All posts by Jim Walls
Judge Robert Leonard presided over a six-hour hearing on Monday
Cobb County officials went into extra innings Monday trying to get bond financing approved for the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium. But it’ll be weeks before they know if they won.Read more
“They touch everything,” says a critic of the business group’s cozy relationship with the County Commission.
It would be difficult to overstate the role the Cobb Chamber, a 2,500-member business organization, played in bringing the Braves to Cobb, whether as public cheerleaders or private decision-makers.Read more
In case you’re curious, here’s what dissenters wanted to discuss at the Cobb Commission meeting on the Braves stadium
Plus, a little more detail on how pro-Braves folks got all the speaking slots
Before Tuesday’s vote on bond financing agreements for the new Atlanta Braves stadium, Cobb County commissioners refused to let critics voice concerns. A brief standoff ensued, as several members of the advocacy group Cobb Citizens for Governmental Transparency (CGT) stood to protest before police escorted them from the room. We were curious to hear what CGT might have said if given the chance, so we asked representatives of the group whether they’d come to the Cobb chambers with talking points in hand. As it turns out, they had.Read more
Long-shot filings with the Cobb Board of Ethics have generated media coverage but little else
Critics of Cobb County’s $314 million deal with the Atlanta Braves moved on to round two on Wednesday, filing a new ethics complaint against Cobb commissioners just hours before their first such complaint was summarily dismissed.Read more
Cobb commissioners tout a consultant’s rosy economic forecast—and downplay costs to the county.
If the new Atlanta Braves stadium becomes the economic engine that boosters predict, it would be as likely as seeing Julio Teheran throw a perfect game. Economists say they know of no major league ballparks that justify their public subsidies. “Study after study after study agrees with this finding,” said sports economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University. “People don’t even study it any more, it’s so non-controversial.”Read more
Cobb commissioners deliberate more about backyard chickens than they do about using tax dollars to build a $672 million stadium for the Braves.
Cobb County commissioners agreed Tuesday to a two-week delay before voting on new zoning rules for keeping backyard chickens. But they wouldn’t postpone a much more contentious decision on $8 million a year in new taxes to subsidize the Atlanta Braves.
Opponents objected that new information on who would be taxed to help finance a new stadium for the Braves had only become available this week. Previously released maps of new tax districts, they said, were poorly reproduced and virtually unreadable.Read more
Two Cobb legislators are sponsoring a bill that would add an exemption to Georgia’s sunshine law.
Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers are basking under the Florida sun as they prepare for the 2014 baseball season. Meanwhile, dark clouds could be forming in Atlanta to obscure details of public spending on the team’s proposed $672 million stadium.Read more
Details on a proposed 2,552-acre special tax district
The Braves’ new neighbors in Cobb County may be in for sticker shock. A proposed tax district planned to help subsidize stadium construction would comprise more than double the taxable property in the existing Cumberland tax district.Read more
A “rolling quorum” practice kept taxpayers in the dark.
Secrecy helped Cobb County hammer out a deal to lure the Braves from their downtown Atlanta home. That same stealth may have violated Georgia’s Open Meetings Act and, conceivably, cost taxpayers millions of dollars.Read more