With the Washington Legislative Session within a few days of ending, the pressure is on to find a way to pass state bill 6116, which would help provide funding for an improvement to KeyArena.
And, with that in mind, it was surprising to read Sen. Ed Murray's comments in this morning's Seattle Times. Murray told reporter Jim Brunner, "The bill is dead for the session. Really dead." Seattle officials begged to differ, urging that until the session is officially over, nothing is dead.
At this point, it is painfully obvious that state represenatives and senators are facing a difficult fight to get this bill passed. On the one hand, the KeyArena improvement plan is fiscally sound (or as fiscally sound as this sort of project ever will be, anyways), and in this time of economic disaster, would prove a helping hand to struggling businesses in the area as well as construction companies.
On the other hand, the state is pondering increasing classroom sizes, forcing teachers to take a pay freeze for the foreseeable future, and cutting benefits to thousands of people. With that sort of activity taking place, it becomes politically untenable to support funding for professional sports, regardless of the merits of the project.
Still, I believe Murray's comments came more out of frustration than out of a cold, hard assessment of the facts. Bearing that in mind, if you're in favor of re-doing KeyArena, I suggest you phone the state's hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to express your support for SB 6116. 48 hours from now, all of this may be moot, and Seattle's chances of ever watching NBA basketball again will become even more remote.
Ask yourself: Do the Sonics matter to me? If the answer is yes, I'd suggest you pick up the phone.