Tea party, pols still fighting over new Braves' new ballpark
The funding battle over the Braves' new suburban ballpark may not be over just yet.
As you're no doubt aware, the Braves have plans to move into a new ballpark in suburban Cobb County in time for the 2017 season. As is the case with almost any new sports facility, this one is being constructed with a substantial percentage of public funds.
By way of reminder ...
Needless to say, the tax contribution toward this project doesn't sit well with local tea party activists. That's been the case ever since the financing details were released, but now the battle seems to be intensifying.
Atlanta tea party head Debbie Dooley has worked to form a coalition that includes community groups and figures from all points on the political spectrum. Their goal is to fight public financing of the new ballpark. The AP reports:
The coalition members say they're exploring a range of legal options, from lawsuits to petitions to oust Lee and his colleagues from the commission.
There's also the possibility of legal challenges for various components of the financing deal, including the plan to redirect existing property tax revenues to pay off stadium debt. Then, Dooley says, there's the task of going after the commissioners' jobs, first through recall petitions and, if that fails, when they're up for re-election.
"This is not over," Dooley said, "not by a long shot."
It's not over, but insofar as the financing goes, it probably is over, as the Cobb County Board of Commissioners have already voted by a margin of 4-1 to approve funding. They could surely pay an electoral price for what they've done, but it's doubtful the agreed-upon ballpark plan is going to be altered to any meaningful extent.
"This is a home run for Cobb County," Cobb County board president Tim Lee said at a public hearing prior to the vote, "and I'm confident the people of Cobb will come to understand that."
Except that it's almost certainly not a "home run for Cobb County." Study upon study has proved that these kinds of projects -- i.e., sports facilities -- don't lead to economic growth and don't come close to returning value on the dollar.
Local leaders always harrumph otherwise, but they're arguing against the plain facts. Still and yet, these kinds of things keep happening.