My Anger Boils Over

I’ve written quite a bit on the Gwinnett Braves stadium as details about the deal have leaked out over the past few weeks. In today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I condense my analysis to an 800-word Op-Ed to share with my fellow metro Atlanta residents.

Like many baseball fans living in metropolitan Atlanta, I was delighted to hear that the Braves would be moving their Triple A franchise to Gwinnett County. However, since learning the financial terms of the deal, my enthusiasm has waned. The arrangement essentially transfers Gwinnett residents’ hard-earned tax dollars to the Braves’ corporate owner, Liberty Media. It is inexcusable that the Gwinnett County Commission would approve such an agreement without vetting the proposal publicly.

After examining the details, it is easy to see why government officials were so eager to keep this deal behind closed doors until it was too late. It may be a sweetheart deal for Liberty’s corporate shareholders, but it is fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

Now, if I lived in Gwinnett County, then I would really be mad.

If you are coming to the site for the first time, you can read all of my analysis of the Gwinnett stadium deal here. To read the posts sequentially, go to the bottom of the page and scroll up.

4 Responses “My Anger Boils Over”

  1. don S. says:

    J.C.

    Great editorial, I just hope many people read it as well as the Board of Comissioners in Gwinnett. The term denial is an understatement when it comes to the BOC and this deal. Many people in Gwinnett do not like the school board voting in private to purchase land for our children but do not see the problem of this deal.

    I think it is criminal to withdraw funds form our Recreation funds that have been earmarked for parks for the citizens and more inportantly our children. I am involve in youth sports in my area and was told on Monday that Parks and Recreation did not have enough money to build the tennis courts and other items in the new park in our area (Peachtree Ridge). Yet we have money to fund a private organization like the Braves (Liberty Media) that will make an estimated $1.4 million per year off of this deal!

    I may agree with the BOC on tha fact that there may be a bit of positive economic increase in the area but they placed this facility in one of the best econmic areas in Gwinnett. In their infinate wisdom they choose a place were traffic is already horrible at the Mall og Georgia without doing a ttaffic plan first. They ignore the feasability study done by CS&L at a very expensive cost.

    I wonder if they would support me in my one kids sport of choice, swimming? We involved in this sport already know this answer. I was told by my district comissioner that they would not supoort building a swimming complex (world class) since it would require a private organization running it and the use of government funds is ourt of the question. Chatham county built a pool and has generated $40 million in confirmed economic impact at a much lees of a cost than $45 million.

    J.C. pleae keep writing on this debacle in Gwinnett and let the entire world know what a travisty our local government has committed.

  2. JC says:

    Thanks Don,

    You are on the front lines in this, and you are doing a great service to Gwinnett residents. Keep up the fight. I’m just an economist who is trying to point out a bad deal.

  3. uncle ran says:

    Great article JC i was wondering how in metro area thesize of atlanta two pro baseball teams can be fiscally supported without raising taxes or using “creative” financing

  4. don S. says:

    Uncle ran:

    Taxes have been raise or created. The new 3%rental car tax when renting in unicorporated Gwinnett will take effect soon. The BOC used our SPLOST tax that was to go to “parks and recreation” was used, $17 million worth. I feel this is a far stretch to say that a AAA baseball team is recreation, entertainment is more like it.

    J.C. have you read the contract and section 9&10 about what Gwinnett is responsible for. Heck we even get to replace the score board lights. It seems as if the only thing the Braves have to keep up is the actual field itself. I guess Ed M. will be getting a raise to handle two turfs!