Chairman denies request to delay Braves stadium deal
by Jon Gillooly
November 25, 2013 04:40 PM | 5864 views | 13 13 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Greg Morgan, right, along with John Loud, president of Loud Securities, address the media Monday in Glover Park, about the need not to delay the vote by The Cobb County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Greg Morgan, right, along with John Loud, president of Loud Securities, address the media Monday in Glover Park, about the need not to delay the vote by The Cobb County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
Braves Vote Slideshow
Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Greg Morgan, center, along with John Loud, president of Loud Securities, left, and Cumberland CID Executive Director Malaika Rivers, right, address the media Monday in Glover Park, about the need not to delay the vote by The Cobb County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Half a dozen people representing diverse political backgrounds delivered a letter to the Cobb Board of Commissioners on Monday morning asking that a Tuesday vote that would move the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County be delayed for 60 days.

The coalition of groups, which calls itself Citizens for Governmental Transparency, held a press conference on the steps of the county government building prior to handing over the letter.

“We’re here today to respectfully request the Cobb County Commission to delay their vote for a minimum of 60 days in order to give Cobb County citizens a chance to properly vet and understand that proposal,” said member Rich Pellegrino, who also heads the Cobb Immigrant Alliance. “Although we have members who are both for and against the proposed Braves stadium deal, we are unified in our belief that Cobb citizens should be given time to review and publicly comment on any Braves stadium deal that will require the use of significant county tax dollars.”

Michael Opitz of the Madison Forum, also included in the coalition, compared the board’s scheduled Tuesday vote to the passage of Obamacare.

“It’s somewhat reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi that we must push this thing through quickly so we can find out what’s in it,” Opitz said. “Pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it.”

The MDJ asked County Chairman Tim Lee how he planned to answer the request for a delay.

“My response to their request is that we’re not going to do that,” Lee said. “We’re going to proceed tomorrow night with the vote. It’s important for the time table and for moving the project forward and providing some closure and decisiveness, so we believe there has been enough time for the information to get disseminated. I believe there’s been enough time to be disseminated, details to be revised, so we’re going to be moving forward with it tomorrow.”

The supporters While the half dozen critics handed the letter over to a county secretary, about two dozen supporters of Tuesday’s deal turned out on the Marietta Square wearing “Cobb Home of the Braves” T-shirts, among them Greg Morgan, chairman of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce; Malaika Rivers, executive director of the Cumberland Community Improvement District; John Loud, president of Kennesaw-based Loud Security Systems; and Nelson Geter, a retired Georgia Power executive and current executive director of the Development Authority of Cobb County.

Morgan believes most Cobb Countians support the proposal to build a $672 million stadium for the Braves. As for the opposition, “I think it’s a very few loud voices because I know the people that I’ve interacted with in my day-to-day activities are very supportive of it.”

The Cumberland CID issued a press release on Monday announcing that 14 organizations representing 7,500 businesses were urging the Board of Commissioners to vote Tuesday. The Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Cumberland CID, and the Coalition of Cobb County Business Associations — which collectively represent more than 7,500 businesses and individuals in Cobb County and more than 50,000 employees — oppose any delay of the vote on the Braves stadium, according to the release.

Loud called the proposal “one of the most transparent economic development events to hit Cobb County in years.”

He said there was no reason to delay a vote.

“When you look back at what’s going on in the city of Atlanta, they’ve delayed and delayed in working with the Braves organization to come up with a viable solution and an agreement together, so if you look at what the cost of a delay can be, you need to talk to the folks in Atlanta,” Loud said. “We’re in Cobb County today because this opportunity is here for us to seize and now is the time for it.”

The proposed stadium and fan entertainment district would inject more than $1 billion into the Cobb and metro economies, generating more than 9,000 jobs, $235 million in construction payroll and $60 million in ongoing operational payrolls, according to the CID. It would also generate $6 million annually in property and school taxes.
Comments
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Be Careful
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November 26, 2013
I'm so tired of hearing people compare the stadium situation to the school situation.

The problems with the school budget is totally the faultl of the school board who can't fiscally manage their way out of a wet paper bag. When presented over and over again with the opportunity to do the right thing, they always do the wrong thing. That's why the people of Cobb refect increased taxes for the schools.

The stadium is cimpletely different.

So don't be critical of people who don't want more tax going to an already horribly inefficient school system. They have plenty of money, they just need to manage it better.
anonymous
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November 26, 2013
Rich Pellegrino and a group named "Citizens?" Thanks for the morning laugh MDJ!

It didn't take long for the sideshow barkers to show up waving their empty rice bowls in front of the media.
wheresrichie
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November 26, 2013
Haha! I agree with the irony of the ILLEGAL LOVER being tied to a group named 'Citizens!!' Rich Pellegrino. He has become Cobb County's version of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. How does that guy even sleep at night.
PoliticiansLie
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November 26, 2013
These commissioners can just see themselves at the games in those sweet luxury stadium boxes... Exactly what is wrong with a 60 day delay? Answer: jabberwabber doubletalk.
You Know Who
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November 26, 2013
Loud called the proposal “one of the most transparent economic development events to hit Cobb County in years.”

Really? How can he say this with a straight face? The arrogance of these commissioners and the Braves execs is astounding.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Chairman denies request to delay Braves stadium deal
Pro Middle Class
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November 25, 2013
The Pro-Braves group are a prime example of the very few that will make a heavy profit off of the backs of the taxpayers. And don’t forget, Cobb purchased the Galleria Mall when it was dying. We bailed out the wealthy then, and they want entitlements now for another wealthy group.
Doncobb
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November 25, 2013
It's not funny anymore how so many great teachers, firemen , police,and EMTs in cobb are treated when they want job security and reasonable pay. Now cobb just sells muni bonds to fund overpaid ball players and owners. No doubt our AAA rating will drop in long run. I am personally everyday as citizen of cobb county for 22 years amazed at our county employees professionalism. With a large percentage of citizens appraching 62 the tax base will no longer support them much longer. And oh ya I am not a county employee.
as usual
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November 25, 2013
The Cobb Chamber is all over this...why am I not surprised.

All for bringing in economic development, but not at taxpayers expense.
RJ Christensen
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November 25, 2013
Never mind the Cobb School system has a $90 million deficit, has been on a hiring freeze for 3 years, has lost 1200 teachers through retirement & attrition, and even the best high school in the county has a 1-34 teacher to student ratio.... Tim Lee has miraculously has $450 million to spend on a pretty & shiny plaything.
Holding th bag
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November 25, 2013
The Cobb County taxpayers will be holding the bag years down the road. Taxpayers don't want to pay school taxes and have watched teachers and students suffer, yet they are all in for a tax increase for the Braves. The priorities of people are so sad. Yes, I know....the commissioners stated there would be no tax increase. There will be when they suddenly let you know that we need to provide mass transit and raise your taxes. Or upkeep is more than expected. Oh and when the Braves leave in 15 years and the area is dilapidated. I don't really care because we are moving out but I think it is funny how the politicians will lie and people will buy it!
@ Holding th bag
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November 25, 2013
For the "ump"teenth time; the school district property tax is not tied to the property taxes levied by the Cobb Commission. Funds from one entity cannot be diverted to the other entity.

Altogether now... Repeat after me... "School district property taxes are separate from Cobb Commission property taxes."
anonymous
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November 26, 2013
Cobb County taxpayers gladly pay plenty of school taxes. The problem is that those in charge of the school budget continually overrun and there is not enough money in America to fill that bucket until someone gets in the Board of Education that reigns in spending. The problem is not that schools don't have enough money, they have more than plenty. The problem is they don't know how to spend it wisely. My priority is to ask that somebody takes over the school budget that has a brain. Go on and move. Don't let the door hit you in the hind end on your way out.
JJMule
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November 26, 2013
You are so right, the commissioners,Tim Lee and County Manager Hankerson, don't give a Hoot about there adopted home Cobb County.

They are only concerned with there wealth and sports interest.

Hankerson Village (Safety Village) Timmy Stadium.

The home of the Braves should stay where HAMMERING HANK made history.

LET'S KEEP THE BRAVES IN ATLANTA.

THE TED, SHOULD HAVE BEEN NAMED ARRON FIELD IN THE FIRST PLACE.
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