Monday, December 20, 2004

Where’d We Come From? Where Are We Going?

Lori Montgomery has an excellent article detailing how we got to where we are in the stadium controversy. She explains how it’s a combination of bad politics and poor politicians. Somewhere, Tip O’Neil is crying.
To right the deal, he [Mayor Tony Williams] must overcome vast stores of anger and distrust accumulated between two cultures alien to one another.
Williams was expected to bridge that divide. But Williams is terrible at skid-greasing and backroom politics, some council members have said. He repeatedly has failed to sell his grandest ideas to them or their constituents -- people who want a baseball team, but not if it makes them feel as if they have been fleeced.
The stadium package should not have been a tough sell, council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) said. The deal is generous to baseball but places no burden on the average taxpayer, he said. The only taxes in the deal would be paid by fans, including many suburbanites, the federal government and large businesses.
"We have a way to build the stadium that costs the District basically nothing. It works out fine. But that's all been lost in the hype and the rhetoric," said Evans, the mayor's chief ally on the council. "People are being swayed by their emotional reaction to the fact that billionaires are making more money."
From the start, baseball has inflamed those emotions. Baseball officials never have addressed District residents or lobbied the council directly, and they rarely speak openly to reporters. They declined to comment for this article.

Rather than taking his message to the public, Tony Williams appeared on the Sunday Talk Show Circuit. Well, at least on Fox’s version. Yeah, that’s sure to help influence the people, Tony. I’m sure the 15-20 people who actually watched you were thoroughly convinced. Is that show even broadcast into SE? Or even NW?

Despite the problems, DC continues to receive and consider proposals for private financing, including a parking plan, which expects to generate $100 million. Tony Kornheiser--who’s at his best when he’s not actually talking about, well, sports--skewers this one and is actually worth reading, even if the $100 million is a possibility over a period of years.

Washington Baseball Blog observes that private financing for a park isn’t necessarily a bargain for the city anyway. He argues that it’s essentially an accounting gimmick that takes as much, if not more, money away from the city.

If things do fall through, the Post looked at various scenarios for the team next year, assuming the team pulls out of RFK as well. How about a joint-tenancy with the Orioles? Think Havana Pete would be happy to take their money then?

I can’t wait for the on-the-field stuff again.


Post a Comment

<< Home