*PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO OTHERS * Friends: Once again we are writing to ask you to contact key D.C. Councilmembers Brown, Gray, Mendelson and Schwartz
Message 1 of 1
, Jan 31, 2006
PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO OTHERS
Once again we are writing to ask you to contact key D.C. Councilmembers
Brown, Gray, Mendelson and Schwartz (phone numbers, e-mail addresses
below) and urge them to:
* Vote to reject the new draft lease for the baseball stadium
if -- as reported in the press -- it comes up for a vote on February 7.
* If the draft lease does not come up for a vote on February
7, push to delay the vote until such time as the new draft lease and
the Construction Administration Agreement (CAA) -- which the Mayor has
said will contain more information on how he reportedly plans to cap
stadium costs -- can be considered together. The
Council should not agree to an incremental approach whereby it approves
the lease before it has in front of it a legally binding CAA that lays
out how overall stadium costs will be capped and cost overruns paid for.
Please read the press release below and contact the 4 key
councilmembers to tell them that the revised baseball stadium draft
lease agreed to Friday by D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams is unacceptable
because of the following:
* The new draft lease appears to give away even more city
assets (see press release below for details).
* Like the previous draft lease, the new draft still fails to
provide for a true cap on stadium costs.
* It still fails to specify legally who will pay for cost
* It fails to provide for possibly shifting the stadium from
the South Capitol site to a far less-expensive RFK
* The draft lease is only part of the whole picture; the
council needs to have both the lease and the
Construction Administration Agreement in front of it in order for the
council to make an informed decision on either document.
* It contains small improvements around the margins, but does
not in any way deal with the above serious issues, and
does not obligate Major League Baseball any further to
help cover the rising costs of the South Capitol stadium.
The Mayor spent time Friday lobbying Councilmembers Kwame Brown
and Vincent Gray, in hopes of making them his number 6 and 7 votes for
the lease (7 votes are needed to approve the lease.) In your calls and
e-mails, please put Brown and Gray at the top of your list, followed by
Phil Mendelson and Carol Schwartz. These 4 appear to hold the key to
the outcome. They are on record as opposing the initial draft lease and
seeking a much better deal, so we should congratulate them for their
past positions and urge them to continue to oppose the revised draft
lease for the reasons stated above and in the press release.
Below are the phone numbers and e-mail addresses for these 4
councilmembers. Also below is the press release from BetterDeal4DC that
lays out reasons why the new draft lease is unacceptable. The new draft
lease has been posted on the D.C. Council website of Councilmember
Thank you so much for your efforts. And please pass this message
on to others.
A Citizens’ Coalition Opposed to Public Financing of a
For Information Contact:
Mary C. Williams
(202) 488-0869 MsLaw1121@...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (January 28, 2006)
Council Should Reject ‘Revised’
Stadium Draft Lease That Continues Giveaway to MLB, Citizens’ Coalition
The revised baseball stadium draft lease agreed to Friday by D.C. Mayor
Anthony Williams appears to give away even more city assets, still
fails to provide for a true cap on stadium costs, still fails to
legally specify who will pay for cost overruns, fails to provide for
possibly shifting the stadium from South Capitol to a far
less-expensive RFK Stadium site, and should be rejected immediately if
a vote is taken by the Council, a citizens’ coalition said today.
“By not specifically addressing the cost overruns in a legally binding
manner as Chairman Cropp herself demanded, the deal is still deficient
and must be refused by the Council,” said David Mallof, a longtime D.C.
resident who recently testified before the Council on the stadium
deal’s failure to share the financial risks and rewards in a congruent
BetterDeal4DC, a coalition of individuals and organizations opposed to
public financing of a stadium, said the revised draft lease appears in
certain respects to be even worse than the previous draft lease.
According to news accounts, the revised draft lease expands the
giveaway of public assets to Major League Baseball (MLB) by including a
provision for the city to split with the team the proceeds of land sold
for development at the south end of the stadium (57.5% for the city,
and 42.5% for the team).
“By splitting these proceeds, Major League Baseball is taking more
public assets and yet is bringing no more money to the deal to cover
the incredible spiraling, out-of-control costs for a stadium at the
South Capitol site,” said John Capozzi, former chairperson of the
Barney Circle Neighborhood Association.
said it could not see how city negotiators, after allowing MLB to
receive virtually all of the revenue generated from the stadium, could
then agree to split with MLB the added proceeds from land south of the
stadium that will be expropriated by eminent domain and then
subsequently sold to private interests for development. Likewise, the
organization said the Mayor must explain why there is still no
requirement that MLB and/or the new (yet-to-be-named) team owner pay
for any cost overruns on the project, as has been customary in most
recent stadium projects.
BetterDeal4DC said it appears from the marginal changes reportedly made
to the draft lease that no serious negotiating on key issues went on
between the city and Major League Baseball from the time Williams
pulled the initial draft lease from Council consideration in late
December until now. The baseball deal continues to be the biggest
financial giveaway of a professional sports facility that any
city has ever negotiated for
the exclusive use of one team.
The organization said the Council should tell the Mayor to remove his
current negotiating team and insist upon the original terms of the
baseball agreement which caps the city’s all-inclusive contribution of
public financing at $535 million -- including costs of land
acquisition, environmental remediation, parking, roads, Metro and other
infrastructure improvements. Any further negotiations with MLB must
include Councilmembers critical of the draft lease as ex-officio
members of the city’s negotiating team, BetterDeal4DC said.
“The Mayor may well have wasted critical time this past month by
drumming up what appears to be a six-figure, feel-good public relations
campaign to sell a weak stadium deal to the public. He surely wasted
time by unethically sponsoring a campaign fundraiser for Councilmember
Kathleen Patterson together with the main local lobbyist for Major
League Baseball while a vote on the stadium draft lease is imminent,”
BetterDeal4DC said the lease should contain the same major provision as
the $535 million stadium financing package, approved by the Council in
December 2004, that would permit the city to shift the stadium to an
“RFK has the infrastructure, adequate Metro, ample parking, no land
acquisition costs, no legal actions over land acquisition that could
tie up the site for months or years, and already known environmental
issues,” said Shawn McCarthy, director of the sports watchdog group
League of Fans. “This is in stark contrast to the far more expensive
South Capitol site with its lack of infrastructure, inadequate Metro
facilities, lack of parking, rising land acquisition costs that could
go even higher with court decisions favoring landowners, and unknown
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