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Maria's Metro

A new Braves stadium in Cobb County shows metro Atlanta still doesn’t understand the concept of regionalism

By Maria Saporta

Regionalism in metro Atlanta is such a tough concept to grasp.

It is not about each county or city government having its own international airport, its own professional sports stadium or its own water and sewer system.

Regionalism is about investing in regional assets that serve the entire 10-county or 20-county region.

Several of our top elected officials seem to be confused these days about the benefits of having a regional mindset. Their minds have become absorbed with thoughts of elevating their own government or what they think will best serve their own future political careers rather than looking at the true regional cost of their actions.

As a result, we as a region may be on the precipice of making an unwise regional decision to build a new Braves baseball stadium in Cobb County.

Why? Because the Atlanta region was given a state-of the art baseball stadium — tax free — during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. In fact Atlanta has been applauded as a model Olympic city for having provided an afterlife for most of our major Olympic venues.

Better yet, our Olympic stadium was designed with the full intention of having it converted into a baseball stadium specifically designed for the Atlanta Braves after the 1996 Games.

Turner Broadcasting System, then the owner of the Atlanta Braves, paid about $50 million to convert the Olympic stadium into Turner Field so that baseball fans could have a beautiful view of the city’s skyline as they watched the Braves play in the Atlanta sunshine. Again, this was a gift to the region with virtually no tax money involved.

Looking back, perhaps the stadium should have been turned over to a regional entity to reflect the true asset of a professional baseball stadium to the Atlanta region. Instead, the ownership of Turner Field belongs to the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.

That has proven to be one of the key reasons why the owners of the Atlanta Braves have decided to abandon Turner Field — their home for the past 17 years on the site where they have been since they moved to Atlanta in 1966.

But a move to Cobb would have been unnecessary if we only knew how to act like a region and govern in a business-like manner. After all, the first choice of the Atlanta Braves had been to renew their lease at Turner Field. The Braves, however, wanted to be able to operate out of Turner Field without the interference of the Recreation Authority.

All this talk of regionalism (and the misstatements of what it means) have taken me back to 1997 when top metro Atlanta business, civic and government leaders went to Denver on the first regional LINK trip — an annual effort to bring the region closer together.

Then-Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne told me a story of how he had tried to broker a deal four years earlier with the City of Atlanta’s Mayor Maynard Jackson to jointly plan an expansion of their water and sewer treatment systems.

Cobb was building a nine-mile sewer tunnel system along the Chattahoochee River from East Cobb to South Cobb and the City of Atlanta was doing the same thing on the other side of the river.

Both governments also had to expand their sewage treatment plants — Cobb’s R.L. Sutton sewage treatment plant and Atlanta’s R.M. Clayton plant — directly across the Chattahoochee River from each other.

“We tried to promote a joint treatment facility between Cobb and Atlanta. It was a duplication of services and certainly a duplication of cost,” Byrne said Monday remembering the failed attempt at regional cooperation. “It never materialized.”

Ironically, LINK was touring Denver — where we were able to visit the $215 million Coors Field, the city’s new downtown baseball stadium where the Colorado Rockies had begun playing in 1995.

Voters in the six-county metro area paid for Coors Field with a 1/10th of a cent sales tax increase. The only county to vote down the tax was Denver where the stadium was built because voters were concerned about paying for yet another infrastructure cost. But there was enough regional support, so the tax passed.

“At the end of the day, everybody wanted to see baseball,” Ray Baker, chairman of the Metro Stadium District Authority, told the LINK delegation at the time.

Since then, the Denver region has been building out its light rail transit system, and today, Coors Field is served by at least three light rail stations within a mile of the stadium (one is only .4 miles away).

My friends in metro Atlanta — that is regionalism.

When we talk about sharing the cost of our region’s infrastructure, that does not mean duplicating an existing stadium that was built tax free by building a new $672 million stadium14 miles away that will cost Cobb County taxpayers at least $300 million in an already traffic-congested area with no rail transit and no plans for rail transit.

That is not regionalism. That is one county government looking out for its own self interest at the expense of another government that wasn’t able to get its act together to keep the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

There are so many layers of irony here.

Before a project list was put together for the regional transportation sales tax vote on July 31, 2012, a survey was done to find out which transportation projects among metro Atlanta residents  would have the greatest regional support.

The most popular one by far was to extend MARTA or improved transit access to Turner Field — probably top on the Atlanta Braves’ wish list as well. But that never made it on the project list, and of course the regional sales tax failed.


Because for so many reasons, we still haven’t figured out how to think and act like a region.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. Chief Nockahoma November 25, 2013 2:33 pm

    Blame city of Atlanta’s ineptness, not Cobb’s prowess.Report

  2. SB November 25, 2013 3:16 pm

    Chief Nockahoma Good reading comprehension skills.Report

  3. Chief Nockahoma November 25, 2013 3:47 pm

    @SB Chief Nockahoma Go Smyrna Braves!Report

  4. Reinvent_ED November 25, 2013 5:08 pm

    A very interesting perspective, Maria.  You are correct that we don’t think like a region, especially when all of the major attractions are in the city and not in the neighboring counties.    However, what’s missing here is the business side of this transaction.  Turner Field never became the place where people stayed before games or after games.  No economic development happened there.  And that is the fault of the City of Atlanta.  Cobb County is guaranteeing that there will be an experience created around the ballpark so that people come with their families before and after games or even other events.
    Now to the Braves.   They need revenue.   They have the worst television deal in the league.  They don’t control the stadium operations – they are merely tenants.  Plus, their fan base is largely in the suburbs.   So now they get to control the operations, and they are ingrained in the community for at least 30 years.  A non-relocation side agreement is included in the MOU.   
    Now the transportation issue has to be solved, which it will.  But don’t blame this on Cobb County.   They made a smart business decision – after all, this is more about a business transaction that will boost revenue in Cobb County,  than anything else, and that is good for the region as a whole.Report

  5. Soxie November 25, 2013 6:30 pm

    Beautifully put.Report

  6. Soxie November 25, 2013 6:30 pm

    Beautifully put.Report

  7. Kdogg November 25, 2013 8:49 pm

    I’ve been wondering this, but haven’t seen this answered anywhere yet. Since the proposed new stadium will be in Cobb county, yet still maintain an Atlanta address, will the City of Atlanta get ANY tax revenue? Just curious…Report

  8. JayTreadwell November 26, 2013 12:11 am

    I guess dissent is not tolerated on this blog. I posted on November 26th that I wonder why Cobb is only considered advantageous to “The Region” when it is a donor County.  I just noticed that my comment was a victim of censorship by the media.Report

  9. Andrew Nevada November 26, 2013 11:26 am

    Good column — and beyond being upset about the Braves leaving the city, i’m trying to figure out what i’m *incredibly* agitated about it being Cobb County. And here’s the issue in a nutshell – that region has built their growth and their outlook as being anti-urban. They’d feel the same way if they were outside of Chicago, or D.C. or LA…they’re just not city people…lots of fear, etc. So for the baseball team to move there…and I regard baseball as the heart/soul of major cities …is taking a team that pulls the city together and using it as a tool to attack and divide. A dismal outcome indeed.Report

  10. Question Man November 26, 2013 11:36 am

    When has there ever been regionalism in Atlanta? For example, isn’t the tidal wave of municipalization and the threat to break Fulton County in two just the opposite? Why bemoan the absence of collaboration when it has never existed, and probably never will?Report

  11. John Hutcheson November 26, 2013 11:40 am

    Thanks Maria!Report

  12. scfranklin November 26, 2013 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the lesson and clarity of the message.
    We could ask former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell about regionalism too. He is one of the few Southern leaders who understood the need for transit in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. The City of Atlanta, Fulton County and Dekalb County, their elected leaders and the majority voters, first in the 1970’s and more recently with the extension of the MARTA sales tax, have cooperated on funding and building MARTA, when others in the metro area wouldn’t talk about the need to build transit infrastructure or how to fund it. MARTA offers the backbone for an 10 county wide transit system connected to the world’d busiest airport which is located in yet another county, Clayton. Or we can remember Mayor Hartsfield and other regional leaders who in the 1950’s lobbied Congress for Lake Lanier or City of Atlanta leaders the expansion of Atlanta’s water system to accomodate a manufacturing plant moving outside the city a few decades earlier.
    That said, I agree there are too few examples. As the population of the region has grown the partnership opportunity is more complicated than ever by local politics and NIMBY fears.Report

  13. John Hutcheson November 26, 2013 12:32 pm

    Chief Nockahoma 
    Where ever we live within the region, I think we need to hold off (cheers or jeers) until we find out if we’re going to be able to get to a new stadium 
    John HutchesonReport

  14. chuckjonez November 26, 2013 3:48 pm

    This article went the opposite direction I expected.  The New York Giants play in New Jersey.  The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington.  The Braves totally have a right to ditch their ineffective, corrupt landlords and move to a better location within metro Atlanta, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking Smyrna, Doraville or Atlanta.  They are still the Atlanta Braves.  THAT is regionalism.Report

  15. John Hutcheson November 26, 2013 4:44 pm

    Not when 3/5 of the residents of the region are cut-off from the games because of lack of transportation infrastructure.Report

  16. Reinvent_ED November 26, 2013 4:47 pm

    John – do we know that 3/5 of the residents are cut off from games?  We know that most of the Braves’ fan base is in the suburbs.  I don’t have the exact figures.Report

  17. Reinvent_ED November 26, 2013 4:47 pm

    chuckjonez valid points, Chuck.Report

  18. John Hutcheson November 26, 2013 5:07 pm

    Haven’t done careful analysis, but I would think the Braves would want to expand, rather than contract, the fan base. On weeknights — are people going to use 285 N on the West Side, 285 N on the East side, 75 N from the S, 400 from the S?
    I sure won’t — as said before, all depends on public transportation — just like Turner field — if that is not the problem being solved, then why the move? It’s just decreasing the size of the potential fan base. Have the Braves decided that their market is exclusively rich white people? Is this the only part of the region that they feel they should serve when they use the name ‘Atlanta.’ Cobb Crackers sounds a lot more accurate to me.Report

  19. Reinvent_ED November 26, 2013 5:47 pm

    I think it was more than fan base.  They wanted to control operations and generate more revenue , given they have the worst television contract in the MLB, amongst other things.  The vision for Cobb offers an experience that keeps people in the area long before or long after games.    Interesting comment below about the NY Giants in NJ and the Cowboys/Rangers in Arlington….Report

  20. Burroughston Broch November 26, 2013 9:07 pm

    Maria, the opportunity to negotiate with the Braves as a region was squandered by the Mayor of Atlanta. He negotiated in a desultory manner for years, while keeping the matter under wraps. Until the Braves approached Cobb, no other regional government was involved.
    Regionalism means sharing information, which is completely foreign to the City of Atlanta.
    Regionalism, when it occurs, will not include the City of Atlanta because the City always wants to play “heads I win, tails you lose.”Report

  21. John Hutcheson November 26, 2013 10:48 pm

    Said the guy who starting the game on third base saying he hit a home run.Report

  22. JSVH November 27, 2013 9:38 am

    As a City of Atlanta tax payer, I am quite happy with their handling of this. No need to out-bid Cobb’s offer of hundreds of millions in tax dollars to a private company managed from Colorado. This will be good for the Atlanta neighborhoods too when all those parking lots get redeveloped into a real community.
    Competition can be good for municipalities too. Let Cobb spend their tax dollars building stadiums and Atlanta will focus on improving infrastructure and keeping taxes lower (the reverse of decades past).  We will see who is better off in the future.Report

  23. gtalum06 November 27, 2013 10:30 am

    I think the key problem to this specific case is pretty simple, unfortunately: Atlanta Fulton County Rec… It’s common knowledge by now that the City of Atlanta, and any government entities within, is a bit of a hot mess. I don’t blame the Braves for wanting to get away from that. However, they are going to encounter issues wherever they go in the area until the idea of regionalism actually spreads to those making the decisions.
    I am certain that two of the biggest hindrances to a successful regionalism mindset here are City of Atlanta and Cobb County. So, again, they’re going to face the same issues…just in a different location. Cobb and Atlanta have been keeping each other fairly separate since segregation…(racial issues aside, it’s jut how the two governments have been competing over the years)
    In Cobb there will be no accessible public transit, at least none that connects outside of Cobb. There will be limited access from anywhere South or West of Cobb due to the location and highways we have here (seriously, how is there no efficient route from Gwinnett to Cobb without going into the city?). So, if Cobb is wanting to band together only with the counties/regions to the north and west of themselves, this will work…Report

  24. chuckjonez November 27, 2013 10:31 am

    Re. the comments below about roads and traffic. These same issues exist in Dallas/Arlington, where there is no rail system. And I don’t know what economics led the Giants to the Meadowlands, but the awesome subway that serves the 5 Burroughs stops at the river. The only way for New Yorkers to get to a game is by car or bus, through the jam packed Lincoln tunnel. I’m not sure we have had or will have much to complain about.Report

  25. The Last Democrat in Georgia November 28, 2013 5:05 am

    @Kdogg {{{“Since the proposed new stadium will be in Cobb county, yet still maintain an Atlanta address, will the City of Atlanta get ANY tax revenue? Just curious…”}}}
    No, the City of Atlanta will not get any tax revenue out of this deal because the project will be within the jurisdiction of unincorporated Cobb County and NOT within the jurisdiction of the City of Atlanta.Report

  26. informedcitizen November 28, 2013 7:11 am

    chuckjonez You are incorrect. The Meadowlands complex is served by MTA & NJ Transit which provide a rail link to/from Manhattan. I know this because I have taken the train to the stadium and you obviously have not. So know your facts before you make baseless claims.
    The New York (Tri-State Area) metropolitan area is a great example of how cooperating governments can benefit an entire region. Improving quality of life and economic benefits for all it’s citizens.

  27. m2t November 28, 2013 11:15 am

    Chief Nockahoma It doesn’t take much prowess to lure a baseball team to your area when you’re willing to pay half the cost of the new stadium to get it.Report

  28. War Eagle '77 November 28, 2013 1:17 pm

    TSPLOT lost. – non regional projects lik street cars & belt line. MARTA FAILING because fail management. Make work projects, corruption. Political corruption rampant in Atlanta & Fulton County. All the chaos about a football stadium that holds 8 games. Yet no one cared about 81 games. SO THE BRAVES LEFT. WHO BLAMES THEM!!! Why should a private business care about regionalism when the politicians only care about their cronies and their pockets!!!
    Atlanta & Fulton County residents WAKE UP!!!!! If you continue voting in these lousy politicians expect to see more things leave!!Report

  29. ScottNAtlanta November 29, 2013 4:26 pm

    War Eagle ’77 It would be nice if just once you had your facts straight.  The falcons stadium is going to be paid for by the hotel/motel tax that is already a funding stream.  There is no such funding stream for Turner Field, and it would come at the expense of many of the other infrastructure projects that Atlanta has to “go it alone” on because of short sighted small minded people.  I love how fiscally conservative everyone is when it come to Atlanta, then WHOOSH it vaporizes when it benefits them (stadium/cobb).
    I think we are quite a ways from any kind of regional thinking here…too much “where’s mine” around.  Got to get rid of the “mememe” by doing what so many people just dont do in the city…VOTE.  
    War Eagles Comment is but a symptom of the lies and mistrust, us vs them…”MARTA is corrupt”…aka we dont want minorities (guess what, they drive too), “political corruption rampant” yeah from the Cobb County board who took 2 years to decide if people could have chickens yet rammed a 300 million project down the throats of their residents in just a couple of weeks, like it or not.  
    This might actually be a good thing, the stadium in Cobb.  They are going to learn real fast that they wont be able to go it alone on this.  They will need state funding to expand/improve infrastructure…and it wont be coming all that easily.  They will have to work with Fulton, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and Atlanta on a traffic plan.  Anyone who has had to cross the river from Cobb to Fulton to get to work over the last several years knows what happens when they dont.Report

  30. ScottNAtlanta November 29, 2013 4:33 pm

    gtalum06 I would argue that the problem is more of a Fulton Co gov. problem than a City of Atlanta problem.  COA has no control over Fulton Rec.  In fact, it would take an act of the State Legislature to make any changes to it or eliminate it.  I dont think there are many people here who would say that Fulton governance is not a hot mess (just follow the track record of Emma Darnell if you want good examples of cronyism and patronage).  The COA while not perfect is miles ahead of Fulton.Report

  31. ScottNAtlanta November 29, 2013 4:48 pm

    The Last Democrat in Georgia Even though it is 10 miles a way, they will still need the hotel rooms in the COA, since the number of rooms in Cobb is grossly inadequate, and in 3 years that is not going to change…so, they will be paying the hotel/motel tax…and ironically helping us build the Falcon Stadium.  This will also be of great benefit to Sandy Springs and Dunwoody as well.  It shows how flawed the financing deal is on Cobb’s end.  Most of the tax revenue they are projecting will end up in either Fulton or COA in the near term.  They wont be able to add enough rooms to meet demand in 3 years in CobbReport

  32. ScottNAtlanta November 29, 2013 4:55 pm

    Reinvent_ED”However, what’s missing here is the business side of this transaction. 
    Turner Field never became the place where people stayed before games or
    after games.  No economic development happened there.  And that is the
    fault of the City of Atlanta.”
    I’m sorry but that is incorrect.  The stadium is controlled by the Fulton Co. Recreational Authority…an entity of Fulton County, NOT COA.  So you cast blame in the wrong direction.  FYI, it would also take an act of the State Legislature to amend that agreement (or for that matter to dissolve the FCRA), so laying any significant blame (at least the way you framed it)with the COA is not correct.Report

  33. Burroughston Broch November 29, 2013 6:51 pm

    You’ve got this all wrong, so let me correct you.
    It’s the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority.
    It’s controlled by the Mayor and City of Atlanta since they appoint 6 of the 9 authority board members.
    It’s a hot mess and it’s the City of Atlanta’s hot mess.Report

  34. JSVH November 29, 2013 7:05 pm

    Broch, you are right about the Rec authority. But this is Cobb’s hot mess. I am quite happy my property taxes aren’t paying the Braves. It would be great if the area around turner had been redeveloped as has been proposed by the city. But this will be even better for the neighborhood. Parking lots kill vibrancy.Report

  35. Burroughston Broch November 29, 2013 10:33 pm

    You should know about parking lots killing vibrancy, since the TED and its predecessor, together with their monstrous parking lots, have been in place for 48 years.
    It sounds to me like the Braves wanted to be part or redeveloping the area around the TED, but Hizzoner the Mayor would have none of it. So now he is looking for private partners to pay for redevelopment. With the right negotiations, I suspect the Braves would have invested.Report

  36. JSVH November 29, 2013 11:23 pm

    Burroughston Broch
    The Ted and its parking lots are what I am talking about. The city was bringing in redevelopment ideas for the parking lots before: http://www.ajc.com/news/business/city-hopes-parking-lots-around-turner-field-could-/nSBM8/ But that is not what the Braves wanted. They demanded limits on the number of restaurants, bars and things that could be near by and wanted hundreds of millions of dollars and ownership. They heard the dollar figure of what Cobb was offering and did not even wait for a response from the COA. Not acceptable. Reed made the right call. Our tax monies are needed for infrastructure. Not bribing private sports teams.Report

  37. Burroughston Broch November 30, 2013 2:30 am

    “Our tax monies are needed for infrastructure. Not bribing private sports teams.”
    Unless they are the Falcons and have Arthur Blank’s wallet attached, eh?Report

  38. JSVH November 30, 2013 8:48 am

    Burroughston Broch
    Not crazy about public money going to the Falcons stadium either. However, at least it is a much better deal. They are using the same funding stream the was going to pay for maintenance on the 100% public dome to a 17% public, $1.2B world-class stadium that can hold multiple sports and major events like Super Bowls and World Cups, and concerts. Plus they did not demand any limits on private restaurants and things opening near by.Report

  39. John Hutcheson November 30, 2013 10:11 am

    Burroughston Broch JSVH The difference is that Mr. Blank is a local businessman and has demonstrated a commitment to the region as well as the city. The Braves are a corporation that appears to be interested in just taking as much money out of the region as possible (shareholder value).Report

  40. Burroughston Broch November 30, 2013 1:16 pm

    John Hutcheson
    So, if a neighbor takes advantage of you that’s OK with you, but the same doesn’t apply to a stranger.
    Not in my book.
    And you can save your breath about Blank. He is obsessed with his profit just as is Liberty Media that owns the Braves.Report

  41. John Hutcheson November 30, 2013 3:33 pm

    Burroughston Broch John Hutcheson That’s not the point. The point is if Blank profits that profit has some possibility of being re-invested in the community. This is not the case with Liberty Media — do you know anyone that owns Liberty Media stock?Report

  42. Question Man November 30, 2013 10:33 pm

    John, if you are correct about Blank versus Liberty, then didn’t Mayor Reed clearly put our money on the wrong horse? If Blank is such an upstanding Atlanta citizen, how could Blank possibly have moved the Braves out of the City of Atlanta, and by the same measure, shouldn’t it have been obvious that Liberty–with no affinity for Atlanta–should have been wined and dined by Mayor Reed and his team? So what happened? John Hutcheson Burroughston Broch JSVHReport

  43. JSVH November 30, 2013 11:48 pm

    Question Man John Hutcheson Burroughston Broch JSVH
    Question Man – Not sure I understand you question. Blank does not own the Braves. Colorado based Liberty Media does. Neither should have been bribed. But the COA got the better deal. Cobb got a bad deal.Report

  44. John Hutcheson December 1, 2013 11:46 am

    JSVH Question Man John Hutcheson Burroughston Broch 
    I’m not sure I’m following all of this but all I was saying is that if the public is going to invest in a private enterprise, it is important to assess, like any other investment, the potential risks and return (for the public). I think if we had to chose between a local business and a corporation with no real ties to the city, the risk is lower and the return possibilities are higher if we go with the local business (in this case Blank).
    That having been said, the people who live in the immediate area of Turner field have lost a resource and what makes that even more disappointing is that had that resource been leveraged appropriately (in my opinion rail infrastructure), its value could have been substantial (both to the immediate community — the rail would increase access to jobs elsewhere in the region; and to the region — better access to the Ted). I guess I have been a bit disappointed that the City did not seem to anticipate the extent to which Cobb, and other counties, would go to ‘attract an asset’ from the City to the County. Further, it is disappointing from the point of view of residents of the County, that the public has not been adequate opportunity to assess risk and reward.  
    Initially, there was some hope (but from previous history, very doubtful)  that there might be some regional benefit in the deal (rail) in the Cobb County deal. Now, of course, that possibility has become even more unlikely. This, I believe, is a clear signal that the interests that have dominated land-use in the region will continue to do so and that the public (either local or regional) will not be well served. As I have indicated previously, I believe this clearly indicates GA DOT will be called upon to resolve access/egress issues and that is likely to have negative consequences for residential communities in South Cobb County. In the long run, I do not think this to be in the interests of the residents of Cobb County (especially those in South Cobb) or of the residents of the region.
    In the meantime, I do hope that the city has some back-up plans for the around the Ted. However, I fear that without access to rail, such development will be difficult and if it does occur, it will ultimately lead to a great deal of dislocation rather than leading to development of the existing communities.Report

  45. mariasaporta December 1, 2013 5:15 pm

    Burroughston Broch 
    It actually cuts both ways.  I do agree that the city squandered its opportunity to negotiate with the Braves —perhaps believing falsely that the Braves wouldn’t leave Turner Field and that time was on its side. But are we really helping ourselves as a region when we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul? Stealing companies from one section of our region to another is a zero-sum gain. 
    By the way, wouldn’t it have been a statesmanlike action on the part of Cobb to “share information” and let the City of Atlanta know that the Braves were knocking on their door. The Braves did not act well in this either because they never gave the city a chance to acknowledge how badly it had screwed up and come up with an alternative proposal. And because Atlanta already have a stadium that’s built and paid for, we would not have had to “outbid” Cobb. 
    This is a super sad story where nobody in the region looks good and where ultimately everybody loses — the city, the Braves and Cobb.Report

  46. John Hutcheson December 1, 2013 7:08 pm

    War Eagle — I don’t disagree with everything you said, certainly management of MARTA has not been perfect, but the real problems date back to the design and politics of the system — the system was designed to bring commuters into the central city from the suburban counties for work. So, entertainment venues were a secondary consideration. Of course, when the Northern Counties did not join the system, the design of the system did not suit the political realities — yet, I guess people were still optimistic that the Northern Counties would eventually join after the people of DeKalb and Fulton (and the City) bore most of the initial costs. That was a mistake (and I know the politics were very complex, federal funding requirement, etc.). Basically, it seems to me that we have a system built for commuters that do not want to use it. A difficult management problem. The system is simply not built for intra-city traffic (at least it has very limited utility as built). That is why the beltline is so important. So, I would like to see any further development of the system be designed to facilitate traffic within the City — but this is costly and funding would be very difficult given that Fulton and DeKalb Counties already bear a lot of the costs for a system that doesn’t serve city residents very well. So, I’m not sure we can blame bad management — I think the system was build to suit a business community that, at the time. was principally considering the movement of suburban commuters in and out of the central business district. So, the mistake was, again, letting business make decisions without sufficient consideration of the public interest. But that is how ‘business’ has been done in Atlanta since at least the 1930s. Sometimes it works in the public interest, often it doesn’t.Report

  47. PatrickSullivan1 December 2, 2013 10:55 am

    chuckjonez  So we should be calling them the Metro Atlanta Region Braves then, because they are not in the City of Atlanta.Report

  48. PatrickSullivan1 December 2, 2013 10:59 am

    Reinvent_ED This isn’t business, unless by business, you mean government subsidized socialism.  Sure wish someone would give me $300 million to start a business – that kinda capitalism sounds great!Report

  49. chuckjonez December 2, 2013 11:18 am

    PatrickSullivan1 chuckjonez That’s the opposite of my thought, Patrick.  The Braves don’t need renaming just as the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants didn’t and don’t need it.  To the rest of the country, Atlanta is the 10th largest city in the U.S. (it might occur to some to say “metro area” instead of “city”).  I guarantee you, though, that visitors here have no idea the wheels of their plane touch down in Clayton County and their 12 minute cab ride to the Hyatt Regency takes them through College Park and East Point before they finally arrive in “Atlanta.”  And if they knew, it wouldn’t matter to them.  Seems to me.Report

  50. Reinvent_ED December 2, 2013 11:31 am

    PatrickSullivan1 Reinvent_ED That is categorically false on your part.  This is a business deal and this is how new stadiums are financed.  Maybe Cobb’s 45% should have been a little lower, but it’s a win-win deal.  The Braves are not a tenant anymore.   And to Maria’s point, she doesn’t understand business.  Why should Cobb share info with the city of Atlanta?  So that Atlanta could blow up Cobb’s negotiation?  Why on earth would they do that?  Regionalism does not mean that every major sports team has to be located in the inner city.Report

  51. John Hutcheson December 2, 2013 12:48 pm

    PatrickSullivan1 chuckjonez The decision to move did not include the residents of the region — the decision involve private business people conferring (in private) the representatives of one County (Cobb) — so, since the region was not involved, in any way in the decision, I think it more appropriate to call them the Cobb County… some things — I think ‘Crackers’ — but that’s for the people of Cobb County to decide — I don’t think negotiating in ‘smoke filled’ rooms out of the public eye is particularly Brave, so I don’t think ‘Braves’ is appropriate.Report

  52. John Hutcheson December 2, 2013 1:23 pm

    JayTreadwell Hi Jay — I don’t understand how or when Cobb has ever been a ‘donor’ county. It developed principally as a bedroom community for people who worked in Atlanta but wanted to go home to a small-town atmosphere. All of Cobb County’s development has depended on its proximity to the City’s resources and the County has always resisted paying for the maintenance of those resources. So, what is being donated?Report

  53. mariasaporta December 2, 2013 9:45 pm

    JayTreadwell Your comment was not censored. In the nearly five years that I’ve had this website, I’ve only deleted four comments, and I deleted them because they were totally inappropriate or libelous or attacked someone personally and unnecessarily.  This site tries to keep the conversation civil.  I don’t know what happened to your “donor” comment.  For some reason it must not have posted. Please try reposting.Report

  54. War Eagle '77 December 4, 2013 11:15 pm

    ScottNAtlanta War Eagle ’77 There is no such funding stream because the ATLANTA POLITICIANS IGNORED THE BRAVES REQUEST. They could have /should have funded 81 games from the motel tax. 
    Instead these same politicians ran around making deals (with other peoples money) for 8 games a year.
    81 vs  8 – simple math. But they flunk math.
    Tell me I am wrong!!! 
    As far a MARTA being corrupt- you said “aka we dont want minorities (guess what, they drive too)” I did not say that. You must be bias or something.  I am talking about the overtime scam, the sick leave scam, the cell phone scam, the 5 employees doing 1 job, and the list goes on.
    If MARTA is so good, why is their ridership going down???
    As far as Cobb County is concerned, Those taxpayers will have to foot the bill if the “REVENUE BONDS” can’t pay the amount borrowed. I believe COBB has a MOTEL TAX as well. Plus their own BOND RATING to worry about.
    If Cobb citizens don’t like what the commission has done, they can vote them out, recall them, or leave the county for other less corrupt places and not pay Cobb County Taxes.
    Finally, the Jonhson Ferry rd. bridge has been a prolem since the Reagan Administration. Seems the everyone works around that bottle neck, since THOUSANDS OFJOBS are located between Peremiter Mall and the PLATINUM TRIANGLE (where the new Braves stadium is going).
    Face it – ATLANTA BLEW IT!!!!Report

  55. JSVH December 5, 2013 9:39 am

    War Eagle ’77 – You seem to be grasping for straws here. Who exactly are you saying blew it? 
    Funding for stadiums like both of these is a mild for a corruption and should be illegal. But the city of Atlanta got the better deal. For about half the tax money of Cobb they got a true world-class stadium that can host NFL, MLS, Super Bowls, World Cups, concerts among other things. Your 8 games a year is straight wrong. No one ignored the Braves. The Braves saw all the tax dollars in Cobb and the city said good luck, we cannot offer that much (Thank god!).
    Baseball has been losing viewership for decades and the Cobb location will be a terrible for traffic. It was silly for Cobb to put so much tax money in, but since Atlanta is broken up into different municipalities, the region can continue to move a head even if Cobb continues to make bad financial decisions and goes into decline. That is the advantage of Atlanta: competing municipalities. 
    And spending the hotel tax is only allowed to be spent on GWCC property per state law. But regardless the COA should not be throwing tax money at the Braves. Cobb is throwing in property taxes (from all of Cobb), new rental car taxes, new hotel taxes, and additional taxes on the Cumberland area to pay Liberty Media. Even by the Braves’ own very ambitious calculations that they bring in $8m a year in tax money there is little chance of them paying back their cost even if they stay for decades. Where as a private development like Atlantic Station brings in $50m+ a year in taxes and creates thousands of better jobs than a stadium. Time to let Summerhill heal and redevelop.Report

  56. dbulleit December 8, 2013 9:39 pm

    Agree! And have you checked out http://t.co/iGfe9xRk6zReport


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