Well, that was fast. Fifteen days after the Atlanta Braves announced a partnership with a suburban government to build a new ballpark in time for the 2017 season, the Cobb County Commission approved $300 million in funding for the $672 million project Tuesday night.
The measure passed 4-to-1, with commissioner Lisa Cupid voting against chairman Tim Lee, Bob Ott, JoAnn Birrell and Helen Goreham. Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cupid says the speed of the process worried her:
“I believe this could’ve been a win-win for so many more people … if we only took more time,” she said.
Government — working too fast. Get a load of that! Kevin Daniels, a local resident, expressed a similar sentiment:
“I’ve been really disappointed in the veil of secrecy and the rush… to approve this deal,” he said. “It’s not characteristic of the government I’ve grown accustomed to having in Cobb County, that I grew up with."
Other reasonable arguments against public funding stem from voters not being offered a referendum on the matter. That's where the woman holding a "no taxation without representation" sign is coming from. And while the Braves are shouldering more than half of the cost of the project, they stand to get all of the revenue from the ballpark and new properties that surround it. That kind of corporate welfare, rightly so, irks anyone opposed to "partnerships" such as this one.
The Braves, though, are in a hurry. Their lease at Turner Field in Atlanta expires in less than three years and they didn't get the kind of support from the city they were hoping for. And, well, the Roman Coliseum wasn't built in a day, as they say.
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- Atlanta Braves