Gov. Gary Locke on Tuesday appointed seven civic activists to look out for the public’s interest as billionaire Paul Allen builds a $425 million football stadium and exhibition hall on the site of the Kingdome in Seattle.
Locke said the new Public Stadium Authority will be “a watchdog, not a lapdog,” exercising independent judgment in dealing with the powerful software mogul who is buying the Seattle Seahawks. The pro football team will be prime tenant in the open-air, 72,000-seat facility.
“They face very difficult decisions ahead,” the governor said, referring to the seven appointees who flanked him at a capitol news conference. “Time is short, but they are up to it, and I’m confident they will do a terrific job of protecting the interests of our taxpayers.”
“We are not here as a rubber-stamp” for Allen, said the new chairwoman, Lorraine Hine.
The authority is charged with design, construction and operation of the facility, although many decisions, including the Kingdome site and the basic design, already have been made.
Three of the seven were on a list of 28 suggested to Locke and legislative leaders by Allen’s Football Northwest.
Three of the seven picks were from Locke:
Hine, the chairwoman, and a familiar face at the Capitol. She is former House majority leader and served with Locke when he was in the Legislature for 11 years. Hine, now retired and living in Olympia, was former Gov. Mike Lowry’s No. 1 aide and legislative liaison after leaving the House. She’s former mayor of Des Moines.
Fred Mendoza, vice chairman, was active in the campaign and organized soccer fans who hope the new stadium will be a world-class venue for their sport. He is a Normandy Park resident who practices law in Kent. He, too, has a Locke connection: Both were deputy King County prosecutors as young men.
Benson Wong, a Seattle lawyer, is on the King County Charter Review Commission and the citizen advisory panel for the new Mariners stadium, volunteers for the Mercer Island Schools Foundation and is a board member for TVW, the state’s version of C-SPAN. Both Wong and Locke are Chinese-American and attended Yale for their undergraduate education.
Locke chose the other four members from nominees suggested by the four legislative caucuses:
Lucy DeYoung, a Republican who drew 46 percent of the vote for state treasurer last fall, was the House Republicans’ pick. She is a Woodinville City Council member and was the city’s first mayor. She has a background in public finance and owns her own firm.
Labor leader Bob Dilger was the House Democrats’ choice. He is executive secretary of the state Building and Construction Trades Council, and a board member of the state Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He lives in Gig Harbor.
Jacob “Jake” Jundt, a business owner and chairman of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce, was on the committee that helped devise financing plans for the stadium. He was nominated by Senate Republicans.
Sue Frost, president of Cascade Columbia Foods in Kennewick and longtime official of the Port of Kennewick, was suggested by the Senate Democrats.
Mendoza, DeYoung and Jundt all were suggested by Allen.
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