Marcos Breton: Seattle, beware of arena dealings with Maloofs

06/20/2012 12:00 AM

04/18/2013 7:45 PM

It was so entertaining to spend Tuesday watching Seattle politicians debate building a new arena. If you closed your eyes, you'd swear it was Sacramento.

Before the Metropolitan King County Council Transportation Committee, Larry Phillips – a county councilman – said he was very concerned that a new Seattle arena would threaten the county general fund.

"We have no money to support the second largest park system in the state," Phillips said. "We have no capacity to support human service needs in this community."

The public cost of a $490 million Seattle arena could be $200 million, despite a far more robust business community with marquee names such as Microsoft, Nordstrom and Starbucks.

Did you catch that, selected myopic people of Sacramento? No free lunch or free arenas.

As in Sacramento, some Seattle politicians want to duck a tough vote by letting voters decide on an arena instead.

A former council member stated that Seattle's arena plan violates city land-use law. Peter Steinbrueck predicted that if Seattle laws were tweaked to put a new arena in compliance, "Any number of litigants would jump into this ."

It was all simply hilarious. If anything, Seattle is less supportive of an arena than Sacramento was.

Tom Albro, commissioner of the Port of Seattle, said building a new arena in the port's freight corridor would "be a massive job killer for us."

Of course, there is a big difference between the guy in Seattle who wants an arena and has lots of money and the guys in Sacramento who have an NBA team and don't.

For 50 minutes, Chris Hansen – the hedge fund rich guy – answered tough questions related to his plan to lure NBA and NHL teams to Seattle.

Hansen was poised and spoke of spending tons of his own money to realize his vision. Does that sound like the Maloof brothers?

No. Hansen's leadership proves he wants to be in Seattle.

The Maloofs' empty words of loving Sacramento are far less significant than their actions.

While some Sacramento yahoos couldn't collect enough signatures to get an arena measure on the ballot, the Maloofs killed the last two arena plans by themselves.

They've always seemed to lust for greener pastures where they could make a killing, spend no money and keep the Kings.

Can Hansen do that for them in Seattle?

Maybe, but why would he underwrite them without insisting on control of the Kings, something the Maloofs are loath to relinquish?

We'll see, but if Seattle and Hansen go down the crooked road of negotiating with the Maloofs, Sacramento has a message for them:

Careful what you wish for.

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