Monday, December 20, 2004

Just Make It End

There’s one final DC Council meeting tomorrow at 10. According to DC law, the esteemed Chair of the Council, a Ms. Linda Cropp (Perhaps you’ve heard of her?), would have to add the item to the agenda by 10 this morning.

The Washington Post is out with a series of polls, finding that a majority of DC residents want some private financing for the ballpark, even if it means losing the team. No doubt, this warms up Ms. Cropp’s cockles.

It’s always hard to argue with numbers, but I wonder how things would be different if the Mayor and stadium proponents had done a better job explaining the stadium vote and how the overwhelming majority of funds used to pay for the stadium are new sources of revenue that will not exist without the stadium. I went over-the-top with this line of thinking last week, but there’s not suddenly a magic bag of money. Voting against the stadium is not going to get DC General funded and the illiteracy rate isn’t going to instantly drop.

In one of my initial posts on the stadium, I mentioned that I think the mayor’s case would be strengthened--and easier to support for lots of people--if they presented the case as simply a vote for or against the merits of a team. The nebulous “economic engine” argument creates a bad taste in many mouths. Unfortunately, that, just like this has been, is prone to demagoguery. It’s easy to stand up and scream that you want better schools, better services or better libraries. It’s another thing for the proponents of those things to actually find their funding.

I hope those people the Post quotes who are outraged and demand better services ask those same questions of Fenty, Catania and Cropp, if the stadium bill doesn’t go through.

Regardless, tomorrow appears to be the day. If the bill is added to the agenda, there’s a chance to make it work.