Cobb okays Braves stadium plan after barring opponents from speaking

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 last night to approve the development, construction, and operating agreements for a new $622 million Atlanta Braves stadium, after a meeting that was less a debate than a coronation. Not only was the vote unanimous (for most of the plan elements; commissioner Lisa Cupid cast a token vote against the stadium bonds themselves), but every speaker during the public comment period spoke in favor of the plan — not all that surprising when you consider that only 12 people were allowed to sign up to speak, and plan supporters showed up at 2 pm on a workday to fill the speakers’ list.

Meanwhile, four stadium opponents were removed by police before the meeting started for “disrupting” it, “when it became clear early on they would not be allowed to speak and they approached the front of the room to ask the commission to create more speaking slots.” (Here’s a lovely photo of Ben Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership conference being disruptive by standing around with his hands folded.)

What nobody seems to be reporting — and maybe the Cobb Commission isn’t revealing — is whether the county now plans to go ahead with selling stadium bonds before coming to agreement on the all-important transportation plan, which apparently doesn’t even exist yet in draft form, and which could end up putting the county on the hook for an additional $160 million in highway and transit improvements. Admittedly, with the commission already so gung-ho about sinking $276 million into a baseball stadium it will get no direct revenues from, it’s unlikely that having to build a bunch of roads too would stop them; still, it’d be nice to actually figure out the whole financing plan before starting construction, especially given how the alternative has worked out before.


7 comments on “Cobb okays Braves stadium plan after barring opponents from speaking

  1. Well, that’s another tactic the ownership class can use to extract stadiums and venues for their teams. Probably not one that they themselves would recommend, but it’s proving to be an effective one either way.

  2. In the AJC article…
    ” $230 million, which can be increased up to $280 million at the team’s discretion.”

    Has a team ever decided to use the max funds they can, just for the heck of it?

  3. This is a guess, but is Cobb hoping to get state/federal money towards the infrastructure work? Maybe that’s why the $160M has yet to be planned out.

    Also, it’s unfair to compare this to Minny’s laughable e-pulltabs plan.

  4. If you prefer, Ben, I could link to the San Diego Padres’ plan for Petco Park, where they voted first and then tacked on close to $100m in new costs later. Or the Nationals’ stadium deal, which had a similar trajectory.

  5. Politicians and franchises wouldn’t run roughshod like this if there was any sort of oversight or push back by citizens. They assume governors ‘da sheep aren’t capable of doing that so we get what we deserve, George VI and colonial governors had the same mentality.
    Are the sheep willing to do without (sports addiction) to get the point across?

  6. It’s nice to see that some of my fellow plutocrats have bought up the entire Cobb County political apparatus. That’s the kind of bold initiative that gets things done in this country!

  7. Has anyone noticed that two of the biggest supporters of the new stadium, Superior Plumbing and Loud Security, are both located in Kennesaw, outside the tax increase area. And, Superior’s motto is “The honest one.” I wonder just how much company money these two companies will donate to the cause? I believe the initial taxpayer $300M has already grown to $396M.

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