You know what would be a lovely birthday present for me today? If someone would make my job easier by compiling a list of all the latest developments in the controversy over the Atlanta Braves‘ proposed move to Cobb County — oh, Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein, Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy and Smyrna Patch’s Wendy Parker, how thoughtful!
The highlights of the highlights:
- Late on Friday, Cobb officials released an outline of a Braves fan transportation plan that relies on “a system of golf-like trams” to shuttle fans to and from their cars parked in existing lots at nearby sites like the Cobb Galleria Centre, nearby hotels, and office parks. Only 6,000 dedicated parking spaces are being planned at the stadium site, which is 2,500 less than at the Braves’ current home of Turner Field, in order to leave more room for the surrounding development that the team wants to build.
- An undisclosed pro-stadium group paid for a “push poll” — a marketing effort where arguments on behalf of a project are disguised as a survey — last Friday, with robocalls “asking” Cobb County residents whether the “fact” that property taxes won’t be increased make it more likely they’d support a new Braves’ stadium, as well as “Does knowing that the new comprehensive transportation plan already exists and is fully funded make it more or less likely you’ll support the Braves’ move to Cobb?” As the AJC trio notes, it’s not clear what the strategy is behind the robocalls when there’s no public vote planned, but hey, it can never hurt to drum up public support, right?
- On the other side, the creator of the new 300millionreasons.com website and anti-stadium-deal petition has been identified as libertarian activist and anti-birther blogger Loren Collins. The petition is currently up to 483 signatures, though I don’t think there’s any easy way to tell how many of those of from Cobb County residents.
- The Atlanta Tea Party and the Sierra Club are opposing the deal, with a joint rally scheduled for next Monday night. “The deal was made behind closed doors and we believe it will result in higher taxes,” said the Atlanta Tea Party’s Debbie Dooley. “We also have problems with land deals made around the stadium, because it seems like the politically-connected found a gold mine while taxpayers will be shown the shaft.” That’s not actually the shaft that “given the shaft” refers to, but points for the attempt at a mining pun!
- Some unidentified investors found out about the Braves deal ahead of time and bought up properties around the new stadium site in the weeks ahead of the announcement. And speaking of land grabs, the AJC wants you to pay 99 cents to read more about that, so no further details are forthcoming at the moment.
The biggest news here is the bit about the trams, which seems absolutely nuts — most everyone is probably familiar with these kind of park-and-ride systems from airport parking, for example (though the Braves seem to have in mind something more like these), and equally familiar with the fact that it means showing up way earlier before your departure time and taking way longer to get out of dodge once it’s time to leave. Add in that all 41,000 Braves fans are going to be arriving at more or less the same time — and all by car, remember, because Cobb County doesn’t approve of those people being allowed across county lines by public transit — and they’re going to need an insane number of trams to avoid massive wait times.
It’s especially odd since “inadequate number of parking spaces” is one of the reasons the Braves are giving for wanting to move out of Turner Field. But I guess “We’re trying for a development land grab, and anyway people can just park in a mall lot somewhere and wait for a tram to the game” didn’t have the same ring to it.