Commentary: Street vacation vote can make great local sports week even better

From a local sports perspective at least – it was a "beautiful week in the neighborhood." In fact, outside of football season, this was one of the best local sports weeks I can remember:

The Mariners won their fifth straight series, the Sounders won, the Seahawks had one of their best drafts on paper under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, the Seattle T-Birds punched their ticket to the WHL Championship series for the first time in 19 years, the Seattle Reign FC won, and of course, what we’ve all been waiting for, for a very long time: Majority local ownership in the Seattle Mariners.

Finally. We’re not dreaming.

All due respect to Nintendo, but it was far, far, far past time.

I applaud the 17 local owners for taking majority stake – and I’m relieved that there’s now a tangible face that represents the group in John Stanton. A CEO who’s Seattle born, Seattle based, and has a love for Seattle baseball. Majority ownership that will attend games. Everything we’ve been begging for over the past decade.

And because Stanton is a former co-owner of the Sonics who voted against the sale of the team to Clay Bennett, I’ll even give him an early pass about this line, regarding a potential SODO Arena.

“If you own a house and somebody wants to build a big ugly house right at the end of your driveway that frankly blocks your driveway, you’ve got a right to express an opinion,” Stanton said.

(Picture of potential SODO Arena) Correct me if I’m wrong – but that doesn’t look ugly at all. I think it’s beautiful.

And this week got even better after a report that the Mariners, Sounders, Seahawks and Chris Hansen had reached a scheduling agreement, for a potential arena in SODO. That agreement will be part of an amendment to the vacation of Occidental Avenue, which the City Council will vote on Monday.

The SODO Arena Plan needs the street vacation, which needs five votes to pass. We know we likely have four – and the final “Yes” vote will need to come from Lorena Gonzalez, Debora Juarez or Kshama Sawant.

Kshama is likely conflicted, given her stance against handouts to private interest groups – but I remind her that this project not only adds jobs and repays bonds from only those who use the arena, but also that many Sonics fans still voted for her and against Richard Conlin in a very close vote that originally got her elected to council.

Plus, as City Councilmember Tim Burgess says, the Port of Seattle has still not provided ANY data that shows a SODO Arena would be detrimental.

So – Monday’s council vote has potential to continue our beautiful week in the local sports neighborhood.

I only hope for the day that the local sports franchises in SODO officially extend their hand to Hansen and say: “Will you be my neighbor?”