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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.
Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.
County Initiative on Bonding
Citizens for More Important Things filed an initiative today (12/2/96) requiring voter approval of county bond issues for buildings costing in excess of $50,000,000.
Specifically the initiative states that as of 1/1/97 King County shall not issue bonds or otherwise incur debt in an amount in excess of $50,000,000 for construction, remodeling or maintenance of any building or other facility without first obtaining approval of a majority of voters. The initiative would also apply this limit to the demolition, remodeling or reconstruction of the Kingdome.
If the initiative is approved by King County Prosecutor, Norm Maleng, next week, we will have 60 days to collect about 60,000 signatures.
The initiative is the only way the public will have an opportunity to express their opinion on the expenditure on the upcoming $800,000,000 being discussed for constructing new baseball and football stadiums. The Public Facilities District, in charge of the Mariner’s new stadium, was a month late in issuing their report to the King County Council and as of December 1st, there was no operating budget nor lease.
To date the owners of the Mariners have not stepped forward to personally guarantee any cost overruns on their new stadium. The County’s own legal counsel has said, “Without these personal guarantees the lease would have no teeth.”
Meanwhile Paul Allen’s Football Northwest seems unfazed by opposition from neighborhood groups and UW faculty to converting Husky Stadium into a professional sports facility.
The County has made over $100,000,000 in improvements to the Kingdome over the past 10 years. It has a roof, it is useable and if the teams win games the fans will show up. Last year the Mariner’s had the fourth highest attendance in the whole American League. If professional sport teams want new facilities – they should build them, like the San Francisco Giants are doing.
We say “No More”. Let’s ask the average working family if they want to spend more of their money on building new sport palaces. We think they will say “NO” again.
If you want to help with the initiative please call Chris Van Dyk at 521-3987. I will also be appearing this Sunday at 6PM on Komo’s Town Meeting to discuss the issue of Corporate Welfare as it applies to professional sport facilities.