Originally published in the Seattle Times on April 21st, 2013.
Meanwhile, barely noticed in La La Land:
Seattle City Council member and longtime scribe Jean Godden dusted off her reporter’s cap for a recent tour of “L.A. Live, the glitzy entertainment complex in the heart of L.A.’s downtown.”
A spin through the complex — Staples Center arena, surrounded by hotels, a massive theater, a slew of restaurants, a convention center, and enough strobes and lighted signs to make Tokyo blush — was part of a Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce “study mission.”
Godden’s take: “It’s easy to get blinded. … Everywhere you look, there’s enough stimuli to power an electrical substation.”
It’d be easy to scoff at the whole, decidedly un-Seattle, scene, except for suspicion that the visual eyesore might be a model that Bay Area resident Chris “It’s All About the Children” Hansen will attempt to replicate here in Jet City, using a shoehorned sports arena as a tax-sheltered economic engine to power a mega-profitable entertainment district.
“It’s obvious that those who would build a new arena in Sodo are thinking in a similar vein,” Godden reports. “Although it’s difficult to imagine that such an over-the-top complex could be replicated in Seattle.”
Uh, yeah. Every bit as difficult to imagine as the Seattle City Council coughing up corporate welfare for yet another sports arena, and its mayor going hat-in-hand to the bag man for a quasi-criminal enterprise known as the NBA.
More happy tidings:
Speaking of Which: Raise your hand if you’d feel better if city Chamber types were embarking on “study missions” to towns with a bit less neon and a lot more family wage jobs.