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Conlin: 'Arena Doesn't Deserve Public Funds'

Lesley McClurg

Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin sent an email to some of his constituents yesterday. He told them he doesn't believe the proposed NBA arena in SODO deserves public funds. The backers of the arena proposal have asked the city and the county for up to $200 million in public bonds, but Conlin says that money is better kept in the general fund.


Richard Conlin says he's not the only one questioning whether public money should flow towards the 490–million–dollar proposed arena. He says some of his fellow council members are also not convinced.

Conlin: "That's speculation on my part, but I haven't seen people jumping up and saying this is the great thing that will really be great for us."

The primary backer of the arena is Chris Hansen. He appeared last week before the City Council to answer questions about his proposal. Conlin was not satisfied with Hansen's financing arrangements.

Conlin: "I see a project that does not have a financial plan and Mr. Hansen was unable to answer my question as to what's the need for the public funds here. Why do you want to have this level of investment?"

Conlin's email was passed on to pro–arena fans. It prompted a response from several other council members who clarified that Conlin's views are his own. We'll find out what the consensus is in early August. That's when the council is expected to vote on the arena proposal.

For KUOW News, I'm Lesley McClurg.

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