Jul 30, 2014

Cobb Groups Call for 60-Day Delay on Braves Stadium Vote

"Citizens for Governmental Transparency" includes a wide range of organizations from around the county.

Cobb Groups Call for 60-Day Delay on Braves Stadium Vote
In the fast-moving Braves Stadium story, we've received some communication over the weekend from groups organizing either to oppose Tuesday's vote by the Cobb Board of Commissioners, or at least delay it. 

Commissioners JoAnn Birrell, Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid will be holding town hall meetings on Monday ( times and locations here). 

Commission Chairman Tim Lee is adamant that any delay could threaten the deal with the Braves.

The Marietta Daily Journal on Sunday editorialized strongly in favor of the proposal, saying that "opponents have blinded themselves to to the likelihood" that the stadium, and related development around it, "will be a generator of economic growth in Cobb equal or surpassing the opening of what is now the Lockheed Plant in World War II, the creation of what’s now Kennesaw State University in the early 1960s, the laying of a sewer trunk line through rural east Cobb in the late 1960s and the construction of I-75 through Cobb in the mid-1970s."

East Cobb resident Jan Barton sends this along from the North Fulton & Friends Tea Party demanding a "no" vote, saying it's an abuse of Cobb taxpayer dollars and that the free market should "determine the success or failure of a private business enterprise."

Her group also is calling for a referendum -- something Lee also has rejected -- and a "complete disclosure of who knew of the stadium deal before the public did, and who gained on insider-trading of real estate windfalls of adjoining property." 

That's in response to an AJC story last week that revealed how parcels of land near the proposed stadium site in the Cumberland Mall area were quickly purchased right before the Braves-to-Cobb arrangement was made public. 

Barton's group also is calling for "a thorough and complete traffic analysis" in the impacted area near the intersection of I-285/75. 

She explains that despite the name of the group, it includes residents of Cobb, like herself, and others from nearby north metro Atlanta areas.  

On Saturday, we got the fellowing letter from South Cobb resident Richard Pellegrino, of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, about the formation of an ad hoc group, Citizens for Governmental Transparency, which was sent to commissioners' offices on Thursday. 

The coalition, which includes a wide range of organizations, ranging from the Cobb Taxpayers Association to the East Cobb Democratic Alliance and includes the Cobb NAACP, among others, is asking for a 60-day delay in Tuesday's vote.

Here's the full text: 

“Citizens for Governmental Transparency” is an ad hoc committee comprised of individuals and organizations representing various interests in Cobb County.

Additionally, we are residents and tax payers who believe that citizens should be appropriately informed and engaged when significant tax dollars are obligated or expended by our elected officials.

Although we include members who are both for and against the proposed Braves stadium deal, we are unified in our belief that Cobb citizens should be given time to review and publicly comment on any Braves stadium deal that will require the use of significant county tax dollars.

Therefore, we the “Citizens for Governmental Transparency” respectfully request that the Cobb County Board of Commissioners delay the Tuesday, November 26, 2013 proposed Braves stadium vote for a minimum of 60 days.

It is our expectation that Cobb Commissioners, during the requested 60 days, will meet with and educate Cobb constituents, including our group, about the specifics of the proposed Braves stadium deal.

Furthermore, we request that Cobb Commissioners are transparent about all aspects of the proposed Braves stadium deal to include tax implications for citizens; anticipated community benefits; transportation plans for the proposed site; and benefits to developers and the Atlanta Braves franchise.

As representatives of countless citizens and registered voters in Cobb County, we hope that the Cobb Board of Commissioners will honor our request to delay the Braves stadium vote for a minimum of 60 days.

Cobb County government has enjoyed a reputation for making prudent and fiscally sound decisions. We trust that our Commissioners will uphold this tradition and not disappoint us by acting in haste and without the support of the citizens they swore to serve.

Sincerely, Citizens for Governmental Transparency 

The following groups were signatories to the letter: Cobb County SCLC; Cobb Taxpayers Association; Georgia Community Coalition; Cobb Immigrant Alliance; Partnership for Southern Equity; Madison Forum; Powder Springs Community Task Force; Cobb United for Change Coalition; Atlanta Tea Party Patriots; East Cobb Democratic Alliance; Cobb County NAACP.

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