Braves argue in court that stadiums are “public purpose” because they just are, duh!

Lawyers the Atlanta Braves have filed a brief responding to the lawsuit charging that Cobb County’s issuance of stadium bonds is illegal because it’s not a “public purpose,” and oh, it is an awesome brief. The reason why stadiums are a public purpose, it turns out, is that everybody knows they are, duh!

The government’s “ability to issue bonds for recreational purposes is broad and well-settled,” the Braves’ brief says. “In the 20th and 21st centuries, financing and constructing sports stadiums and related facilities has repeatedly been held to be a public purpose.

“Opponents of stadium bond financing often point to private benefits in an attempt to undermine the public purpose — and ultimately the constitutionality — of the bonds that have been used. Courts have routinely rejected those arguments because the existence of private benefits is not dispositive — in fact, it is expected.”…

“Each municipality may have its own reasons — economy, tourism, public desire, or city profile — but the end result is almost universally a finding that a public purpose is served …. as long as a recreational benefit of a reasonably general character is conferred on a significant part of the public.

“Any other arguments are simply beside the point.”

So there!

I could line up a long list of economists, urban planners, and even sports fans to testify that building new sports stadiums — especially when you’re just replacing an 18-year-old one a few miles away, as the Braves are — is solely for private profit, not public benefit. But that’s beside the point, as the Braves ownership is clearly staking its defense on the fact that courts have ruled in favor of stadium bonds being a public purpose before, so clearly they must have been right, right? Not any Georgia courts, apparently — the Braves lawyers didn’t cite any Georgia case law despite this being a state supreme court case, as the attorneys for the plaintiffs quickly pointed out — but lots of other courts. Are you saying that you think you know better than other states’ supreme courts, Georgia, hmm? Now just kick these nuts in the butt and let us get on with our stadium-building, okay?

5 comments on “Braves argue in court that stadiums are “public purpose” because they just are, duh!

  1. “Any other arguments are simply beside the point.”

    I’m going to use that in my next meeting with our management.

  2. Though I disagree with the building of a new stadium in Atlanta…err Cobb County, and also disagree with the last statement (IOW “It’s a benefit because it is and that’s that!”) I think the legal argument is accurate, IF (I’m not expert) the bar that they have to hurdle is to prove that the stadium provides a “Public Benefit”. A “Public Benefit” is relative – for instance, after the last snowstorm I shoveled the sidewalk in front of my property – I only saw one person walk on my free-from-snow sidewalk, however, the public did benefit, even though the vast majority of the public chose not to utilize said sidewalk.

    There is nothing stopping every city in the Atlanta Metropolitan area from erecting its own 1/2 billion dollar baseball stadium (financing of course, but assuming that financing was, in fact, limitless). No one would come out ahead, of course, because Atlanta has a finite demand for baseball stadia – namely one professional team – but each city would benefit. Their Little League teams could host massive crowds, they could play at night, the concession stands would offer a multitude of snack options.

    Again, though, the argument isn’t that public has to come out ahead; they won’t, of course, they just have to benefit. In other words, public benefit does not have to be greater than public cost, public benefit just has to be greater than 0. Just about anything can meet that threshold, which is therefore why I think the argument is solid.

    That being said, I do think that there are much better ways that a municipality and its citizenry can utilize their scarce resources, but that, unfortunately, is up to their elected representatives who have decided (wrongly I think) that the public should not have a direct say in such.

  3. I’m waiting for someone to claim a negative benefit is still a benefit. Like the man says: “Any other arguments are simply beside the point.”. Works for me as long as I get my solar powered water taxis for life.

  4. The logic of billionaires is beyond the ken of the commoners. We are subject only to what we call natural law – by this I mean that it’s natural that all wealth should flow to us. Thus our minions work tirelessly at $300 an hour to prove it to all and I for one can’t argue with their flawless logic. It is indeed obvious that the public should build stadiums and we should reap the benefits. Any other arguments are simply beside the point!