It is very interesting in Friday’s “Around the Town” column, the MDJ editorial team called our attention to some very disturbing trends in the way developers and businesses curry tax-break favors from our County officials. Referring to the John Williams’ Riverwalk project, it was stated that if “the Authority and (Cobb Commission Chairman Tim) Lee want to build public confidence in the process by which they spend tax dollars to encourage local development, they’re going about it “bass ackwards.”
However, when it comes to an investment of over $500 million of taxpayer funds in the Braves stadium proposal, which includes the initial $300 million plus interest, the MDJ denies the efforts by citizens to demand transparency, accountability and a reasonable waiting period to properly vet a proposal. Is it because some businesses who are the most outspoken in favor of moving ahead without delay will reap profits from taxpayer investments, regardless of whether the county’s revenue predictions pan out? Or is it because they like the “Cobb Way,” which apparently involves back-room deals by the big-money few and hasty votes by the Board of Commissioners without adequate citizen involvement?
Any reasonable person would have requested and supported a delay in voting for the MOU and would favor a delay now before signing any more contracts with the Braves. It takes time and prudent deliberation to properly conduct responsible due diligence on the proposal — unless you are a business owner or an elected official working on behalf of the Braves organization rather than for the county and the people.
So I will borrow and slightly modify the columnists’ statement and apply it to the Braves proposal: “If the MDJ, Braves, BOC and Lee want to build public confidence in the process by which they spend tax dollars to encourage local development, they’re going about it “bass ackwards.”