Corporate welfare comes with consequences—for its givers and takers.
Cobb County, Georgia, voters tossed Tim Lee from office earlier this week. The incumbent chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissions lost to an underfunded political neophyte who grabbed nearly two-thirds of the vote. The $400 million the commission spent in taxpayer money to build a stadium to entice the Atlanta Braves to the suburbs, which came less than 20 years after the team’s current park opened, outraged voters. The loser expressed repeated outrage over what he characterizes as misrepresentations of his efforts. Of a recent media report, for instance, Lee contended on the county website: “The headlines were false. The numbers reported were wrong. All of the information was misrepresented.”
Lee supporters lamented a “Trump effect” for the ouster of a Republican holding office for 13 years. The candidate himself blames the ignorance of voters.
“It was transparent,” Lee maintained of the SunTrust Park deal that citizens never got to approve or disapprove with a ballot question. “It was open. Folks just bought on to misunderstanding. I just really wish folks would take time to really understand how it works.”
Mike Boyce, the retired Marine colonel who beat Lee, cites the commission’s presumptuousness in spending $400 million for a home for millionaire athletes without consulting voters for his opponent’s fall in the primary election. The second point of his campaign platform read: “No more deals like the Braves stadium bond without a full airing by both the public and the Board of Commissioners.”
“Cobb County is a very conservative county,” Boyce offered, “and people simply want the respect shown to them that if you’re going to use their money, you have to ask them.”
The Atlanta Braves open the 41,500-seat stadium on Thursday, April 13, against the San Diego Padres.