Paul Allen Stars In New Ad For Stadium
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
The campaign promoting a new football stadium in Seattle is playing its trump card, putting prospective owner Paul Allen on statewide television commercials.
Allen's message isn't new: He is emphasizing his promise to buy the Seattle Seahawks if voters say yes to Referendum 48 in the June 17 statewide election, and his intent to walk away from the deal if they say no.
But it is the first time most of the state's voters will see the billionaire publicly pitch the plan.
The ad is the third major television spot aired by the campaign, which has become the most expensive ballot-issue campaign waged in the state.
In the ad, Allen promises that if voters approve the new stadium, "I'll do what it takes to make the stadium and exhibition hall a success." He adds: "But if you say no, that means no for me, too. I am not going to do this without you. You'll have the final say."
The ad answers critics of the $425 million stadium proposal, who have argued that Allen will go ahead with his purchase of the team even if the stadium measure is defeated.
Opponents have argued that the public shouldn't subsidize a stadium for the Microsoft co-founder, one of the richest men in the world.
Bob Gogerty, chief strategist for the campaign, said yesterday that a personal appeal from Allen was always part of the game plan.
The strategy is aimed at persuading voters they should be Allen's "partner."
"We've known all along that people have warm feelings about him (Allen)," Gogerty said.
Referendum 48 would authorize six new lottery games, an extension of the existing surcharge on hotel rooms in King County, and taxes on stadium tickets and parking. The project would get a credit for the $101 million in sales-tax revenue the stadium would be expected to attract, and a waiver of $27 million in sales taxes on construction.
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