King County councilman asks prosecutor to review arena legal costs

July 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called Monday for the King County prosecutor to investigate legal costs involved in reviewing a proposed agreement to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

In a letter to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, von Reichbauer said the review is meant to help the councilman evaluate the proposal by understanding the number of hours attorneys in the prosecutor’s office spent reviewing the agreement and the cost of review.

In addition, von Reichbauer asked Satterberg to determine how much the county has spent so far on outside attorneys to assist in the review, and how much the office expects to spend on outside attorneys in the next 30 days.

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King County councilman calls for vote on arena proposal

June 22, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 22, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called for the Seattle arena proposal to go before voters as the $490 million project proceeds.

The announcement came Tuesday as arena investor Chris Hansen answered questions for the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. Members asked about the proposed arena size, why the arena plan must be agreed to before a basketball or hockey team is purchased, ticket costs for county residents, and — if public financing is needed — Hansen’s willingness to put the proposal to King County voters.

“Chris Hansen’s personal passion for basketball and his commitment to bringing back the Sonics makes him the best advocate for this arena proposal,” von Reichbauer said in a statement issued after the meeting. “My job is to be the best advocate for the taxpayers of South King County and enable them to express their views on the matter by providing the opportunity to vote on the proposal to build this third arena in the Sodo area.”

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Return of the freak show as Tim Lincecum makes pitching debut at Safeco Field

June 19, 2012

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants Cy Young award-winning pitcher and former Liberty High School star, makes his pitching debut at Safeco Field June 16. By Greg Farrar

With their season on the line in a loser-out playoff game in the KingCo tournament, the 2003 Liberty Patriots knew they something had to give. Read more

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Tim Lincecum scheduled to face M’s June 16

June 12, 2012

If all goes according to plan, Tim Lincecum, former Liberty High School and University of Washington star and current San Francisco Giant, will face the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field for the first time in his career.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner is having struggles this year, posting a 6.00 earned run average, along with a 2-7 record in his first 13 starts.

The Giants previously visited the Mariners at Safeco during May 2009, but Lincecum pitched the previous day, missing the Mariners series by one day.

The game starts at 7:10 p.m. June 16.

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King County Council committee to receive briefing on arena proposal

May 28, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. May 28, 2012

The proposal to build a $490 million sports and entertainment arena in Seattle comes under scrutiny by a King County Council committee Tuesday.

Budget and Fiscal Management Committee members plan to hold the initial first hearing on the legislation outline the county role on the proposed arena near Safeco Field.

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the County Council Chambers at the King County Courthouse. Citizens can watch the meeting live on King County TV, seen on Comcast and Broadstripe Cable Channel 22.

In February, investor Christopher Hansen presented to Seattle and King County a proposal to construct the arena to host NBA and NHL teams.

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King County Council to scrutinize proposed arena package

May 18, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. May 18, 2012

King County Council members intend to scrutinize a proposal to build a $490 million sports and entertainment arena in Seattle to determine if financing for the plan is feasible and if arena-related traffic could harm other businesses in the area.

County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, joined by investor Chris Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, on Tuesday announced agreements between the county, city and the ArenaCo investment group to govern financing for a proposed arena near Safeco Field.

The proposal heads to the County Council and the Seattle City Council for additional study.

The investment group intends to contribute $290 million to construction and more than $500 million to purchase a National Basketball Association franchise. Investors also hope to land a National Hockey League team for the arena.

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Off the Press

May 8, 2012

Friends care enough to say don’t drink and drive

Greg Farrar Press photographer

You young people who are now high school seniors were newborn babies when I started working here at The Press, so there’s obviously the implication that I’ve taken pictures of a lot of you throughout your 12 years of classroom activities here in the Issaquah School District.

You might remember those times, and in fact your parents might have saved the clippings! You’ve been one of the great pleasures of my job.

In just about a month, you’ll be graduating from Skyline, Issaquah, Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools. I expect to see you at Safeco Field or the Tiger Mountain campus for your commencement. Congratulations to all of you!

The important thing is that you all live long and happy lives afterward, so if you’ll read along for a minute, I’d like to talk about that Liberty High School DUI demonstration that ran in the paper last week.

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Councilman: Seattle arena proposal ‘has serious merit’

April 16, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. April 16, 2012

Reagan Dunn, a local representative on the King County Council, said the proposal to build a Seattle arena “has serious merit” could change the region.

Dunn and other council members received a briefing Monday from the leaders of the Arena Advisory Panel — a committee asked to review the feasibility of constructing a Seattle arena for professional basketball and hockey teams.

The proposed arena — a $500 million facility, including $290 million from private investors — could host NBA and NHL teams in South Seattle near Safeco Field.

“It is clear to me that this proposal has serious merit and moving forward it is my hope that along with the ownership group and the city of Seattle we on the County Council can continue to work together and see that this deal becomes a reality and a benefit to the entire region,” Dunn said in a statement.

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State orders businesses to stop collecting expired sales tax

April 3, 2012

Consumers should scrutinize bar and restaurant receipts a little more closely, after state officials said some establishments continue to collect a long-expired King County sales tax.

The county used the revenue from the half-percent sales tax to pay for Safeco Field construction, but the tax expired Oct. 1. In the meantime, the tax on food and beverages at bars and restaurants remained in place at many businesses.

“Short of auditing every business, we don’t really know whether they collect it or not, but our sense is that it’s pretty widespread,” state Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow said March 30.

King County bars and restaurants should collect the state and local sales tax rate of 8.6 percent to 9.5 percent — not 9.1 percent to 10 percent. Issaquah is inside the Sound Transit taxing district, so consumers pay 9.5 percent. (The regional transit authority collects a 0.9 percent sales tax.)

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Councilman calls for county to ‘closely examine’ arena proposal

February 21, 2012

Reagan Dunn

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor McGinn unveiled a proposed public-private partnership Feb. 16 to construct a Seattle arena for professional basketball and hockey teams.

The proposed arena — a $500 million facility, including $290 million from private investors — could host NBA and NHL teams in South Seattle near Safeco Field. Local elected leaders, including Issaquah-area County Councilman Reagan Dunn, lauded the proposal, but said the package needs additional scrutiny.

“As stewards of public money, we must closely examine any plan that seeks King County’s role in financing such a project,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to learning more about the proposal.”

Constantine and McGinn said investor Christopher Hansen, a Seattle native, sent a proposal to King County and Seattle to construct the arena. The executive and mayor also appointed a 10-member panel comprised of community leaders and finance experts to study the arena proposal.

If a memorandum of understanding can be reached among King County, Seattle and Hansen, the Seattle City Council and the King County Council could consider a proposal later in the spring.

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