So the story breaks this afternoon that UW wants $150 MILLION from King County to help pay for the $300 million total it will take for Husky Stadium. This is the same tax package that the Sonics asked for - twice - and were shot down - twice - and is why we're about to see them leave as soon as humanly possible.
I voted for the Mariners stadium, and I voted for the Seahawks stadium. Sports teams add to the quality of life, and I had no issues with either team asking for public money. The Seattle area is better off having the Mariners and Seahawks and playing in great facilities, just like I believe the Sonics would be in a great situation if they could get the Key thing done.
But that was one thing. But for a private institution, for amateur athletics, to ask for this kind of money from King County residents seems pretty nuts to me. What if UW doesn't get their way? Do they threaten to move to Spokane? How can any lawmaker approve something like this without taking into consideration that yes, there is another school in this state that is trying to finish a renovation of their own right now? Isn't this providing a huge competitive edge to a school that goes out of it's way to boast about how many millionaires they have that are season ticket holders? The big, powerful Huskies asking for tax money for their playpen? Can't they just be like everyone else and try to, oh, I don't know, get their own to pay for their luxuries?
Ok then. If you are going to open the state coffers for UW, well, the natural question is, what about Milhouse? What about the Cougs?? We'd only need about $40 million and things would be fantastic in Martin Stadium. How about making it a joint request for WSU and UW to upgrade their football stadiums and ask for a cool $200 million? Or should we send Jim Sterk to Olympia right now with a plan to say "excuse me, but I GOTTA GET MINE!"
Maybe this doesn't bother you, or maybe you just don't care, but I can't believe this is even going to be seriously considered. UW can spin this any way they want, about how this is about the safety of King County residents or whatever else they are going to have Dan Evans pitch to Christine Gregoire and the rest (Gregoire is a Husky btw). But isn't this just UW elbowing their way past the Sonics situation? There are rumors percolating that in a very short time, a new Key Arena renovation plan will be announced that will be double the square footage, and double the revenues of the old barn. Doesn't UW asking for this just muddy the water and potentially make it even that much more difficult for the Key Arena renovation that is about to come out?
So consider this - not only would UW be 1) hurting the Sonics chances of staying, 2) creating an unfair competitive advantage by getting the County to help them recruit athelets, but also, 3) what about WSU???
I also don't know if anyone was paying attention, but Gregoire told state legislators yesterday that this is going to be a tight year in Washington. That this will very much be a time of not a lot of lavish spending. I wonder if that tune will change with her beloved UW now with their hands out?
IF you live in King County, call or e-mail your reps. Tell them you are against any public funds for a college football team. Or better yet, remind them that it's an election year and you will be watching very closely what happens this session. Amazing how little can get done on anything close to a controversial issue in election years?