Bottom of the ninth for Cobb BOC vote
by Jon Gillooly
November 24, 2013 01:00 AM | 5271 views | 11 11 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — County Chairman Tim Lee on Saturday restated his desire for a Tuesday vote on the deal between the county and Atlanta Braves that would build a $672 million stadium down the road from the Cumberland Mall.

Delaying the vote, as some have asked for, would jeopardize the deal, Lee said.

“It’s one of those situations where the longer we drag it out all we do is create more noise and more doubt without any rationale,” Lee said. “I just think it’s better to move forward with it. It’s an economic deal. We have some timing issues we have to deal with in terms of getting a deal moving forward, and I think it’s in everybody’s interest to move forward.”

Lee said most Cobb residents he’s spoken with or who have contacted him support the plan.

“I’m just hearing that there are a small group of people like the Debbie Dooleys, who, by the way, live in Gwinnett County, and the people who are making the most noise don’t even live in Cobb County,” Lee said.

Tea party leader Debbie Dooley said she is looking at filing a lawsuit against the county based on how it plans to finance the proposal.

“They’re trying to stir people up with misunderstanding and using inexperienced, loyal, wannabes as ways to keep enough heat under people to think that there’s controversy and there isn’t,” Lee said.

Lee said he brought in bond attorney Dan McRae of Seyfarth Shaw to make sure the deal was bulletproof.

“We have one of the best bond attorneys and finance people working on this, and if they think some wannabe lawyer is going to undo all that hard work with a couple of hours of whatever he did, she’s sadly mistaken,” Lee said.

Lee has support in the Braves’ deal from commissioners Helen Goreham and JoAnn Birrell, and those votes are all he needs to pass the proposal Tuesday.

Commissioners Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid have declined to say – at least publicly — how they intend to vote. Cupid has complained about being rushed to vote on such a large deal. Ott said he too has asked for more time before a vote.

“Where I stand on the issue now is that I have a town hall on Monday to hear what the people have to say, and it would be wrong to have an opinion before I hear from the people,” Ott said. “There would be no reason for the town hall.”

Economic boon for the county

Birrell said she supports the deal because she believes a $672 million stadium, along with the $400 million mixed-use development the Braves plan to build next to it, will bring in more property and sales taxes for the county and school district.

“I am comfortable, and I’m OK with voting on Tuesday, but if all the commissioners are not and would like to see it postponed until the December 10th meeting, and if it’s not detrimental to this proposal, then I would consider that as well, just to give people time to weigh in,” Birrell said. “I’m just not sure what another two weeks is going to accomplish.”

For the deal to be tabled, a commissioner needs to make that recommendation and have two other commissioners vote in favor.

Birrell is up for re-election in next spring’s Republican primary, a fact that some voters have reminded her about, she said.

“I’ve had threatening emails to that effect,” Birrell said. “We’re both up at the same time, Helen and I. It does concern me that folks are angry enough to say they’ll vote me out of office, but I have to vote my conviction and what I feel is right, so if that’s what they have to do, that’s what they have to do.”

Birrell believes she has a good take on how her community feels about the deal.

“And I feel like I’ve got more support than I do against,” she said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
outeslip the
November 26, 2013
Debbie Doodle doesn't even live in Cobb if anyone wants to know. She is part of the Me Party over in Gwinnett, I think. Ah-ha. Maybe that is her strategy. To run this out of Cobb so Gwinnett can reap the benefits. Run, Doodle, Run. Out of Cobb politics.
Mike K
November 25, 2013
Tim Lee, you have lost my vote and I'll be voting for the candidate that rakes you over the coals for ramming this deal through. You clearly don't represent the residents of Cobb, you're a well-greased representative of the highest bidder. This isn't about NIMBY - this is about using taxpayer funds without public oversight. You knew about this deal before the November elections. You and the Braves kept it secret so that it wouldn't be a campaign issue. You know the vast majority of Cobb is against using taxpayer funds for this crap, and a scientific poll just showed 80% of Cobb residents are in favor of delaying the vote. So to hell with you Tim Lee and all the Cobb Commissioners that vote for this. We will remember come election day. We may even bring that day forward with a recall.
November 26, 2013
Mike K, my family of 5, all voters, will more then cancel out your vote. So put that in your pipe, and smoke it. Tim Lee most definitely represents the residents of Cobb and acted on this early Christmas gift, immediately, when he saw a good thing come our way. Not sure who you hang around with but about 9 out of every 10 people I've talked to think this is a win/win. The other '1' just simply doesn't like baseball or they have other interests. No one is viciously opposed like you seem to be. Bless your heart. Not good to have that much pent up anger.
November 25, 2013
Lib in Cobb
November 24, 2013
Tim Lee and his band of "yes men/women" are writing a check which all of us in Cobb are going to have to pay. Before this white elephant is paid for there will be some kind of a special tax which each Cobb resident will have pay. We can call it "The Tim Lee I didn't See This Coming Tax". If one of the revenue sources does not produce what was planned, then we will pay.

My question for Tim Lee. Did you get any advice at all from people who have been involved in a venture like this?
November 25, 2013
Lib in Cobb...when are you leaving again? You keep saying you're moving but you're still sticking your negative nose into everything. Please don't let the door hit ya and let us have the Braves. A GOOD thing for Cobb County, by the way!
Debbie Dooley
November 25, 2013

Poll shows that 81% of Cobb voters believe the vote should be delayed and public hearings held. 59% of voters that support the stadium deal believe the vote should be delayed and public hearings held .

Chairman Tim Lee apparently does not believe Cobb citizens should have the same right to public hearings as Atlanta voters had during the debate on the Falcons stadium. Democrat Mayor Kasim Reed held public hearings. Apparently the Republicans on the Cobb Board of Commissioners do not believe in public hearings or being open and transparent.
Go Braves!
November 26, 2013
With all due respect Ms. Dooley, keep your Gwinnett County nose out of Cobb County. You can sway a poll any way you desire, such as the ridiculous phone survey that went out to Cobb residents. And please disassociate yourself from my Crimson Tide, you're embarrassing us.
jesse james
November 24, 2013
If Dan McRae says it is a good deal for the County, it is. I am glad Chairman Lee brought him in on the issue.

On matters like this, he is the smartest guy in the room.
I wonder
November 24, 2013
Lee is not worried about re-election. No doubt he and Goreham will have six figure jobs with the Cobb Braves.
Ken Chalker
November 25, 2013
This is one of the best things to happen in Cobb County during my 53 years living here. The deal appear to be fair to the county. I trust our leaders to deal with the access issues. I am a city resident so I don't vote on the county commissioners but I will contribute to the reelection campaign of anyone who has the courage to put in a positive vote tomorrow night. Go Braves!!!
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