The folks over at Save Our Sonics have taken another big step forward in their effort to keep the Sonics in town.
They've stepped up and formed the "A Deal Is A Deal" PAC, which plans to introduce an initiative that would block Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels from negotiating any kind of a buyout to the Sonics' lease with KeyArena which runs through 2010.
From the news release:
“We are confident that this initiative is legally viable and – more importantly – that it will send a clear message to the Mayor’s office that engaging in conversations regarding a lease buyout are against the wishes of his constituency.And when they say they expect it to appeal to even non-sports fans, they aren't kidding. Chris Van Dyk -- driving force behind "Citizens for More Important Things" and frequent target of sports fans' ire -- is behind the initiative effort.
“This issue is about more than basketball and we expect it to appeal even to those who are not sports fans. When cities make significant investments in any type of public/private partnership there must be an understanding that both parties, as well as their successors, adhere to the terms of the contract. In the case of the Seattle SuperSonics, that means they should remain in the KeyArena until the completion of the lease in 2010."
"We're endorsing it because the principle behind it seems to be that major league sports owners have to stop kicking their fans around and acting like they own the bloody world and can do whatever they want," Van Dyk said. "The Sonics committed to play at KeyArena through 2010, and a lot of businesses made decisions based on that. The Sonics need to pay in full for all the possible impacts they have on the local economy. It seems imminently reasonable and fair to us."Perhaps in the whole lifetime of the saying "politics makes for strange bedfellows" has it never been more outrageously true.
At any rate, this is a GREAT sign for those of us that want to see the Sonics stay in Seattle. The KeyArena lease appears to be ironclad, except that the mayor has said that a buyout could, technically fulfill the lease. An initiative such as this -- if it can stand up in court -- would give the region some more time to figure out a solution to keep the team here.
Perhaps more importantly, such a mandate could persuade Clay Bennett to sell the team, rather than continue to lose money under the current agreement for an additional three years.
If you want to get more involved, you can find out more about how to do that over at SonicsCentral.com.