The Maricopa County board of supervisors voted 4-1 yesterday to sign off on the revised agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing the team to break their lease five years early in exchange for not suing the county for stadium upgrades:
Under the agreement, if the Diamondbacks found a new location in Maricopa County, the team could leave Chase Field without penalty in 2022, five years earlier than the team’s current contract.
A new stadium built on tribal land, an idea that has been rumored, would have to charge the same taxes as currently charged at Chase Field, according to the agreement.
That last bit initially sounds intriguing — especially since building on tribal land, which is free from property taxes if the reservation owns it, is an option the D-Backs owners are likely to pursue. But Chase Field, being owned by the county, currently pays no property taxes either, so that’s really not much of a promise of anything.
Really, this whole mess seems to be mostly Maricopa County washing its hands of the Diamondbacks, and saying to municipalities and reservation officials, Here, you guys figure this out, just leave us out of it. I mean, just listen to county supervisor Denny Barney:
“We don’t have the ability to put more money in the stadium nor will we build them a new stadium. If they can find something that will take them the next 20, 30, 40 years in Maricopa County outside of Chase Field, great. As long as they’re here — that’s our goal.”
And then finally, the Arizona Republic article on the board hearing includes this memorable tidbit:
One resident spoke publicly in support of the deal at the meeting. Diane Barker urged the Diamondbacks, other downtown businesses and the city of Phoenix to cooperate on improving the stadium.
“I’d like to see these corporate oligarchies put their money in it to make it a great project,” Barker said.
Apparently either Maricopa County resident Diane Barker, or the Arizona Republic copy editors, think that the city of Phoenix is a “corporate oligarchy.” Either way, fear for the future of what’s left of our democracy.