Alas, the man is in a sour and dour mood these days over the proposed move of the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County. Schultz has accused Cobb Chairman Tim Lee of everything from starting World War II to the heartbreak of psoriasis.
He was especially peeved at how last Tuesday’s bond hearing went and that supporters of the move of the team to Cobb County had out-maneuvered the gaggle of professional dissidents and secured all the allotted slots for public comment. Schultz quotes none other than my main man, Rich Pellegrino, of the Citizens for Government Transparency — not to be confused with all the Whatevers for Whatever for whom he has provided his invaluable leadership over the years.
I assume Pellegrino was Schultz’s highest and best source that evening since a valued member of the opposition team, Tea Party stalwart Debbie Dooley, is still in Blue Ridge receiving accolades for having kept Georgia House Speaker David Ralston’s re-election margin to plus-or-minus a landslide.
Pellegrino told Schultz that he and his gang weren’t able to get speaking slots at the meeting because “We don’t get corporate welfare — we have to work.” Oh, please.
I am going out on a limb here, but I suspect that Justin O’Dell, a highly-respected young attorney in Marietta and one of the speakers in favor of the move, works too; maybe as hard or harder than Pellegrino, and to my knowledge has never encouraged high school kids to walk out of class to protest a piece of legislation he didn’t like or enticed two poor souls to go on a honey-and-lemon fast in one of his protests de jour while somehow managing not to get included himself.
I’m not sure why the Atlanta newspaper feels this urgency to protect us from ourselves in Cobb County. I would suggest it is one more example of the Our-Sweat-Doesn’t-Stink-But-Yours-Does mentality that emanates from the City of Atlanta, aka “Malfunction Junction,” where the sewers don’t work and neither do a number of its inhabitants.
But that can’t be it. The Atlanta newspapers are not in Atlanta anymore, Toto. They are chunking their spears and arrows of righteous indignation at us from their offices in bucolic Dunwoody, which is further from downtown Atlanta than the Big Chicken is.
Maybe Schultz and his colleagues are frustrated because, unlike the Braves, their bosses didn’t choose to move to Cobb but opted instead for DeKalb County, that paradigm of honest and transparent government. (Insert joke here.) Maybe they should consider a honey-and-lemon fast or walk out in the middle of a slow-pitch softball game in downtown Dunwoody. Or maybe they should get over it. The Braves are coming to Cobb County, whether they like it or not. Get the binkies ready.
On the other hand, I would suggest that Tim Lee not make it so easy to incite the folks in Dunwoody with what is coming across as arrogant and high-handed management of the process. Most everyone I have talked to — note to Atlanta newspaper scribes: I live and work in Cobb County. You should try it — are pleased to see the Braves coming to Cobb County. And we are smart enough to oversee the details for ourselves. We don’t need an out-of-town newspaper and a group of publicity-seeking special interest groups — or warm-spit anonymous commentators — to do it for us.
But let’s have a little less bullying. This is a democracy, after all. While I enjoyed seeing Pellegrino and his crowd put on the defensive because the other side was the more aggressive, it would not have hurt to give the naysayers a few minutes to fulminate. What Lee did in denying them their 15 seconds of fame was the baseball equivalent of stealing second base while leading by 10 runs. Not classy.
I had no love lost for the Atlanta Braves in the days of Ted Turner and Stan Kasten, the unpleasant president of the team during our run-up to the 1996 Olympic Games. This is a different group. Mike Plant, the team’s executive vice president and point man on the deal, is a straight-shooter and has shown a willingness to deal with questions and concerns from proponents and opponents alike. Chairman Lee could take some lessons from him.
In closing, let me thank the folks in Dunwoody for their concerns about our well-being here in Hooterville, but I think we can take it from here. Dan Uggla needs you worse than we do.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb