maggi Fimia, Rep., King County Council District 1
I will not be supporting this particular [Seahawks] lease negotiation for the following reasons:
People want us to "work this out." I agree. I would very much like our professional sports to stay in King County. But the teams have to try and work it out, too. It can't be that we always have to give up dollars and not be kept whole. It should be a true partnership where both sides gain and neither side has to lose.
- It will cost the Kingdome $2 million--that's $2 million less that they will have for operations and maintenance, and $2 million more that Mr. Allen can use for the Seahawks.
- The general public and the council have had less than three working days to review and comment. Calls are coming in over 60% saying "no" to concessions and publicly-funded single-purpose stadiums.
- With all due respect to Mr. Allen, the public vote for $200-$300 million dollars of debt and responsibility should be a given, not seen as a generous addition to a lease.
- It signals that we supprt tearing down the Kingdome.
- Lastly, and most importantly to me, I fear it sends a signal once again that we do not have a bottom line.
But King County loses: It loses each time we sit down at the table. We lost $50 million in the last lease negotiations. We invested over $100 million in the existing Kingdome for these teams--luxury boxes, new turf, diamond vision, etc. This county incurred most of this debt because we were trying to get the facility open for the Seahawks opening season. What a short memory the fans have about how much this county has done for professional sports.
The teams bring this community together. The politics are tearing us apart. Until we sit down with the goal of having professional sports here so that we can all be whole, these emotional and very costly roller coaster rides will continue.