Oklahoma Gazette Editor Rob Collins didn't want me to use this phrase in my story coming out on Wednesday about NBA basketball heading to Oklahoma City. But okgazette.com's editor said I could blog about it so here goes - it was a hell of week.
Think about it. On April 14, nothing had been signed, approved or even voted on concerning the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City. But four days later, three bodies of government and a national board of directors paved the way for the move. No time for gridlock.
The first domino fell on April 15 when the Oklahoma City Council approved a lease agreement between the city and the Sonics for use of the Ford Center. The City agreed to let the Sonics use the Ford Center to play basketball for the next 15 years, while the team agreed to give the city some of its money. A wise idea on the part of the Sonics since taxpayers are handing over $120 million plus letting the team bail out of $60 million in potential payroll taxes.
Twenty-four hours after the City Council's action, the state Senate barely passed a bill letting the Sonics apply for the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Act. The program provides tax rebates on payroll taxes. The bill was sent over to the state House of Representatives where after more than an hour of heated debate, the bill made it through to the governor who took less than two hours to sign the bill into law.
The following morning, Friday April 18 to be exact, all owners of the NBA's 30 teams met in New York City and gave the final clearance for the move.
Signed, sealed, delivered. Stevie Wonder couldn't have sung it better.
It was a hell of week. - Scott Cooper