There are two ways one can interpret Angela Galloway's story in the Seattle PI this morning, a story which paints an ominous picture of the future of Sonics' basketball in Seattle.
1) Rep. Ross Hunter and the legislature is just trying to get this situation out of their collective laps, and pin the responsibility solely in the hands of the City of Seattle. By only providing authorization to the city to raise taxes - an authority the city already possesses, thank you very much - Hunter's bill 2252 really doesn't do much of anything. Looked at from that vantagepoint, it seems clear that Olympia is more interested in making sure they don't get accused of letting Clay Bennett's $30 million penalty payment go down the drain without any action on their part.
2) Hunter, and the city, are not done working on this. This, to me, is the more likely scenario. As in everything in politics, the devil is not in the details, but in the negotiations. Perhaps, just perhaps, Hunter is trying to keep this topic in the news by any means necessary, knowing that if he waits until spring to act, it will be too late. Lest we forget, the most common invective hurled at the state legislature in the past two years has the accusation that they have acted with all the swiftness of an Alton Lister fast break, when they should have proceeding more like Sedale Threatt.
If you choose to view this as a glass half-full scenario, then you might want to holster this quote from Hunter in your arsenal, in which he comments on how long it would take for a bill to be put together to satisfy the requirements of Bennett's payment to the city:
"These things are always done in three days at the end of session."
As it stands now, the city has rejected Hunter's bill, and the state has rejected the city's plan to use the hotel/motel tax. It is, simply, a minor impasse, not a major one, at least from where I sit. The important aspect to remember is that the two sides are still talking about the future of KeyArena. And while the aftertaste of reading this story might be bitter, remember that an even less tasty option would be this one:
No one talking about KeyArena at all.