Instead of calling for delay of game until the facts are clearly laid out, the Braves have forced an unnecessary error on Cobb County citizens and have advanced corporate insiders over the people who are supposed to represent us and our tax dollars - our elected County Commissioners and State legislators. Some people and businesses, including the Braves organization, are advancing bases before the rest of us really know what's going on. Moving the "professional" baseball organization from the City of Atlanta to Cobb County and all the expenses that come with it haven't been fully exposed.
This whole recruitment process just doesn't smell right. Most people can understand the importance of keeping a business deal quiet until it can be initiated, but this isn't just a private business deal. And most people know what's coming when salespeople promise a project will be an economic bonanza to an area. If the deal's so good, then why aren't the Braves and those corporations who want to make this happen paying for all of it.
A project of this magnitude that will cause decades of spending from taxpayers requires transparency. This rush to finish the game in the top half of the first inning is reckless and shortsighted. We need to think of the long-game, not running for the concessions before we've even studied the impacts of this maneuver. We taxpayers understand that it works for the few that were involved in crafting this deal, but you gotta include us because you're including our money and resources.
There is an aura of making this work for the people in the box seats and the lobbyists and legislators who'll inevitably get free tickets, not for the taxpayers. If Cobb Commissioners green light this deal without more significant citizenry input, they will all have violated their oath as representatives of the people. The winners of a game (or a business deal) aren't picked this way.
We have yet to see a real plan for traffic and infrastructure relief for an area that's probably second only to Spaghetti Junction in traffic snarls. So, the solution has become to asphalt over one of the few remaining natural areas of this corner of Cobb. The County is already cutting hours to senior centers, mental health facilities, libraries and other public centers due to budget problems. Public workers including education, fire and police have been furloughed, benefits cut and sometimes let go to make room for a County that's proud of low taxes. The need for public safety seems to have been an afterthought. Resources like water and energy generation have already been drained to cover a very hungry County - we share these resources already and the burden for their consumption and conservation is on the people who live here.
If we use the logic of the ticket buyer map for relocating the field, they missed the strike zone - at best a lower outside corner - which makes it more difficult for the majority of ticket holders, who are mostly in northern counties and cities, to reach the park. Plus, if the logic is to move resources close to consumers, they'd need to move Hartsfield, the Aquarium, Falcons Stadium and numerous other destinations as well as corporate headquarters to the suburbs.
We don't even know who's on the personnel roster. Who was involved in the deal and who really benefits from the insider real estate information? Exactly, and we mean exactly how is the deal paid for and over what time period? If this is a "destination", what happens to businesses currently operating in the area? Will spending be consumed by the acreage just around the ballpark and never make it to the local small businesses? Is the deal this poorly drafted that they can't share the details? Who really knows the details? Like many other business dealings in Georgia, the fully burdened costs are unknown. Our lawmakers like to give out corporate welfare using our taxpayer dollars with little thought to accountability, fraud and/or abuse.
Is this a rookie move or a carefully and professionally crafted bait-and-switch operation meant to hoodwink voters before they can read the program? The perpetrators of this deal are using the lure of America's favorite pastime, baseball stars, corporate influence and a sprinkling of dollars and promises in putting together a pre-nuptial that's very one-sided. Stealing bases while fleecing taxpayers isn't a fair game.