Cobb County Board of Commissioners Blocks Opportunity for Dissent
Read the stunning rebuke of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution as well as Chairman Tim Lee’s continued excuses for the process. These are behind the pay wall. You can comment here or on AJC if you have access.
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution
In April, Chairman Lee tried to present himself as a leader who values transparency in government. That was clearly a change in the attitude with which he entered into secret negotiations with the Atlanta Braves and the Cobb Chamber. Both the Braves (through John Schuerholz) and the Cobb Chamber (through Brooks Mathis) have both declared that if the project had been done openly, the people would never have gone for it.
It’s a shame that the Braves and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce are hypocritical enough to take advantage of our democracy and all the benefits that have allowed them to ‘succeed’; it’s a disgrace that they’re stupid enough to brag about it.
Surely our Cobb government is better than this.
Good afternoon Chairman Lee,
I read your pro taxpayer funding article of the Braves stadium in yesterday’s AJC. As an opponent of any taxpayer financing for sports venues, I have a few of questions.
You, along with other politicians around the country, tout the fact that these projects will bring in future tax revenue that will benefit the taxpayers via all of the new jobs the project will generate. Since the jobs related to the construction of the project are short lived, to what jobs are you speaking? The part time stadium jobs and the minimum wage jobs produced by the Braves’ entertainment area does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. In 2020 what are the industries you speak of that will produce the jobs and taxes that will offset the taxpayer money utilized for the stadium?
Since the stadium is located in the tax district, will there be a tax on ticket sales over and above the normal sales tax?
Will the Braves pay property tax on the entertainment area?
I noticed that the two companies in the forefront of the pro taxpayer funding of the stadium are Superior Plumbing and Loud Security. Both of these companies are located outside of the tax district. Have Superior and Loud volunteered to have their property tax increased to the same rate as the outlined tax district?
Why have the promise of a maximum of taxpayer money of $300M ballooned to $396M?
It is a known fact that when Atlanta had two NASCAR races, the total economic boost to the local communities was greater than all four stick and ball sports in the city for their entire seasons. If you are counting on folks from Chattanooga, Birmingham, Macon, Columbus, Athens, Greenville attend a Braves game and not go home after the game, you are not living in reality.
Also, the Braves reneged on the same commitment to build an entertainment area for the G Braves stadium. What guarantee do we have this will not occur in Cobb County?
In closing, in my 67 years I have never seen the taxpayer portion of a public/private venture not exceed the promised amount. Remember, you promised!
Chairman Tim Lee’s [sic] arguments in favor of a hasty rush to judgment concerning the use of tax dollars to pay for moving the Braves to Cobb County is full of more holes than a box of doughnuts. For example, his claim that there is overwhelming support for public financing flys in the face of a poll reported on by the AJC on 5/14 which showed that 64% of those polled oppose public financing.
His claim that there were dozens of meetings to vet public opinion is patently untrue. How could that be possible when there were only 12 days between when the details of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) were made public and when the Commissioners voted on it? The few meetings that were held told a different story. Despite the well financed PR campaign by the Braves, the overwhelming majority of attendees to Commissioner Helen Goreham’s Town Hall meeting on the subject expressed opposition, and this was duly noted by the media. The meeting held by Commissioner JoAnn Birrell was a stacked deck, with paid staffers of the Cobb Chamber — and their children — packing a small library meeting room hours before the meeting was scheduled, thereby crowding out opponents who couldn’t find seats.
The meeting I attended, held by Commissioner Lisa Cupid, also had more opponents than supporters speaking against the MOU. And the meeting held by Commissioner Bob Ott was evenly divided, despite the efforts of the well oiled Braves PR machine.
It’s unfortunate that the Chairman has to resort to lies and half truths to bolster his case for ramming this outrage down our throats, but that’s all he has, bless his heart.