Like It or Not: Saying 'No' to Sports

Whoa! Cobb County has spoken!
A few weeks ago, I talked about the cloak and dagger process Cobb employed to lure the Braves to a new stadium, a process led by Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee. I asked whether you liked it, or not. The answer: a resounding NOT!
Lee lost in the primary runoff by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. In politics, that’s getting stomped! Lee’s opponent, Mike Boyce, now Commission Chairman-elect Boyce, made Lee’s sneaky deal the centerpiece of his campaign. Cobb voters who didn’t get a chance to vote on taxpayer funding of the stadium made Lee pay at the polls.
Lee argues that if the deal had been more transparent, the Braves might have gone elsewhere. But it’s clear from the Like It or Not comments we’ve received that, for many of you at least, losing the Braves would have been just fine.
Compare Lee’s leadership to that of his counterpart in Maricopa County, Arizona, the Phoenix home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Andy Kunasek was among many voters who were angry 20 years ago when they didn’t get to vote on a new baseball stadium. Today, he’s the County Supervisor, and when the Diamondbacks came asking for $354 million in public money for stadium renovations over the next 12 years, Kunasek flipped his lid!
He called the team’s request “obscene” and responded with an expletive-laced letter of the sort that might have gotten Lee re-elected. If Lee had even politely said no, he probably would have kept his job.
Here are some of my favorite Kunasek quotes (the ones we can say on air):
“My instinctive concern for the taxpayer is amplified by my belief that this facility should never have been built using taxpayer funds, and to turn the music up louder, THEY WERE NEVER GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THAT DECISION AT THE BALLOT BOX.”
“I have no intention of compounding that wrong by supporting your obscene demand that we provide another massive infusion of taxpayer money to the private business…”
He also says about Major League Baseball that it “is evolving into a parasitic enterprise which is well on its way to destroying its host.”
And this is my personal favorite:
 “I suggest that you focus on your job, which should be the development of a successful product (a winning team), which will improve the fan experience, and in turn, will increase ticket sales and re-ignite a desire for people to attend and watch professional baseball in Arizona.”
I wish Lee had responded in some way like this to the Braves, and quite frankly, I wish this had been Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s response to the Falcons’ request for massive public funding.
What do you think about Kunasek’s tirade in defense of taxpayers? Do you like it, or not?
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