Higher priorities than Sonics arena

Thursday, February 15th 2007, 5:51 am
By: News On 6

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ The speaker of the Washington state House of Representatives isn't impressed by a Seattle SuperSonics proposal for a new $500 million arena.

Representative Frank Chopp denounced the plan while talking to reporters about the issue Wednesday.

Sonics owner Clayton Bennett of Oklahoma City appeared before a Senate committee Wednesday to pitch the proposal and received positive feedback from a Democrat who represents Renton, the Seattle suburb where the arena would be built.

But Chopp told reporters that education and health care were more important.

He also noted that the plan was late in arriving and only two weeks remain before a key committee deadline.

The Sonics have rejected a public vote on a plan, unlike the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

Bennett spokesman Jim Kneeland declined to rate the Sonics' chances, but said he hopes Chopp will keep an open mind.