Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Friday, July 20, 2007

One year after purchase of Sonics, Bennett still hoping for public subsidy

Republican Clay Bennett and his conservative cronies are working hard on re-opening talks about keeping the Sonics in Seattle.
Bennett, who is in Seattle today, said he asked for a meeting as soon as possible. Bennett has continually said city-owned KeyArena is inadequate for his teams, but this week, on the one-year anniversary of his purchase of the teams, he said he wants to talk.

It's time to "re-engage on this issue," Bennett said in a statement.
While Bennett portrays his efforts save the Sonics in Seattle as noble(ish), he is not in support of remodeling Key Arena, nor is he willing to put forth the money for a brand new stadium himself, and there have long been rumors of him moving the team to Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

In addition, he traded Ray Allen and let Rashard Lewis leave - in essence giving up on this year's team even though he wants to get Seattle fans excited about his proposals for a new stadium.

Are those the signs of a person trying to keep the NBA in Seattle? To hear Bennett talk, it sounds like the onus is on anybody but him:
Bennett spoke with the P-I before leaving town Thursday and indicated solutions must come from Seattle's political and business leaders.

"This is not Clay Bennett's decision," he said.

"It's a public policy decision for this marketplace. Is the NBA important? Is the NBA valued? Do the leadership and the systems in this community want to keep the NBA and WNBA?"
(Emphasis mine). And if Nickels & Co. don't act?
"I'm increasingly convinced that the economic viability of the team in Oklahoma City is better than it will be here," Bennett said. "It (would be) the only pro franchise in the state. There's enormous enthusiasm for the NBA. There's not the dilution of the broad entertainment activities in this marketplace.

"The Sonics would be an iconic event for Oklahoma City," he said. "It would get the focus and support of people statewide and become an important event not just for sports, but for social and economic development."
Nice to finally see what Clay Bennett is really thinking and feeling in print.

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