Falcons & Braves Stadium Opposition Moves Forward in Unity

Monday, August 2, several groups came from Fulton County, Cobb County, and as far as 90 miles away, to converge on the Georgia State Capitol and let their voices be heard on the new Falcons and Braves stadium ‘deals.’ Debbie Dooley, of the Atlanta Tea Party, introduced the diverse group of coalition leaders and citizens who joined together to object to the public financing of hundreds of millions of dollars with no voter approval whatsoever.

The groups believe that the hundreds of millions of public funds committed to pay for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Braves stadiums could have been put to better use within Cobb and Fulton County communities. Special interest groups in Cobb County and Fulton County, not only pushed the publicly-financed stadiums, but are behind the push for transportation projects that could cost taxpayers an additional $1.3 billion above the stadium costs in Cobb County alone.

“Why are we going to give them tax dollars when they are not spending the money wisely now?”

“Why are we going to give them tax dollars when they are not spending the money wisely now?” asked Dooley.

She went on to say that Republicans and Democrats, Tim Lee and Kasim Reed respectively, are leading the charge for these new projects. “Where are their priorities?” Dooley pointed out that the Atlanta public schools are in very bad financial shape and historic English Avenue and Vine City could have been refurbished with the monies they are spending on the Falcon stadium.

“One of the things that upset me greatly was that an historic African American church that was built by former slaves was torn down to build a stadium for a billionaire that can afford to build it himself. That is wrong.” said Dooley.

She announced that the very politically-diverse groups from Fulton, Cobb, and other counties had come together to take a stand against these violations of public trust and will be working together, and with state legislators, to put a stop to this kind of corporate welfare.

“The city has decided to do the “James Brown slide on the slippery slopes of bankruptcy.”

Rev. W.L. Cottrell reiterated concerns about how public monies are spent and how the empty promises of “public-private” sports organizations and politicians did not come to fruition the first time around. Cottrell recounted his experience with Mayor Andrew Jackson Young and the Atlanta Dome stating how, twenty-five years ago, Young climbed up into the pulpit of the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, a pulpit that has since been torn down, and promised, if preachers would support the dome, they would build up Vine City and English Avenue. The dome was built, but Vine City and English Avenue remain in need. The reverend was not against the sport stadium, but against the broken promises, and stated that the City Council of Atlanta has been reduced to figure heads in a spectator sport. The city has decided to do the “James Brown slide on the slippery slopes of bankruptcy. We’re selling all of our assets. If you build a city or community, it must be built on assets.” Cottrell plans to follow through with their lawsuit and hoped Cobb County “will be right there with us.”

“If they want to play Tiddledy Winks, that’s fine, but not with our tiddledies!”

Attorney, Gary Pelphrey began, “Debbie said there should be a law on the books that says you have to vote before you spend money like that… there is such a law, it’s called the Georgia Constitution.” He went on later saying, “I don’t think Arthur Blank and Mr. Marcus need to worry anymore about who has poured the most concrete either in the aquarium or the Georgia Dome. If they want to play Tiddledy Winks, that’s fine, let them do it – but not with our tiddledies.” Pelphrey was one of numerous bond interveners in Cobb County and had filed more legal documents in Cobb County prior to attending the press conference.

“You’re using our tax dollars to pay for something we didn’t ask for.”

Rev. Tim McDonald, standing in for Rev. Frank Brown, spoke for Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta. The organization represents over 100 Atlanta congregations. McDonald passionately spoke about how the people had been completely cut out of the stadium process, “You’re talking about using our tax dollars to pay for something we didn’t ask for. Nobody in Vine City asked for this. Nobody in Cobb County asked for that stadium. Not the people, we didn’t ask for it. It was imposed upon the people.” McDonald said he would fight with everything he has to make sure that the interests of the people are represented. “We know in our heart of hearts, and in fact they know in their heart of hearts, that this is not right. That it’s not right for the people. It is not right for our communities. It is not right for the taxpayers. We’re hoping that the Supreme Court of Georgia will do the right thing by the people.”

“It ain’t just about the money. We’re now talking about the lives of our people that are not being protected.”

Mamie Moore or “Mother,” as the group lovingly called her, reminded her community that they are in a just and righteous fight. She expressed deep concern about the health and welfare of not only English Avenue, Vine City, and Castleberry Hill residents, but all residents of Atlanta. She called on the EPA to do its job, claiming that major water, air, flood plain, historical, and clean water violations may have been let go for political reasons. “It ain’t just about the money. We’re now talking about the lives of our people that are not being protected – from the federal government to the county to the city and to the corporate board rooms that are responsible for this project.” She ended by exclaiming, “Wake up Atlanta!”

“Not this time and not on our watch.”

Bishop John H. Lewis III followed Mother Mamie. He shared that he was excited and delighted to see such a diverse coalition of people come together. As he looked around Lewis proclaimed the group, “more reflects what we call the love community than anything we’ve done in recent times.” Also disappointed with the events surrounding the Falcon stadium, the native Atlantan said he had heard these stories over and over again about promises made but never kept. Lewis ended by saying, “But not this time and not on our watch.”

“People should hold those accountable who were placed in positions of trust.”

Ed Painter was next to speak. He and a fellow Tea Party Patriot had driven over 90 miles to protest against the lack of transparency in the Falcon and Braves deals. Painter saw the gathering as an awakening of the people and that regardless of political affiliations, color, or anything else; the people of Georgia have a common interest and it’s that of government transparency and accountability. He saw the actions of our elected representatives involved in these stadium deals as a “clear violation of faith” and said the people should hold those accountable who were placed in positions of trust, only to show us a display of arrogance in return.

“One of the biggest problems in government is crony capitalism.”

Dr. Andrew Hunt, libertarian candidate in the gubernatorial race, announced that one of the biggest problems in government is crony capitalism. “These two stadiums are just another aspect of that, with special interest groups getting extra deals.” Hunt declared that our nation would be even greater if we let free enterprise rule.

“Right, middle, and left are standing together and we are moving on common ground on our way to the Supreme Court.”

The last speaker was Dr. Ben Williams of Citizens for Governmental Transparency who began by sternly telling the media that, if they miss the real story of the gathering and make it a subtext, they will have failed. “The real story, unlike in D.C.” he said, “is that people in Georgia, irrespective of political positions, can find common ground in transparency.” He then directed his comments to elected representatives, telling them that there is no reason that public-private-partnerships should not be voted on by referendum. He said the citizens who petitioned to stop the validation of the bonds in Cobb County were well-armed with an understanding of our state constitution and what it says about actions like we are facing, as well as the revenue bond act. “We’re here today to address politicians in Georgia. But you need to follow us because we’re also going to be together as we cut bush and find our way to the Supreme Court. That’s the real story. Right, middle, and left are standing together and we are moving on common ground on our way to the Supreme Court.”

The meeting then moved on to a lively question/answer session. We will be posting that as well. Stay tuned.

Kim Strawn About Kim Strawn

Daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and citizen who seeks to learn the Truth, no matter how disturbing, and pass on that knowledge to those who are ready and willing to listen.

Comments

  1. D Welden says:

    Excellent piece. Presents the players and their points very clearly. You ought to send a copy to the Cobb Superior Court Judge who decided against the intervention filed by Mr. Savage. Also send a copy to all of the Supreme Court Judges.

Speak Your Mind

*