Martin Stadium renovation on hold

THE SPECTER OF politics and a heated college rivalry was raised in an emergency session of the state legislature late Friday The result was that the renovation of Martin Stadium, in it's current form, is now all but dead. The resolution, championed by four legislators with University of Washington ties, was fashioned upon an obscure state law written in 1893.

Unless an appeal to the state Supreme Court ends in a reversal, any stadium upgrade plans at WSU will have to begin anew and pass a much more challenging set of legal criteria as currently written.

Having won a resolution by the student body to help fund the project, Washington State officials were irate at the late Friday development and promised an appeal to the highest court in the state would be filed Monday morning.

"This is a group of politicians looking to score cheap political points," said a source in the Athletics Director's office who asked not to be identified. "And with ties to the UW, you don't think there's a conflict of interest there? Look at this thing on it's merits and tell me it's what taxpayers should expect of their public officials."

"The reason the governing body went along with it is because of the political power those four hold. I was told it was made clear that anyone not voting in favor of it would face political retribution to the nth degree from those four."

The "four" are Jackson Nienhuis, Robert Wayne Barella, Charles Starr and Ari Lipro Flair III. All are either University of Washington graduates or major contributors.

Mihlhauser denied there was anything at play other than adherence to state law.

"They really ought to have done their homework first," Mihlhauser is quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "This has nothing to do with the University of Washington. This has to do with the law, period. And if they want to upgrade their stadium, it needs to be in concert with the legal frameworks in place."

Asked why the obscure law, which prohibits "any construction of a duration longer than one of the four seasons that would in all likelihood displace indigenous wildlife in the surrounding area", has been broken throughout state history on a regular basis but never enforced, Mihlhauser said it was irrelevant.

"I have no idea why it hasn't (been enforced) but the proposed construction would negatively impact a number of wildlife in the surrounding areas," said Nienhuis. "It's clearly in violation of state law and we feel it our duty to uphold the law. Wouldn't you?"

Others were in disagreement, calling the action "disingenuous and reprehensible".

"It's completely absurd," said the Athletic Department source.

Editor's note: Please note the publication date on this article.

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