I want thank a forgotten majority tonight: All the arena supporters who have been respectful in the aftermath of a divisive City Council vote two weeks ago - and continue to push for answers.
For the past week, the council has garnered national attention for the ugly backlash, following a 5-4 vote that coincidentally fell along gender lines. It was absolutely horrendous and reprehensible, the way some fans responded: the vile name-calling, the threats, the disgusting words rooted in racist and sexist tones. It was a disappointing commentary on the society in which we live - and has appropriately sparked a dialogue that needs to continue, regarding acceptance, gender equity and the way we speak to one another.
But as a byproduct of all this attention, the great majority of arena supporters have been unfairly lumped in with the faults of those who acted inappropriately.
And it has also shifted the attention away from the arena issue itself.
I, like most others, value the lives of every human being. But we also have the right to oppose legislation or a decision by our elected officials without being labeled a misogynist or a sexist if a decision happens to fall along gender lines. And our elected officials still need to be held accountable for their actions by being open for discussion and answering questions.
While I understand it was a long and trying week for many council members, it's disappointing that one of them would reportedly utter an expletive in an open mic, during the public comment portion of last week's meeting. It's a shame to see such disrespect after asking the public for similar respect. It’s shameful no one has taken responsibility or apologized since.
We still have a lot of questions - questions that continue to go unanswered: Why wouldn't they approve a street vacation for a street that wouldn't be vacated until a team was secured? Why take a stand now, instead of waiting until Chris Hansen applied for an MOU extension next year? What are their thoughts about the Port of Seattle, reportedly considering the SODO Arena site for their new headquarters as late as March of this year? How do they plan on making up for the lost capital improvements to the area, including financial help for the Lander Street overpass, that would've come with Hansen's deal?
And most importantly, what's the path forward?
Again, this isn't me glossing over a major societal issue - the reaction by some was wrong.
But none of our elected officials should avoid the original topic after the focus shifts elsewhere.
So I thank the majority of arena supporters who continue to question the decision without hateful and sexist language. It's our right to demand the truth - and to stand up for a cause.