Commentary: I’m in favor of a vacation – I hope you are too

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We start with a simple question: Do you like vacations? I think vacations are great. In fact, I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t like a vacation.

And if that’s the case, I encourage everyone to lobby for a vacation: A vacation of a portion of Occidental Ave. South, opening a path to building the SODO Arena.

If you think that was misleading, it’s just as misleading as a recent poll that says 75 percent of voters don’t think an arena should be a priority.

Let’s take a look at the poll, which asks, “Which challenges facing Seattle would you most like to see the Mayor and City Council address?” It then lists homelessness, transportation, housing, traffic, cost of living and many other issues. Then, just TWO questions later, it asks if the SODO Arena should be a priority. If you juxtapose it with all those other issues, of course it’s not going to seem like a priority! But it also doesn't mean that all those people are against the arena.

My point is this: In order to build the SODO Arena, a portion of Occidental Avenue South needs to be vacated. The city’s Department of Transportation has already recommended this vacation. The city council has called for a public meeting on this topic for March 15th – one week from Tuesday – at City Hall. If you’re in favor of Seattle one day having an NBA OR NHL team – or both – please, please, please attend this meeting to have your voice heard.

And please sign this petition on SonicsArena.com, asking the city council to approve the street vacation.

Let me also make this clear to any opposition: NO ARENA WILL BE BUILT WITHOUT THE PROMISE OF A TEAM. No one is building an arena to sit there and wait.

But these are steps that need to be taken in order to be ready if and when we get our chance!

No league is going to take us seriously if we’re not prepared – and if we’re not approved by the city – to begin construction once it grants Seattle a team. While we don’t need to have an arena already built and waiting, we absolutely need all of the I’s dotted and T’s crossed without the fear of more bureaucratic red tape. This street vacation is one of the final steps needed to make that a reality.

Listen, I’m just as disillusioned as many of you when it comes to the NBA. I’m also disappointed that we’ve dropped the ball on finding a way to bring the NHL here without an NBA team first.

But I’m also certain that a renovated KeyArena is simply not an option because no league would approve a new team there. I firmly believe the SODO option is our best bet.

So, to the Port of Seattle and other dissenters citing this poll: You’re absolutely right. When juxtaposed with crime and homelessness and other issues, a SODO Arena should not be a top priority.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not in favor of the SODO arena, just like I’m sure all of your workers are in favor of...a vacation.