Delaying the vote, as some have asked for, would jeopardize the deal, Lee said.
“It’s one of those situations where the longer we drag it out all we do is create more noise and more doubt without any rationale,” Lee said. “I just think it’s better to move forward with it. It’s an economic deal. We have some timing issues we have to deal with in terms of getting a deal moving forward, and I think it’s in everybody’s interest to move forward.”
Lee said most Cobb residents he’s spoken with or who have contacted him support the plan.
“I’m just hearing that there are a small group of people like the Debbie Dooleys, who, by the way, live in Gwinnett County, and the people who are making the most noise don’t even live in Cobb County,” Lee said.
Tea party leader Debbie Dooley said she is looking at filing a lawsuit against the county based on how it plans to finance the proposal.
“They’re trying to stir people up with misunderstanding and using inexperienced, loyal, wannabes as ways to keep enough heat under people to think that there’s controversy and there isn’t,” Lee said.
Lee said he brought in bond attorney Dan McRae of Seyfarth Shaw to make sure the deal was bulletproof.
“We have one of the best bond attorneys and finance people working on this, and if they think some wannabe lawyer is going to undo all that hard work with a couple of hours of whatever he did, she’s sadly mistaken,” Lee said.
Lee has support in the Braves’ deal from commissioners Helen Goreham and JoAnn Birrell, and those votes are all he needs to pass the proposal Tuesday.
Commissioners Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid have declined to say – at least publicly — how they intend to vote. Cupid has complained about being rushed to vote on such a large deal. Ott said he too has asked for more time before a vote.
“Where I stand on the issue now is that I have a town hall on Monday to hear what the people have to say, and it would be wrong to have an opinion before I hear from the people,” Ott said. “There would be no reason for the town hall.”
Economic boon for the county
Birrell said she supports the deal because she believes a $672 million stadium, along with the $400 million mixed-use development the Braves plan to build next to it, will bring in more property and sales taxes for the county and school district.
“I am comfortable, and I’m OK with voting on Tuesday, but if all the commissioners are not and would like to see it postponed until the December 10th meeting, and if it’s not detrimental to this proposal, then I would consider that as well, just to give people time to weigh in,” Birrell said. “I’m just not sure what another two weeks is going to accomplish.”
For the deal to be tabled, a commissioner needs to make that recommendation and have two other commissioners vote in favor.
Birrell is up for re-election in next spring’s Republican primary, a fact that some voters have reminded her about, she said.
“I’ve had threatening emails to that effect,” Birrell said. “We’re both up at the same time, Helen and I. It does concern me that folks are angry enough to say they’ll vote me out of office, but I have to vote my conviction and what I feel is right, so if that’s what they have to do, that’s what they have to do.”
Birrell believes she has a good take on how her community feels about the deal.
“And I feel like I’ve got more support than I do against,” she said.