John Schuerholz, president of the Atlanta Braves, stated recently in meetings in both Atlanta and Vinings that he “believes” and “hopes” the Braves new stadium and accompanying development will benefit the fans and the Cobb community.
This is not the first time we have heard of his hopes or his beliefs. He believed and hoped that the Braves’ stadiums in Gwinnett and Atlanta would do the same. It never panned out for those communities. In point of fact, his “fields of dreams” turned into “fields of schemes.”
I am sorry to tell Mr. Schuerholz his beliefs and hopes are not enough for the people of Cobb. We do not want to be his third strike, to allow his mistakes at our expense. He will say, “This one is different; we have a mixed-use development!” But perhaps he forgets the following: Development around the other stadiums was promised but never materialized, the Braves organization is under no obligation to build the mixed-use development he refers to and the Braves have been unwilling to make such a contractual commitment!
When asked in other interviews whether he thinks it will happen and will truly benefit the community, Schuerholz answered that he is “not Nostradamus.” Indeed, he is not. And you need not be Nostradamus to know that developments surrounding stadiums in other cities have been economic flops.
We welcome the Braves to Cobb. But given Schuerholz’s poor record, the Braves and Cobb must put him on probation. To redeem himself, he must perform community service (not only providing free T-Shirts to his “booster club”) by volunteering to work at our understaffed and underfunded police department.
Or, if that department finds him unsuitable, perhaps by serving as an assistant to what will soon be an overwhelmed Ethics Board as the foreseeable flood of ethics and corruption complaints relating to secretive negotiations between the Braves, the Commission and their cronies plays out.
Since Schuerholz and his organization are requiring a massive amount of government welfare, new state law requires he must be drug tested (at his own expense), and he must try to get a real job under the “welfare to work” program. (Apparently, his present billionaire employers must not be able to pay a living wage since they can’t even build themselves a stadium).
Here in Cobb, we believe in giving hand-ups (or at least a raised finger) rather than hand-outs, especially to lazy billionaires on the public dole.
If he complies successfully with all of the above conditions, then the people of Cobb will vote in a referendum whether to welcome him and his organization here, with some degree of limited assistance.
Member, Cobb Citizens for Governmental Transparency