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There will be no opportunity for public comment before the Braves ballpark vote

Nov 20, 2013, 9:10 AM EDT

Cobb County

The Cobb County Commission’s vote on the Braves ballpark is a forgone conclusion. It’s going to pass. No one I’ve read or heard who knows what goes on down there thinks any different. But forgone conclusion or not, it strikes me as a jerk move to not allow public comment on the matter prior to the vote. But that’s what’s going down.

Tim Lee, Chairman of the Commission, was asked about why there wouldn’t be a public hearing before the vote:

“We’ve made a decision we’re not going to do that. I don’t know that having a public hearing would add to the objective of getting more input since we’ve got a lot of input to date.”

Yeah, this thing has been a matter of public discourse for ages! Or, well, a bit over a week, but either way. But really, who needs to look more closely at a public project that was kept secret from all but a few land speculators until the last moment? There is clearly nothing that could be gained from any scrutiny of that. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.

Forgone conclusion or not, it just seems to me that if you’re going to do something with public funds like this, and you’re going to do it in such a way that consciously avoids any public referendum on the matter, voters should at least have you on the record defending your rationale for when they do get a chance to pass judgment later. Specifically, in the course of your reelection bid. But no. Now we get “there’s no point in talking about it.” Later, I presume, we’ll get “there’s no sense in revisiting the past.”

Thought experiment: instead of $300 million + to the Braves’ benefit, the Commission decides to give $300 million to the poor. I wonder how them not holding any public debate on the matter would go over then?

  1. chill1184 - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Don’t you just love corporate welfare?

  2. skids003 - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    They have to pass it so we can find out what’s in it.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      For the record, I did get the reference and I thought it was funny.

      • skids003 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Thanks histrio.

  3. misterj167 - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Hey this is America, pal, no one cares what you think! If you’re not a hedge fund banker, used car salesman, or motivational speaker, you’re a welfare queen. Keep your mouths shut, do what your betters tell you, and be thankful you have a job, losers.

  4. manute - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Craig – This may be a stupid question, but if Atlanta wants to muck up the Braves’ plans could the city (or Fulton County) refuse to let them use “Atlanta” in the team’s name? Like, do they have some sort of ownership interest in the city’s name?

    • hep3 - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      The Marietta Red Clay formerly of Atlanta, Milwaukee and Boston.

      You get to acknowledge history, get away from that Native American handle and soak taxpayers. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

    • jm91rs - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      There’s still plenty of monetary value to the Braves using Atlanta in their name. This way their fans still get the enjoy the team, the city still gets the recognition by having Atlanta on the jerseys, and most importantly it costs the city nothing at all to keep the team right around Atlanta.

      • jm91rs - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        Why all the thumbs down? If the Cincinnati Reds wanted to move 20 minutes out of Cincinnati, continue to call themselves Cincinnati Reds and save my and my tax paying friends hundreds of millions of dollars, I’d be pretty darn happy about that. I still get to feel like it’s my hometown team, and after a year or two most of the league’s fans will forget the team ever moved out of the downtown area anyway.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      You can’t copyright a city name. If I open up a hot dog stand in the burbs I can call it “Craig’s Atlanta Hot Dogs” and no one can stop me.

      • manute - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Makes sense. Thx

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      If the Anaheim Angels can get away with using Los Angeles in their name, apparently there are no rules on this.

  5. clydeserra - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I am shocked. and stunned. I am shocked and stunned.

    • misterj167 - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      I think it was the trousers

      • clydeserra - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        they were tight

  6. sdelmonte - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work.”

    • historiophiliac - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      I don’t know if democracy wouldn’t work, if we tried it. Republicanism does — but not in a way that benefits most of us (but, really, the way it was designed to). Maybe someday we will have online direct voting on such issues and the like. We could take a stab at real democracy anyway. It doesn’t hurt to try. I mean, we’ve tried other stuff. Also, someday we won’t be capitalists anymore and that might make a difference…

      • sdelmonte - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        You, my friend, are an idealist. I approve.

      • Old Gator - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”
        -Winston Churchill, November 11, 1947

      • historiophiliac - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Of course Winnie would say that. Which obliges me to break out the old, old joke:

        Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill are standing at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter calls Hitler forward and says: We didn’t think you’d make it in, but you made the last minute repentence, so you get one wish before you enter. Hitler says: I’d like the Soviets to be wiped off the face of the earth. Peter says: It’s unseemly, but ok. Then he calls Joseph Stalin and says: We didn’t think you’d make it either, but you also repented at the last minute, so make your wish and enter. Stalin says: I’d like the Germans to be wiped off the face of the earth. Peter says: Another unseemly request, but go ahead and enter. He turns to Churchill and says: You we really didn’t think would make it, but here you are. What is your wish? Churchill pauses and then asks: Did you grant the others’ wishes. Peter says; Yes. Churchill says: In that case, I’d like a cigar.

      • TheMorningStar - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        Online voting is the antithesis of democracy…the NSA will know exacty whom everyone votes for.

        Sorry to burst your democracy fantasy; the USA was never intened to be based on true Republicaism…you needed to be male, white and own property. That left out many a folk.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        How is that not republicanism?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        How is that not republicanism?</blockquote.

        http://www.instantrimshot.com

    • stoutfiles - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      Democracy works fantastically. The problem is we don’t have a democracy, we have an oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.

  7. xdj511 - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I think what this guy is trying to say is that there has, indeed, been plenty of input. The internet, especially this blog has been ablaze with criticism ever since this has been announced. Why is there no need for a public hearing? Because in the internet age there is no longer any need for an organized forum to have people stand up and speak out against such injustice. We already are. Too bad it’s not going to change anything, but neither would a public hearing, except we’d get the satisfaction of saying it to these people’s faces.

    • clydeserra - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      “Why is there no need for a public hearing? ”

      because the internet is not an open public hearing?

      just a guess

  8. Old Gator - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I ssink zat zey shoult yust sendt a vinding line uff hoodit torchbearerss up to zet kessel undt burn it to the groundt, undt, hang all der county factotums from zet olt peach tree, yess?

    • Old Gator - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Oops, correction: burn it to ze ground; pitch tree

      • Old Gator - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        Oops, groundt. Vehr iss Kenneth Mars ven ve really needt hem?

  9. deathmonkey41 - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Government efficency at its best!

  10. missingdiz - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I’m working on a book about redevelopment and civil society in Moscow (Russia, not Idaho). This is the way they did things up until about 2008. But no longer. There would have been a lot of time for commentary in the media and a series of public hearings. Sometimes they even change their plans in response to the public reaction. It’s not utopia of course, but it’s a more democratic governance regime than ever before in Moscow’s 850+ yrs. Why are we headed in the opposite direction?

    By the way, I live in a state (UT) where the state legislature has prohibited public school teachers from teaching or just saying that the US is a democracy.

  11. richarddansky - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Apparently the reason there will be no vote on this is that doing so would have cost taxpayers a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

    [insert laugh track here]

  12. benrob99 - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Don’t live in Atlanta, don’t like Atlanta… but can someone explain to my why they are being slammed for this??? They had a lease, played out (or are going to play out) that lease. And have decided to move their base of operation what…. 15 miles away??? It seems kinda like that is their right to do so…. not to mention the best thing for the franchise. Please, enlighten me.

    • skids003 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      There are people out there always looking to “take care of the victims.” They think the people are being victimized, therefore someone must speak up for the downtrodden masses. They never seem to bother to check with ‘the people’ first to see if they need to be spoken for.

    • missingdiz - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      It’s not about the franchise’s business decision, it’s about the public’s money being spent to subsidize the franchise without the public’s consent. Actually, without the public getting a chance even to complain.

    • clydeserra - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      and it has broader implications than just the people of atlanta and cobb county.

      If any franchise wants a new stadium and the local gov’t doesn’t want to pay for it, they can threaten to move until the “people” give in and give up public money.

      They can do this because there are gov’t agencies that will give up the money. (OKC, Cobb County, etc)

  13. stevem7 - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    The Cobb County Commissioners must all be related to Mike Lupica of the NYDN …. he doesn’t take comments either.

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