Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz said last week the new stadium might not have happened if the public learned about it too early. He went on to say that the planned deal was not a secret but was confidential information.
According to the dictionary, there’s no difference between the words secret and confidential. Nevertheless, the decision was made to not to inform the public about the deal early on. Was it legitimate? Maybe, maybe not.
The public is not against the Braves coming to Cobb and certainly do care about new commerce and jobs. As all the loud supporters have chosen to call them, they are NOT opponents. They ARE citizens and taxpayers that have a vested interest and a right to know all the facts. They are lending the Atlanta Braves more than $700 million for 30 years. They deserve to be treated like insiders, partners and investors instead of strangers. Clearly Tim Lee, Schuerholz, VP Mike Plant and several Cobb Chamber members were afraid an informed public would ruin their deal and elected to withhold valuable information. They have taken their eye off the ball by this tasteless move and fouled out.
I wonder how many other county governments around the country have supported a major league baseball or football stadium construction with a $700 million loan without taxpayers’ approval?
Unfortunately, we were denied access to secret information about the Cobb Braves deal. It should have been provided earlier, allowing the public to make a more knowledgeable decision on the deal. Instead, the deal was rushed through the process, preventing many objections and potential disputes.
It’s too late to change what has already taken place. However, in the future, maybe our county leaders will be honest with the public and won’t let it happen again. If not, the public will fix matters and vote accordingly the next time around.