Sonics fans celebrate as arena clears Seattle councilon September 24, 2012 @ 5:58 am (Updated: 9:56 pm - 9/24/12 )
Sitting in the front row, dressed in green and gold, were Kris Brannon and Jason Billingsley. Both are die-hard Seattle SuperSonics fans and regulars at meetings about the arena.
"I started doing this about three years ago," said Brannon, 38, of Tacoma. "People were like, 'The Sonics are never coming back,' but I never lost hope. I've been to over 1,000 events representing the green and gold."
By his side for much of those events has been Billingsley, who helps run a Web site called "Bring Back Our Sonics."
"I had to be a part of this because I just couldn't sit there anymore," he said. "It was making me crazy."
Should the Sonics come home to Seattle, Billingsley plans to spend more time with his girlfriend, who he said feels "neglected."
Several Seattle City Council members acknowledged the passion and persistence of fans.
"We've had lots of conversation over the past several months; multiple committee meetings and public hearings and lots of people coming out and testifying before the council, including our faithful ones here in the first row," said Councilman Tim Burgess, pointing to the fans.
The council passed the proposal on a vote of six to two. "I congratulate the City Council for approving the Memorandum of Understanding with Chris Hansen and his investment team to bring basketball back to Seattle," Mayor Mike McGinn said in a statement.
While arena investor Chris Hansen, whose mother was present for Monday's vote, can now start shopping for an NBA team, the plan still has to survive an environmental review and a vote of the King County Council.
The Port of Seattle and the Mariners remain strongly opposed to the plan.
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