Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seattle goes to war

The following public commentary is offered free-of-charge, with no endorsement by any entity other than my own wandering mind. . .

If you're paying attention, you know there's a court case going on over in Seattle at the moment, pitting the city of Seattle against the current owners of the Seattle Supersonics. These owners are trying to move the team to Oklahoma City; Seattle is trying to hold them to the final two years of their lease in Key Arena. I won't go into the particulars. . .you can read all the details on the Seattle P-I or Seattle Times websites.

What's unfortunate is that, in many ways, it's coming down to a Seattle vs. Oklahoma City brawl. Message boards are filling up with all sorts of vitriol against those "okie hicks from the dust bowl" and those "latte-sippin' hippies from the arctic." Of course, the mismanagement and general buffoonery of the Sonics ownership, made up of some of Oklahoma City's "finest business people," certainly has left many in the northwest wondering just how dumb these Sooners must be? And the high-stepping, seemingly self-serving behavior of former owner Howard Schultz, and the Washington politicians, has left a bad taste in the mouth of those down southeast. Still, it's unfortunate that two cities have to end up hating on each other so much, just because a few civic bigwigs can't get their act together.

Take Two.

Yesterday it was anounced that the General Accounting Office sided with Boeing in their protest of the Air Force decision to pay a European company billions of dollars to build airborne refueling tankers. Which means the Air Force most likely will go back and revisit the decision, opening it back up for bids and going through the whole process again (which, btw, is costing us taxpayers quite a bit of money).

Most of those tankers would have been built, or at least finished, in a yet-to-be-built plant in Mobile, Alabama. The citizens of Mobile were planning on this as a boon to their economy, an entrance into the big-boy world of the aerospace business. And I'm sure they're pretty miffed at the GAO decision. Here in Seattle, those that care are too busy celebrating to care much about the feelings of Alabamians, but I've checked a message board or two from the Mobile area, and sure enough - Seattlites are "rude," "have no manners," "cheat and steal and lie," Boeing is a "monopoly," etc. etc. etc.

And as the case continues to roll along, as new decisions are made, I'm sure more feelings will get hurt, more sparks will fly.

Really, Seattle used to be such a nice place. Live and let live, enjoy the geoducks and rain and don't worry about what others think. Now it seems Seattle is in a war of words with all these other cities and their (fine?) citizens.

And it's just too bad. I'm sure Oklahoma City is a nice enough place (I once took a nap through there); and Mobile is probably made up of some fine folks. But in the worlds of Professional Sports and International Business, the stakes become high, and it seems the commoners get crushed by the owners/politicians/CEOs.

Maybe that's why I'm a pastor and not a multi-millionaire business owner. I'm just too nice, wanting everybody to get along and treat each other nicely. I wouldn't have the heart to create this little wars, just to make a buck.

Although, and I guess this is the one positive thing out of all this; it's a lot more exciting than the ongoing slog that is the 2008 Presidential campaign.

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