BY Art Thiel 06:30AM 07/04/2017

Thiel: Seattle mayor’s race has Sodo arena fan

One of the 21 people seeking to become Seattle’s mayor is a basketball fan. Michael Harris comes from a hoops family, and doesn’t like what he sees between Mayor Murray and KeyArena’s developer.

Photojournalist/news producer Michael Harris, here on assignment for ABC’s Good Morning America in Mexico, has new ambitions in Seattle — the mayor’s job. / ABC

His godfather was Don Meineke of the Fort Wayne Pistons, the NBA’s first rookie of the year in 1953. His dad, Chris Harris, played one year in the NBA in 1955-56, and still gets a minuscule check every month from the retired players association.

He was a University of Washington student who went to watch his Huskies in their 1984 NCAA tournament round of 16 regional match at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. Coached by Marv Harshman and starring Detlef Schrempf and Christian Welp, UW lost 64-58 to the University of Dayton Flyers, who had a reserve guard by the name of Ted Harris, his brother.

Michael Harris also claims, in a long-ago Seattle media basketball league, that he blocked my shot from behind. That story . . .  well, it could never have happened. Spud Webb doesn’t block Hakeem Olajuwon’s Dream Shake.

Aside from that, everything else checks out about Harris, including the fact that he’s running for mayor of Seattle.

Then again, who isn’t? Twenty-one is the latest number of candidates. However, a shepherd in Mongolia with a Seattle post-office box is petitioning for a waiver of the filing deadline. (Primary is Aug. 1; candidates and ballot measures found here.)

One thing that is incongruous about the candidacy of Harris is that he dares to offer up no agreement with city officials regarding the location for a potential privately funded, top-shelf Seattle arena. In fact, he advocates for Chris Hansen’s Sodo site ahead of the KeyArena remodel.

Heresy. Or maybe, Harris-y.

Chris Harris of the 1955 St. Louis Hawks. / Michael Harris

When it comes to tricking out KeyArena with private money, current, former and potential future city officials seem to have an irresistible reflex to salute, much in the way Peter Sellers’ title character in Dr. Strangelove can’t keep his prosthetic hand from offering a Nazi salute.

The electeds’ urgency to solve financially for the Seattle Center, a department of the city, offers tremendous leverage for Tim Leiweke, leader of the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group, whose $564 million bid won the right to negotiate the fix-up.

The city’s eagerness could be a vulnerability when the difficult task begins of negotiating with OVG for the best deal for a music-first venue that is based on the presumption that the potential return of the NBA is a mere dot on the horizon.

Because hoops is a lifetime passion for Harris, while returning the Sonics means nothing to Ed Murray beyond a distant means to an end, Harris thinks the lame-duck mayor is refusing to give Hansen’s project fair consideration.

“Murray has turned his back on Hansen, but Hansen’s proposal keeps getting better and better, in the place (Sodo) that is the only direction downtown can grow,” Harris said recently in a phone interview. “But stalling negotiations with him is a disservice to the city. Murray wants the Key outcome because he wants a legacy building and to dispel stereotypes about gay people.

“When I hear Murray bring up his sexual orientation as a reason, that’s where I draw the line.”

Harris has a point. Murray’s attempt to prove something about gay political leadership should be a sideshow, not a driver. Exploiting people because of sexual orientation is illegal, but why is sexual orientation OK to exploit when it suits an agenda that is irrelevant to the solution?

Harris is a longtime TV photojournalist, spending the past 15 years as a Seattle-based producer for ABC News. He describes himself as a pro-business progressive Democrat and a longtime environmental activist regarding protection for whales. He’s also an advocate for gay rights; he just doesn’t think sexual orientation is relevant to the arena decision.

On his official site that discusses his platform views, he has a plank on all the significant Seattle issues — homelessness, taxes, sanctuary city, police reform, transportation, etc. — but saves his longest essay for the arena. A choice of the remodeled Key, he writes:

 . . . constricts an important neighborhood in Seattle, offers no real economic development to the city or an opportunity to address other pressing issues like housing availability, and most importantly, offers no real chance of bringing the NBA back to Seattle.

In the interview, Harris said the Sodo location can be an opportunity to bring Hansen into a civic discussion about issues beyond sports.

“We could get things out of the Hansen group like what we saw with Amazon,” Harris said, referring to the May announcement that Amazon would donate funds and land to build a Mary’s Place Family Shelter in its Seattle headquarters campus, housing more than 200 a night.  “It can be more than the Lander Street Bridge. Our leadership compartmentalizes each problem. They don’t know about cross-pollination.

“Imagine getting private funding for the infrastructure to help the homeless problem in Sodo, where there’s room to do it for the benefit of many. This idea of simply taxing the rich (to solve the problem) is a belligerent attitude. We can get a lot more out of business development, but our current leadership can’t get out of its group-think.”

Harris also talked about the assumption, promoted by Leiweke, that the NBA has no interest in expanding, based on public comments by commissioner Adam Silver.

“The whole dialogue sounds so insular and clique-ish” between Leiweke and the NBA, Harris said. “It seems all these things are settled in secret. The process is so corrupted and secretive in a lot of ways.”

Misunderstood by Murray and downplayed by Leiweke is that any sports-league commissioner serves only his bosses, the team owners, not fans or municipalities. If it suits the owners to have the commissioner slam the expansion door in order to ratchet up the expansion price, he will do so.

Any commissioner will prevaricate, dissemble and obfuscate in order to advance the cartel’s business interests. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has made public statements on both sides of Seattle’s place in expansion, the latest June 21 at the Stanley Cup finals when he said no.

“I think there’s still a little bit of ways to go before they put a shovel in the ground (in Seattle),” he said, “so we’re not prepared to right now embark on another wave of expansion.”

Perhaps until he wakes up tomorrow. Same with Silver. If Hansen tomorrow announced a partnership with Jeff Bezos, do you think expansion to Seattle still would be put off until the sun goes supernova?

Murray knows nothing of these intrigues; he knows about the cutthroat business of pro sports what Leiweke tells him. Harris is particularly galled that Sonics fans are again being disconnected from civic decisions, as they were in 2008 when then-mayor Greg Nickels and the city council folded a likely winning hand in a landlord-tenant dispute and let the Sonics go for a $45 million settlement.

“We’re leaving sports fans out of the decision-making,” Harris said. “Sports fans are good people and not one-trick ponies. To quit on them is wrong. Murray is worried about his legacy. I think about the legacy of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

“I love this city and know we had our hearts ripped out when the Sonics left. Getting them back is a smart move on multiple levels, but our political leadership doesn’t get it.”

A political newbie, Harris knows he’s a long shot in a field with many more experienced politicians. But everything about the return of the NBA has been a long shot, and numerous things about Murray’s tenure, including his sudden championing of sports as well as his career end, via grim charges in a sex scandal yet unproven, are the acme of preposterousness.

Yes, one Seattle guy taking up the cause for another Seattle guy over an issue that can have an impact well beyond the field of sports is, in the mayor’s race, a long shot. But it is not absurd. Absurd is taking at face value anything a sports commissioner says.


  • Jamo57

    I like this guy! Where do us Snohomish County folk send our super-PAC money to buy this election? Maybe we can get him and McGinn into the top 2 on the final ballot.

    BTW, Art. Any plans to set a SPNW precedent and write an editorial throwing your weight behind a candidate?

    As an aside, up here in EVT we also have an outgoing mayor Ray Stephanson. Twice I’ve assisted in interviewing him and have asked both times if he wanted to announce that the old Scott Paper mill site would be the next home of the Sonics. He’s laughed both times. Probably in the pocket of the ‘Tips. Maybe it’s time to talk about his legacy.

    • art thiel

      The new American tradition is to send all campaign money through the Kremlin for proper laundering.

      I’m trying to keep the site agnostic. All voters should be looking at more than one issue, but this issue is important to sports readers, and apparently a priority for city govt. I felt hearing other views was worthwhile.

    • Michael Harris

      Hi Jamo57… Strict donation limits in this Mayor’s race — $500 individual/$1,000 family. But somehow Jenny Durken suddenly got herself a couple hundred thousand in the bank — which, when asked about who put that money in, she refused to respond, drawing boos from the room. The rest of us have had to scrap to raise money, and frankly it’s been tough for a first-time candidate like me to pass the hat when so much reporting has been done on the 21 candidates who filed — despite the fact that only a half-dozen or so of us are actually serious about running and have the qualifications and major endorsements to be considered legitimate candidates. The establishment Democrats have also shut me out, largely because of my criticism of Murray, City Council and esp. Kshama Sawant, whom I’ve hit pretty hard on soda tax, wealth tax, police reform, etc. I’m the only registered Dem with a NO NEW TAXES pledge, which ruffles the libs who think they run this town. The 36th District Democrats — my own district (I live in Ballard) — wouldn’t even allow me to be interviewed, despite repeated requests. The only registered D in the race who wasn’t given that opportunity. They simply won’t let a fiscal conservative into the Club, even though I’m more progressive and accomplished than any of my opponents on a wide range of social justice and environmental issues. I am the “Whale Guy,” after all!! Guess I’ve rattled the cage. So… YES, every little bit helps, Jamo57. Dole out some of that super-PAC money in little $500 chunks and just watch how well we use it. Can’t imagine I’ll top Durken and the party machine, but some say I have a good shot at sneaking into second place and making it to the general. Check out my website and FB page, like it, encourage others to like it, and maybe toss in a couple bucks. Let’s right the ship. /M.

      Michael Harris
      Candidate for Seattle Mayor 2017


  • osoviejo

    I’ve got four $25 Democracy Vouchers that can be applied to a City Council candidate this fall. Do any stand out for their pro-SODO position?

    • art thiel

      Feel free to do your own online research and keep in mind it’s worthy to vote for candidates beyond one issue.

      • bugzapper

        If it helps (and it probably doesn’t, but…) my vouchers are going to Jon Grant and Pat Murakami. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Mayor’s race (for which vouchers can’t be used) will decide the fate of any future arena. You’re going to have to dump the clowns off the City Council for that one.

        • art thiel

          It is the council’s call now, and Murray no longer has clout. But after Jan. 1, the new mayor will have influence on all civic matters.

      • osoviejo

        Wasn’t asking you to do any research, Art. Thought you might have some thoughts on the subject as someone who has covered it for some years. And just because I ask about a candidate’s stance on Planned Parenthood doesn’t mean I don’t care about any other issue. But thanks for the advice.

        • art thiel

          Didn’t mean to be abrupt, oso. I haven’t looked at the two councll-seat elections yet. My impression is the arena is way down on many lists of priorities, but Murray has elevated it because he’s desperate to go out the door with a win.

        • Michael Harris

          Quick answer, Osoviejo — I stand out for my pro-SoDo position. Mike McGinnagain is pro-SoDo, but just doesn’t have the game to make it happen (he had his shot last stint as Mayor and threw up an airball), And for what it’s worth, as a Mayoral candidate, I’m a big supporter of Planned Parenthood — even as someone raised Catholic. I’m a progressive Democrat who cut his political teeth working for Republicans, who left me (or I left them) with a lifelong fiscal conservative ethic that we sorely need now in City Hall. But my first grown-up read was “Conscience of a Conservative” by Barry Goldwater, who talks about freedom above all else. And my take from that — as the late Senator’s was — is that freedom applies to reproductive rights. /M.

      • Kirkland

        One-issue votes can be a trap. Sawant was endorsed in her election by many sports fans simply because she wasn’t anti-arena Richard Conlin. And look how that turned out last May.

        • art thiel

          Agreed. The aspiration is that a single issue might be the tie-breaker for a voter, but not the sole reason to earn a vote.

  • mindful

    We need the Arena to be in sodo for the good of the state of washingston , I mean what like 300 thousand people were down there with no grid lock from the seahawks parade.

    The Key arena no one out side of the small part of seattle will even go there anymore. Why deal with the traffic mess that down in that area. and no parking or going be 100$ dollars or thousand of dollars to park. Or maybe free hitchhiking .

    Anyways I hope hanson builds some of biggest sky scrappers in the world on the land he owns with his partners. If they are unable to get the arena. I am sure amazon will help him build some of the crazy skyscrappers in the world with trees there. one the states in usa need beat china.

    One state going going do this say seattle if no arena in sodo.

    Then the rest of the state will like see that be stopped.

  • Playhouse

    “We could get things out of the Hansen group like what we saw with Amazon,” Harris said, referring to the May announcement that Amazon would donate funds and land to build a Mary’s Place Family Shelter in its Seattle headquarters campus, housing more than 200 a night. “It can be more than the Lander Street Bridge. Our leadership compartmentalizes each problem. They don’t know about cross-pollination.

    “Imagine getting private funding for the infrastructure to help the homeless problem in Sodo, where there’s room to do it for the benefit of many. This idea of simply taxing the rich (to solve the problem) is a belligerent attitude. We can get a lot more out of business development, but our current leadership can’t get out of its group-think.”

    Wow. Both of these concepts are faulty. Supporting SoDo so you can bilk things out of private investment to solve city problems? Yes, business should be involved in solutions, but setting it all as conditions of developing business in the city is a quick way to kill that private investment.

    How much more does the city have to request of Hansen to make his project palatable? I don’t see this as being additive or supportive of the SoDo project.

    • art thiel

      I don’t think Harris set conditions. Just as no one set conditions on Amazon. His idea is about cooperation rather than belligerence. Seattle is reaching a point beyond where government solutions in transpo are not achievable. Private help will be needed if private business needs its workers downtown.

      And we don’t know who Hansen’s big partner is yet. That will happen only if the project gets green-lighted.

      Try to keep the horse ahead of the cart, Playhouse.

      • SoDo Slayer

        Yep. Thank you. Keep it in bounds. Appreciated.

      • Playhouse

        And that’s fair, but it also acts as if Hansen hasn’t been more than cooperative up to this point. Relatively, the city has asked for far more from his project than it has from Amazon. Yet, Harris seems to feel there could be even more to get out of the deal. Looking at Hansen as the pocketbook to solve SoDo is a precarious approach.

        • art thiel

          Hansen has indeed been generous, and that is known to the city and Harris. I don’t think Harris was trying to exploit Hansen, but merely pointing out the biz opportunities for solving more than one problem.

    • SoDo Slayer

      Isn’t this about pride, ego, shame, and saving face? Mayor Murray overplayed his hand when he asked for more private $$$, and the Hansen Group anted up by providing 100% financing, more transportation mitigation $$$ as well as more $$$ toward the Lander Street Overpass. Yes, I believe the SoDo Arena proposal has provided enough. If SoDo homeless need to be addressed, then, let all professional teams jointly address them. But, Hansen Group has done enough.

      • Michael Harris

        Agreed! As Art says, I do think the Hansen group has stepped up big time, particularly on pledging 100% private money, transportation mitigation, even a little help for KeyArena. I’m not proposing putting the squeeze on them, because no squeezing is required. This is clearly a group of people who care deeply about the City of Seattle and committed to a prosperous, dynamic future. Like most of our corporate citizens, they will continue to step up on their own — IF we engage them respectfully and mindful of our mutual interests. That approach is exactly the opposite tack of our current tax-the-rich City Council and all of my opponents in this wide-open race for Mayor, who don’t understand how to catch flies with honey and promise nothing but belligerence and confrontation with our corporate residents.

        My point to Art in this piece is that a development in SoDo will spur economic development in the only place left for Seattle to grow, and out of that southside boom we’ll see real progress happen organically on so many other problems our great City faces — incl. housing for middle- and low-income working families, even an assist for our homeless community. In basketball, you lose the game unless you move the ball around, hit the open man — not go one-on-one all the time. When it comes to addressing these issues, from traffic to homelessness to even getting an NBA team back, the leftist, myopic cabal that now runs Seattle keeps going one-on-one, compartmentalizing one problem from another, not having the vision to see how one fix can spur a fix elsewhere. See the whole court, team. That’s how we win. /M.

  • SoDo Slayer Has anyone asked themselves where all those fans have gone since Chris Hansen announced his intention to bring back the Sonics and build the SoDo Arena? No one at the RFP’s presentation at KEXP May 11th or Mayor Murray KeyArena June 7 announcment. Of course the media was there, but where were the overwhelming throngs of fans? The City has merely supressed the fans support for SoDo by tightly controlling the narrative shifting all focus exclusively to KeyArena. No one is fooled. I’m certain the NBA and NHL commissioners aren’t either.

    As a resident of Queen Anne for 55 years, I have seen many changes and frightening growth that the City has shown no appreciation for by pursing the KeyArena solution. I have nothing but contempt for SDOT, the Mayor and OVG’s responses to Upzoned Uptown traffic congestion . . . CONTEMPT. Oh, and, yes, thank you, Art Thiel. Fine work again.

    • art thiel

      My guess is that the NBA doesn’t want to come back to a city-owned building in a public park, nor does it want Hansen as a majority owner of one its teams. So it is simply sitting things out until something emerges they like.

      • DAWG

        NBA has nothing to do but wait for their terms to be met. They don’t even have to express their conditions. If ownership and Cities don’t “get it” that’s fine by the NBA.

        • art thiel

          You’ve succinctly explained the joys of monopoly operation for the pro sports leagues.

    • The City of Seattle has done nothing to earn the trust of the Sonic’s fan base.

      • DAWG I had to hunt down this lone picture of Mayor Murray’s announcement giving OVG / Leiweke the nod for the KeyArena redevelopment on June 7th. Where are the fans? There are no fans. In front of Murray / Leiweke are a group of about 30 reporters / officials. There could be no more than a dozen fans present including me. Tepid. Underwhelming. Falls flat. Apathetic. Thud.

        • Michael Harris

          I found that photo interesting, too. Ed’s quite adept at having splashy press conferences with no one there supporting him. Imagine me as your next Mayor, announcing a deal with the Hansen group for a new SoDo arena. It’ll look and sound like game #4 of the 1996 NBA Finals. And let’s be real — even if someone comes up with a $500 million expansion fee (more expensive later), the NHL like the NBA will be extremely reluctant to enter into a partnership with a municipality on an arena that sits on City park property. Imagine a pro sports team having to clear decisions through a parlor socialist like Kshama Sawant and our kowtowed City Council. Seattle is now led by, as the late Don Rickles would say, a bunch o’ hockey pucks. Time for new leadership. Time to right the ship. – Michael Harris, Candidate for Seattle Mayor 2017.

          • DAWG

   Mayor Murray, Port of Seattle, OVG have all orchestrated this move to KeyArena despite overwhelming objections by fans of the NBA and return of the Sonics. Seattle Times is for the most part a PR machine pumping out one article after another in defense of KeyArena and it’s supporters. Readers of the Times have given up. I am certain the normal guy on the street has given up and has accepted KeyArena as a “fait accompli”. Mayor doesn’t listen. City Council voted against Occidental St vacation. What can be done?
            Port of Seattle funnels money and resources in support of KeyArena and against SoDo. What do you do? It’s not in the REGIONAL or City’s best long term interests.

          • art thiel

            It is possible that OVG/city won’t reach agreement on an MOU on Murray’s timeline by the of his term Dec. 31. Leiweke wants Murray to sign to avoid the unknown, and Murray won’t have to care politically about negative consequences in the deal after he’s done.

        • art thiel

          Murray’s staff knew this would not go down well with a sports crowd. They didn’t encourage any NHL fans because it’s presumptuous to anticipate that success when the MOU for the deal has yet to be negotiated.

          This has always been about music-first. I wish Lenny Wilkens had held off participation, but he was already on the advisory panel.

  • DAWG

    I truly appreciate these dissenting voices. A fixaction on the Key Arena by the City, Port, and OVG without critical voices would be tragic; yet, I feel that the Mayor may just get his way. This is not an enviable position. The City would have you think so, but I sure don’t see it that way. The City of Seattle and this Region can support both a KeyArena for Storm, SU games and concerts as well as a SoDo Arena for NHL / NBA. There are too many stories of bad decisions major cities make. This looks to be one of them. But, I do wish to encourage those that disagree to let the City Council know in polite and respectful language. Maybe there is a miracle out there. I don’t know. I know the NBA does have any faith in KeyArena, and it certainly isn’t in their best interest to be stuck there with limited seating and transit capacity. Not in their best interest.

    • art thiel

      City officials have bought into the 2015 AECOM study that says it will cost $150M in public funds to trick up the Key to be competitive with an arena in Sodo. Who said it had to be competitive? Who said it had to stay a sports arena? The city is rationalizing an inexpensive analysis into justifying the choice without considering re-purposing the Key.

      • DAWG

        Yep. Keep it small at Upzoned Uptown. Leave the big boys down in SoDo where all Industrial Strength Transportation Connectivity and Flow exists. I have panic attacks about Uptown’s growth and gridlock. But, SoDo is a transportation hub that can breathe naturally . . . inhaling and exhaling fans with much greater ease.

      • Michael Harris

        Totally agree with Art here. The AECOM study is ridiculous. The Hansen group told me they’re prepared to put several million into renovating KeyArena — it’s been referred to as “mitigation,” but that’s not really accurate. I don’t see a SoDo arena as negatively impacting KeyArena. It’s already making the City money. A few small fixes (i.e., acoustics) and it could thrive as a concert venue, continue to pay for itself, and not seriously impact the already-congested Lower Queen Anne neighborhood. Voters dished Murray the ball and he dribbled it off his foot, just like Greg Nickles — and no one in this wide open Mayor race, not even Mike McGinnagain, have the acumen and game plan I do to get the Sonics back. Time to right the ship. – Michael Harris, Candidate for Seattle Mayor 2017.

  • SoDo taxes could fund the public portion of a smaller remodel of KeyArena. Whatever taxes that came out of KeyArena after that could go into the general fund.
    At the exploding rate of population, two arenas, one smaller like Key seems like a better idea with each passing week of 1100 moving here.

    • art thiel

      Hansen in his 2012 MOU with the city is already committed to $7M for the to fix it as a temp home for the NBA if/when a team becomes available. Clearly the building needs more than that, but as I responded above, is there another way besides the AECOM report?

      • The city can choose to commit more of the tax revenues.
        The city could choose to issue another RFP for something other than a sports arena.
        The city did neither, pretended the only use for Key was as a sports arena.
        Once Hansen committed to private funding the door was open for KeyArena to be something else.
        But Ed must have Ed’s plan.

  • Michael Harris

    Michael Harris here (Spud Webb)… As I told Art, I look at almost every pressing issue in Seattle as related to another, every problem an opportunity to tackle others. “Cross-pollination,” if you will — i.e., strategic development in SoDo would undoubtedly help the city address lack of affordable housing, our homelessness epidemic, our traffic nightmare, etc. I’m not saying that the Hansen group should be strong-armed to do what Amazon is doing with Mary’s Place or put $150 million into KeyArena. They don’t need to be. I have no doubt they will step up and do what they can to help the city tackle some of these issues, because they clearly care about Seattle. Engaging our corporate residents in a positive way, encouraging real partnerships on these matters, rather than the overtly belligerent way my opponents promise to do and what our current City Council now does, is how we right this ship. We’re all in this together. And as regards KeyArena — as a “no new taxes” fiscal conservative (the only Democrat in this race with that pledge) I’m also opposed to public funding of an arena. That’s another reason I’m against the OVG proposal (along with many others). The Hansen group wants only reasonable tax breaks (no direct funding) and reform of the B&O tax, which I’ve supported for a long time. I’ve also set as a prerequisite that we “don’t let KeyArena rust away,” and the Hansen group is committed to provide some mitigation to keep that from happening. When SoDo happens, KeyArena will get a makeover and continue to be an awesome venue that makes the City a small bit of money every year. So I’m all on board. Plus, as anyone with any knowledge of pro sports knows, no professional franchise wants a venue that’s owned by a municipality and sits on city park property. Can you imagine the NBA having to answer to Kshama Sawant every time it wants to do something at KeyArena? Anyway, LET’S BRING ‘EM BACK! Go to my campaign website and FB page TODAY and “like” us, and help us make some noise in this primary!! It’s the 4th quarter and the game is tight. Need your assist. Thanks, /M.

    Michael Harris
    Candidate for Seattle Mayor 2017
    Direct (206) 465-6692


    • Steed

      Wouldn’t the ideal mayor know when it’s time for a new paragraph?

      • Michael Harris

        Well, I’m not the disciplined print writer that Art is, being the TV news guy I am, so no new paragraphs. :) No new taxes with me as Mayor, though, and lots of people think that’s ideal. And no new excuses for not bringing the Sonics back, either. As my friends Jim and John Paxson used to do so well, it’s just a matter of “moving without the ball.” Go backdoor if needed. Seattle is wide open for an NBA return, time to get us the ball. Not going to happen if we let the agenda of this current Mayor run out the clock. If we take Murray at this word that his OVG KeyArena decision was to “dispel stereotypes” about gay people, should we expect a better decision from the gay woman he just endorsed? It’s not about who you love, folks, it’s about how you lead.

        New paragraph — go to my website, like my Facebook page, vote for the Sonics and SoDo. Let’s make some noise. Thanks, /M.

        • WestCoastBias79

          If I still lived in Seattle, and not LA, you’d get my vote. It’s refreshing to see a Democrat call out the pointlessness of identity politics when it comes to getting something built. Obviously equality is important, but city government needs to govern and part of good governance is spending money wisely and knowing their role. Watching SCC and the mayor from afar is like watching caricatures of liberals fight amongst themselves to be the best fulfillment of every negative stereotype of the breed, while getting absolutely nothing done. It’s an odd feeling being in Los friggin’ Angeles, with all our problems, looking north at my hometown wondering if they can get their crap together.

          • art thiel

            Good point WC. Governance is more than throwing windfall private money at a city project under the presumption that it is the highest and best use for the facility.

        • Steed

          If you are going to keep stating that Murray is making his decision on the arena to “dispel stereotypes” about gay people, you need to cite that. Now. Or stop stating it. On a google search, that line only appears on your facebook page.

          I’m for the Sodo arena, not Key arena, but you need to backup your Murray quote. Thanks

          • Michael Harris

            Hi Steed… Mayor Murray said exactly that on his June 7th appearance on KIRO radio’s “Brock and Salk Show,” discussing his legacy, saying that when he came into office “there were a lot of stereotypes” and that he felt that his decision regarding OVG’s KeyArena renovation and putting Seattle on a “faster track” to get an NHL and NBA team here would “dispel some of those myths.” I’m not sure you can read into that any other way than that he’s saying his sexual orientation was a factor in his decision. I’m glad Seattle is post-orientation and that we don’t care if candidates are gay or straight; but we do care about the decisions our elected leaders make in office, and this was a very bad one, done for all the wrong reasons. It doesn’t matter who you love, it matters how you lead.

          • Thanks for finding that, I remembered hearing him say that but couldn’t find it in print anywhere. It’s the dumbest reason to do anything at Seattle Center. It’s interesting that he can’t dispel stereotypes by getting an alley vacation for the arena in SoDo.

          • Michael Harris

            Hi Kyle… Yes, a very dumb reason. I thought a lot about that interview when I was at the Capitol Hill Pride Rally & March with my 6yo daughter — how all the gains we’ve made in this City on equality and social justice can be so easily lost, if we enable self-entitled, establishment politicians like Murray and Jenny Durken and some of my opponents in this race for Mayor to make these vanguard decisions that impact all of us in Seattle. None of us are more equal than others, none should list their orientation as a qualification for the job. Murray just proved how faulty that prerequisite can be. So… VOTE FOR ME! Or at least read up on what we have to say and how we’d lead this City and demand inclusive, common-sense, hands-on leadership from all of our elected officials.

            The journalist in me wanted to better cite the Murray comment I paraphrased in previous comments and in the Art piece. Here’s exactly what he said, the link and timecode in:


            12:55 Salk: “You talked about the importance of this to your legacy. Why? Why is this project so important to you and your legacy?”

            Murray: “Well, you know, it’s.. As I said, it’s not something I ever led on, or, I kinda walked into it with the job, but for me, given some of the stereotypes, some of which had been reiterated recently, if the first gay Mayor of a major city can build an arena and bring a basketball team or a hockey team or at least put the process in place, I’d think that that would break down some of the stereotypes that exist out there.”


            Michael Harris
            Candidate for Seattle Mayor 2017


          • art thiel

            Harris is correct on all counts. Murray told me the same thing during the KEXP open house for the proposals in early May. There is no dispute that Murray’s position is driven by his perception that accepting OVG’s bid would help dispel stereotypes.

        • art thiel

          Harris now uses paragraphs AND he uses basketball analogies to explain his positions. I think he may own the Sonics constituency.

    • art thiel

      Michael has brought up a point worthy of clarity: Why is the city certain of AECOM’s claim of $150M needed for Key to compete with an operational Sodo arena? AECOM said the price to upgrade Key under the current roof would be $285 million.

      Missed it by about $280M, according to OVG’s bid.

      Why does Key need to compete instead of supplement? And given the development possibilities related to Sea Center’s NE corner, with KCTS, Mem Stadium, is a sports venue/2nd-tier concert facility the highest and best use for a next-gen Key?

  • Michael Harris

    And just to clarify… For the record, I (Spud) did in fact swat Art’s layup in Media League Basketball. Clearly he thought his 6’8” frame and alleged Hakeen Dream Shake would keep me out of the kitchen. He was wrong. :)

    • art thiel

      I’d ask you for proof, but you’d have to carbon-date it, and I don’t want the grief.

  • Ken S.

    Exploiting people because of sexual orientation is illegal, but why is
    sexual orientation OK to exploit when it suits an agenda that is
    irrelevant to the solution?
    Lots of ‘victim’ groups use various argument-ending accusations such as “racist” or “homophobe” to deflect criticism. But enough of that.I keep wondering why any sane person would continue to throw good money after bad – but then I think of the old Kingdome. A structure surely designed by a prison architect it seems. At least the city/county did the right thing with that building.