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No Joy in Mudville--Ah But Yes, There Is!

Here's your 12:50 am update: The council passes the baseball lease by a 9-4 vote, reversing its own action a few hours earlier. All three of the council members elected on an anti-baseball platform in 2004 voted for the lease.

It was a wild night down at the council, and in the end, they approved a deal that is only marginally different from what was approved more than a year ago. More on this tomorrow, but for your amusement, and to give a sense of just how wild the shifts are in D.C. politics, here's the post from earlier this evening, and your many, many comments as the evening progressed:


Jack Evans just sat and shook his head. Linda Cropp pretended she'd been in favor of the baseball deal all along. Kwame Brown waited to the end, finger to the wind, letting his colleagues make the decision before he cast a meaningless vote.

The D.C. Council killed baseball tonight by a vote of 8-5. The council rejected the stadium lease with Major League Baseball, sending a powerful message that the city cannot be trusted to live up to its agreements and rejecting a deal that would have provided the hard-up town with $150 million a year in revenue, as well as $450 million in community benefits.

The No votes came from council members Jim Graham, Vincent Gray, Phil Mendelson, Marion Barry, David Catania, Adrian Fenty, Carol Schwartz, and Kwame Brown.

Voting Yes for baseball were Jack Evans, Linda Cropp, Kathy Patterson, Sharon Ambrose, and Vincent Orange.

The Nationals, you may have noticed, have done virtually no marketing, no promotions this off-season. They're not yet selling tickets even though the season starts in just a few weeks. Baseball has had it with Washington, with good reason.

The only folks who want a team here are the 2.7 million fans who paid to attend games last season, the businesses that were prepared to build a whole new city neighborhood in Southeast, and the few city politicians who saw that this was a way to expand the tax base and help lift all boats in the District.

Those who didn't want the Nationals here: A small contingent of protesters who resented the idea that suburbanites might want to come into town and spend big money here and a handful of politicians who couldn't see that even the tough deal that baseball made would have meant a mint to the District. The political calculus was poisoned by political ambitions, the rancid mix of race and class issues that so often spoils progress in Washington, and the failure of all parties to make the effort to sell the deal to the public.

Again and again, the deal was sweetened, but neither baseball nor Mayor Tony Williams could figure out a way to please the naysayers on the council. In the end, it was clear that there was no deal that would win a Yes vote--at least no deal that could happen in a world in which Major League Baseball is a monopoly and the District is a city that had twice lost a franchise.

Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer came in as mediator and pushed both sides to come up with the revised package that guaranteed the price of the stadium construction and assured there'd be a cap on the city's spending. Still not good enough for the council. Why? Stated reason: It's just too much public money to invest in a ballpark. Real reason: There's an election on, and the politicians are only too happy to play voters against one another, letting baseball be portrayed as a white, suburban sport in a black, urban city.

It's easy to blame baseball--after all, there's little sympathetic about a bunch of zillionaires who will go to great lengths not to have to build their own playpens. But the deal Washington offered baseball more than a year ago was that the city would pay for a stadium. For the city then to turn around and say, nah, we really didn't mean it, is nothing short of devastating to the District's image, reputation and ability to draw new business to town.

This was never about money. That was proven tonight, because the decision to reject the lease means that baseball will take the city to arbitration and eventually to court, and because baseball has a signed contract, baseball will win, and the city will have to pay enormous penalties. Everyone on the council knows that, yet they decided to stuff baseball anyway. They did it for the headlines. They did it for the rabblerousers. They will say they did it to save money, but they won't save money. They will lose more money than this deal was ever worth, both in terms of penalties paid to baseball, higher costs if they are eventually forced to build a stadium and, most important, an incalculable loss of future business. Who in their right mind would now do business with the District of Columbia?

There was a principled opposition to the stadium deal. Council members David Catania and Adrian Fenty opposed the idea of spending large sums of public money on a ballpark from the start. They never accepted the notion that baseball could spark development of a new retail, office and residential center that would boost the city's tax base enough to justify the cost of the stadium. But their principled opposition stood far apart from the wild pendulum swings of some of their colleagues, who sometimes bought into the idea behind the baseball deal and sometimes bashed it to please the crowd. Mayor Williams fought hard for baseball, but never took his case to the public in any effective manner. He let the opponents shape the debate and allowed himself to be portrayed as a servant of baseball's billionaire owners.

Where will the Nats go? When will they go? All that will play out over the next year or so. What we know now
is that the mess is bigger than ever, the Nationals will go another season without a team owner, and the team will either leave, be contracted or wither away in a rathole of an old stadium.

What a town.

By Marc Fisher |  February 7, 2006; 8:43 PM ET
Previous: Strange Bedfellows: The New Virginia Politics of Growth | Next: Drama City--24 Hours in the D.C. Whirlwind

Comments

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Marc,

I have live in DC since '87. After tonight's vote I am disgusted. I am taking my six figure income and moving to the burbs. That means giving up my five minute walk to work and taking metro. So be it.

The political discourse is souring the progress that this city has made and will only get worse. This is the peak of DC, it's all downhill from here.

This is truly a sad day in the history of DC.

Posted by: Ken | February 7, 2006 9:10 PM

1. The majority of District residents didn't want this thing.

2. As to "living up to the deal", how about the Mayor's deal with the taxpayer at $535 Million? Unless of course, it was just a cynical lowball...MLB and the Mayor wouldn't do that, would they.

3. Zero studies not funded by pro-sports support your assertion of revenue streams. All studies say staoiums at best break even, or massively lose money (new revenue vs cost).

4. 2.7 million fans?! Great! So why didn't you all organize and pony up $100 each. It would have given them a $270 Million dollar buffer for cost overruns. Oh yeah, you wanted to stick everyone to subsidize it instead.

Own it Marc, you wanted to watch grown men in funny outfits hit a ball with a stick and run in a circle. That it. That's all. The rest is spin.

Posted by: Oh please | February 7, 2006 9:10 PM

Try as you might to cast this as a battle between those who want baseball here and those who don't, the fact is that many baseball fans also think the stadium deal is a terrible deal for the city and can easily be improved by greater financial participation by the Nationals/MLB. Think they're headed elsewhere? Possible, but unlikely.

As for the opponents being a few protesters, every public poll I have seen shows a majority of DC residents opposed to 100% public payment for a baseball stadium. With the exception of the three lame-duck Council members who provided the margin of approval in December 2004, the deal has been consistently opposed by a majority of the Council as well. And if it's such a great idea, Virginia would not have taken a pass on it when it had the opportunity. Instead, Virginia told MLB, "forget it."

Baseball could have avoided this by putting a relatively small portion of the proceeds from the sale of the team -- say $50 million of $450 million -- into the stadium. Instead, in the words of one of their staunchest supporters, Jack Evans, they tried to squeeze the city "for every last dime." They, and those of us who believe baseball should be here on reasonable terms, are paying the price.

Posted by: Meridian Hill | February 7, 2006 9:11 PM

I might not live in the District, but I work there and play there. This is just one less reason for me to head into town on the Metro for a lazy summer afternoon. Nobody would ever claim that this was a sweetheart deal for the city, but by this point, over a year after first saying yes, the Council has to realize that the money is already spent. This is like racking up a huge credit card debt, then saying, nah, it's no big deal and I'll just deal with it after they send the collection agency. Well, that usually costs more. Now the cost overruns won't be from a better stadium or infratructure, but to pay MLB's court costs.

Posted by: Sad in the suburbs | February 7, 2006 9:20 PM

I'll never understand comments like those above. DC residents aren't subsidizing this stadium - DC businesses are. The money is not available for anything other than the stadium - it won't go for libraries, it won't go for schools, it won't go for affordable housing, etc. DC businesses agreed to a special tax district for one thing and one thing only - a baseball stadium. So all these arguments that the money could be used for other things are facetous because they ignore the reality that there is no money to be used.

Posted by: DC Doesn't Get It | February 7, 2006 9:22 PM

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm on the verge of tears. Marc, any chance you'll follow the team to Vegas? And maybe bring Boz and Svrulga with you? There doesn't seem to be much reason to stay in a city that can't do anything right, but I'd hate to go without you guys.

Posted by: andrew | February 7, 2006 9:23 PM

This council has proven it can not live up to agreements it makes. Barry will use this to "race bait" and will tell us how this is some victory against "gentrification".... The sad thing is Barry and company will lose big time in the end..... The "new city" is rising and no old relic like Barry can stand in the way......

Posted by: DC is a joke | February 7, 2006 9:25 PM

I grew up in DC, moved to the burbs when Williams the carpetbagger showed up, and was glad baseball returned to my fair city. However, Adrian Fenty was correct on this one from the start. My wife teaches in a public school with no books, broken computers, raggedy infrastructure, and shoddy food. Don't front on this; if baseball wants in to the city, pay for it. Don't pimp the city no more. This is a no brainer. Baseball is not as important as education, a well run, efficient public hospital, or police officers and teachers who earn a decent wage. If baseball wants to go, I say, leave, it's been 33 years anyway - all they were looking for is another sucker. Any politician swallowing Selig's load of crap, deserves to be impeached.

Bgil

Posted by: Geelmo | February 7, 2006 9:27 PM

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. This is the city that elected Marion Barry the first time. Then elected him again after the b*tch set him up and he did his stint at Lorton. Then elected him AGAIN, even after the drugs had addled his brain (tonight he was barely able to ask what it was he was voting down). Our city does not deserve a major league team because it is the antithesis of major league. To the poster above who said stadiums don't pay for themselves - you're right, they don't. But the concession taxes, taxes on new development, and taxes on new retail sales sure do.

The only way you can think this stadium would have been bad for D.C. is if you think near Southeast would have remained the festering hole it is today even with the stadium. This would not have been the Vet in South Philly - this was going to be MCI Center Part II, but the fools on the council just cut off their noses to spite their short-sighted vote-pandering faces.

A sad day for all.

Posted by: They Elected Barry | February 7, 2006 9:30 PM

1. That was only for the imaginary $535 million, which was already superceeded by the new $667 million, which also didn't factor in everything. Everything above the imaginary lowball would come out of us.

2. Money is fungible. Did you really think the CEOs of all those businesses were going to fall on their knees, repent of their obscene salaries, and cut them to cover the tax? Or would resident eat the tax in increased prices for goods and services?

Posted by: DC Doesn't Get It , doesn't get it | February 7, 2006 9:31 PM

DC students receive more dollars per pupil than any student in the United States at any public school system. The problem is School Board mismanagement of funds not lack of funds....

Oh and by the way -- the Baseball money, as someone noted, is a business tax and a collection of revenue that only exists because of Baseball.. Just because you vote down Baseball does not mean you now have 500 million to spend somewhere else -- indeed its 500 million that no longer exists.... Simple as that...

Posted by: Bgil is wrong... | February 7, 2006 9:31 PM

"concession taxes, taxes on new development, and taxes on new retail sales "

Are all taken into consideration on those studies. They still don't balance. Stadiums are a money pit for most cities, and at best break even _in consideration of what you mentioned_.

Sheesh.

Posted by: No they don't | February 7, 2006 9:33 PM

People keep saying that the businesses are paying for this with a special tax; that is a joke. The city will pay for this for years and years and years and years. The city will police the games, the roads will be repaired by us. The city will clean up the liquor bottles left all over the road. It goes on and on and on. The infrastructure for this monster is paid for by the city not to mention cost overruns. Baseball, you dig, tricked Williams into accepting a lousy deal. Williams had no authority to make such a deal. The council called him on it. Stopped him. He tried to get a deal. He failed. Baseball says, we have a deal, and they want it, because it is a good deal. Fact is, baseball should sell the team and let the new owner decide what he or she wants to do. Move? Stay? Build a new stadium? Let them do it. But baseball, a greedy cabal of shysters that would make the Mafia look tame, is trying to enforce a lousy deal. The city has to hold the line and tell them, look here, spring training starts in a few weeks, are you going to walk?

Posted by: Geelmo | February 7, 2006 9:34 PM

No Bgil is right. Baseball is basically a criminal organization. No one thinks the city has $500 million to spend, but at least, they can get out of this worthless deal that has nothing to do with the citizens of the city.

Posted by: Vodka | February 7, 2006 9:37 PM

The city will still repair roads and clean up after folks -- they have those obligations now..... and if the city does not attract a high dollar customer they will be picking up more trash from unemployed S.East residents...

MCI Center opponents gave all the same tired arguments you are giving.... and MCI Center has changed the city radically for the better.... Who the heck went downtown before MCI was built?? Not me... not anyone who had a brain.... but they do now -- they are flocking to that area and buying, yes buying, Condo's down there....

But hey -- you keep on voting in the Barry's of the world and let the rest of the country laugh at you. DC will never get statehood with politics like this -- Congress would never be that dumb...

Posted by: Geelmo is wrong... | February 7, 2006 9:38 PM

Did not get "tricked".

This is a perfect example of why one does not send a fanboy to negotiate a deal. The way to a good deal in anything requires that negotiators _be willing to walk away from the table_.

Anyone who's bought a car knows that one. If you fall in love with a particular car, you will get gouged.

Now add to that Williams was negotiating with other peoples (the taxpayers) money.

That's why the deal blew. Next time send in someone who isn't a fanboy to talk.

Posted by: Mayor Williams | February 7, 2006 9:38 PM

I love it. Linda Cropp lost again. I keep tellin people bout playin the fence.

Posted by: Cropp | February 7, 2006 9:39 PM

Andrew, I am with you. I am just sick over this. I can't believe we're going to lose this wonderful thing.

Posted by: Kathy | February 7, 2006 9:39 PM

What don't you get -- the 500 million only existed if a stadium was built. No stadium no 500 million -- DC will not suddenly have 500 million they can spend elsewhere..... The money was a business generated tax only for use for a Baseball stadium...... a business owner tax that business owners agreed to pay only for Baseball.....

Posted by: Vodka wrong... | February 7, 2006 9:40 PM

My records are safe, thank God!

Posted by: Frank Howard | February 7, 2006 9:40 PM

Is 'bout' a word -- I thought it was "about"...????

Posted by: Cropp -- | February 7, 2006 9:41 PM

beisbol been berry berry good to bud selig, but not in DC, bud.

Posted by: Beisbol | February 7, 2006 9:41 PM

Its time for residents of DC "proper" (meaning inside the city's boundaries) to get off of their high horse. This region is an integrated economic unit; its not "DC vs MD and VA." Who do you think eats dinner at all of those restaurants, paying for DC rents? Who do you think goes to those wizards and caps games and leaves $95 a person in DC? Who is responsible for making what were once crack-infested streets at least passably safe again? Here's a headsup: it ain't the supposedly loyal-to-"real"-dc, Marion Barry supportering, anti-suburbanite baseball bashers. Its those hated lawn-having, mini-van driving, doctors, lawyers, accountants and software engineers. Deal with it.

Woe be unto DC if the nationals should leave. Virginia told them to "take a hike" becuase the deal was so bad? Funny, I didnt see that in Kaine's remark in the Post that he would be glad to talk to MLB anytime.

One need not look past the fact that the DC city council does not even have final say over its budget to see that they cannot be trusted. What does it say for a realistic shot at some sort of "statehood" when the council can't even live up to a deal they agreed to last year?

I am unabashedly disgusted at this turn of events. Marc, please act as a catalyst to grass-roots efforts to solve this problem at a citizenship level. Who can we turn to? I have the markers and cardboard all ready, and my voice is strong. Just point the way...

Posted by: 4th Gen DC resident | February 7, 2006 9:42 PM

Sounds like some of you are still afraid of DC becoming a booming prosperous wealthy city???? Your afraid you will have to pack up and move to PG County.... You fear progress....

Posted by: Scared of Gentrification??? | February 7, 2006 9:44 PM

Arbitration costs money. When you sign an agreement (like last year) then go to arbitration, it costs money. If you lose, then you pay MORE money and still do whatever it was that you didn't want to (like build a stadium). This isn't a 'walk away' situation. It is a pay money to lawyers because the political leadership is short-sighted situation.

Posted by: Lost Money | February 7, 2006 9:45 PM

hey 4th generation, who rides through the city every night buying dope, prostitutes, throws trash all over the place, drinks and uses up the water, hangs out drunk, calling for more police, more clean-up, more road repair, etc. - people from the burbs, who don't pay any tax. so don't be foolish. DC is getting hosed all day long.

Posted by: the real DC | February 7, 2006 9:46 PM

that's it, lost money - lawyers. i am a lawyer, so i hope they all get paid.

Posted by: Lawyer | February 7, 2006 9:48 PM

No people from the suburbs are increasingly spending huge amounts of money downtown -- money thats is taxed and helping DC get better... and a whole lot of those people are now choosing to move downtown.... Your fear progress... you fear being forced out of the city.... Admit it....

Posted by: real DC is ignorant... | February 7, 2006 9:49 PM

Hold on Marc: Voting down the baseball lease is about the city keeping its word--with the voters of this city. Hmmm, I seem to remember your newspaper spilling a whole lot of ink last September when the three incumbents who voted for baseball lost to candidates who were against baseball: Brown, Gray, and Barry. They beat the three votes that made the difference in the hurry up vote last December: Brazil, Chavous, and Allen. Now Kwame Brown might hold his finger to the wind and frankly be an idiot but he is actually being consistent here. It's the Post that seems to always be taken by surprise: Surprise in the election, suprised that Mayor Williams can't lobby the council, etc. Perhaps you need to spend less time in Richmond and more down at the Wilson Building.

Posted by: Ward 6 reader | February 7, 2006 9:49 PM

i've been gentrified. does that mean i need to get a MRI?

Posted by: gentrified | February 7, 2006 9:49 PM

Wow, and to think I was considering buying in the District next year. Haha, no way in hell now if this doesn't get done.

And DC can forget me going in there for any fun, fun, fun EVER again.

Posted by: Person in Del Ray | February 7, 2006 9:49 PM

anybody seen ed brinkman?

Posted by: Frank Howard | February 7, 2006 9:50 PM

i only wish i was there to see that idiot jack evans cover his face.

Posted by: DCDC | February 7, 2006 9:52 PM

DC is still going to pay for this -- the Arbitrator will make them.... so instead of money for a stadium you will spend money for nothing... and no chicks for free.....

Posted by: Ward 6 reader does not get it... | February 7, 2006 9:52 PM

Hey "real" DC: you must be spending too much time in adams morgan. cross the river into anacostia and you'll see more trash than than a jerry springer show before you rreach the other side. that isn't bethesdans tossing st. ides bottles out the window of their black 1985 crown victoria; its probably Marion Barry. screwing baseball screws DC...get real.

Posted by: 4th Gen | February 7, 2006 9:53 PM

Jack Evans is the only half intelligent human on that City Council -- funny how he represents one of the smarter wealthier parts of the city -- I guess the stupid get stupid council members and the smart get smart council members....

Posted by: Dude | February 7, 2006 9:54 PM

"Rancid mix" indeed. Maybe VA can make a run at it and get the deal done. We'll take their money. I would love it in Rosslyn. I live at Courthouse and with a stadium like that my condo would skyrocket. They can look to their political benefit; I'll look to my economic benefit, take the money and run.

Posted by: Stick | February 7, 2006 9:54 PM

Wait till Mayor for life Barry runs again - wins -- is jailed by the IRS and runs the city from jail -- now that would be funny... and appropriate for DC....

Posted by: Marion will be in jail | February 7, 2006 9:58 PM

Raw Fisher:
You're hysterical. You're frothing at the mouth. You're wrong. The Council saw the only essential point which was nobody in the City or baseball was ready to guarantee the city that it would not have to pay more than $535,000,000 which could be financed by the revenues at hand. Simple as that. what part of that, Marc, don't you understand. Baseball and the new owner is more than able to pay the overruns and as between them and the school children of DC who should pay it?
you're wrong about the arbitration. The city will win it because several bidders for the team were willing to pay the overruns and baseball made it clear that for some reason it wouldn't permit it. They have prevented a fair deal and don't have clean hands in this case.
Why should we finance a playground for the suburbanites. Southeast will develop anyway and better. Don't believe the big lie that MCI center developed Chinatown. It hurt the development as it dark 365 days a year during daylight and is open only half the nights.

Start writing columns on subjects you know something about

Posted by: Arthur | February 7, 2006 9:59 PM

Will somebody please think of the children?

Posted by: Ward 8 resident. | February 7, 2006 10:00 PM

'people from the burbs, who don't pay any tax'

Right. I go to a Caps game and I pay $30 for a dinner in Chinatown, $150 for a jersey at the MCI Center Modell's, another $200 for a pair of tickets, and $15 to park my BMW wearing the VA tags at a garage on E Street. Surely D.C. doesn't benefit from any of that.

I got to a Nats game at RFK, and I pay a little less than the above, but I do it 41 times a year instead of 3 or 4 because I like baseball more. Surely D.C. doesn't benefit from any of that.

I go to Redskins games too. Those cost me about three times as much as the above. The difference though? All that money gets spent in VA before I leave for the game or in P.G. County. Why? Because the City Council sho' don' did stan' up to Massa Jack Kent Cooke, and wouldn't build a new stadium to replace RFK.

On the Skins games, you're right, I pay no tax to D.C., and boy isn't that a great deal for you?

Posted by: If they were smart.... | February 7, 2006 10:01 PM

BTW, folks, this is not about barry. williams cut this lousy deal before he was in office as i recall. barry might be all that you say he is, a crack smoker, tax code broker, but this is not about barry. why do you think williams is getting out of here for a seven figure job? his work is done.

Posted by: barry | February 7, 2006 10:01 PM

Children are fine -- they get more money per pupil than any students in America -- but your School Board can't manage it.... sorry...

Posted by: Ward 8 resident --- | February 7, 2006 10:02 PM

who dissin' anacostia? you want my address?

Posted by: Anacostia | February 7, 2006 10:03 PM

Hey I've got a great idea for all of you whining about the stadium deal that most DISTRICT residents did not want anyway. MOVE Let me enunciate MOVE. I dont think the District is going to fall apart without you. Besides Fairfax co. is probably more your style anyway, dont you think :)

Posted by: #1suburban Knight | February 7, 2006 10:03 PM

because Barry played the race card as soon as he got involved in this debate... he is afraid of progress in DC -- afraid of wealth in DC... it scares him and the crack smokers who voted for him...

Posted by: It is about Barry | February 7, 2006 10:04 PM

Fenty and Barry represented. Graham and Catania too. Linda Cropp is out. Vote her out, she don't know here foot from her gall bladder.

Posted by: Love DC | February 7, 2006 10:05 PM

Baseball's not going anywhere, except maybe to Northern VA. MLB's not giving up on this market.

But in all likelihood, MLB will take this to arbitration. They'll win, since they have a signed contract and "We changed our mind" isn't a valid legal defense. DC will be forced to build the stadium, plus they'll lose all the concessions they've gotten in the past year, plus MLB will probably chose out-of-town ownership just to spite DC.

Despite how they feel about the baseball deal, anyone who voted against it tonight is an incompetent who should be booted out of office. Even the "principled" David Catania and Adrian Fenty.

Posted by: Green | February 7, 2006 10:06 PM

DC needs wealth and prosperity -- and less S.East..... Baseball helps progress and S.East is afraid of progress...

Posted by: DC needs Baseball | February 7, 2006 10:06 PM

If this does lead to the Nationals leaving DC, then I hope they will go to Northern Virginia. I just want to see the team stay in the area. Let's hope for the best.

Posted by: Mr 1337 | February 7, 2006 10:07 PM

'Fenty and Barry represented'

Is this an English language phrase -- please translate into suburban English please...

Posted by: Ebonics??? | February 7, 2006 10:07 PM

Dennis Archer is going to get his boy, Williams out of this one. You do remember he is the arbirtrator.

Posted by: Dennis Archer | February 7, 2006 10:09 PM

It means what it means, you know what I mean.

Posted by: Ebonics | February 7, 2006 10:10 PM

Are you serious Ward 8? The council just passed a $1 Billion bill for the schools!! How much more money do you want? Get real. And if you really want to solve your school problems, tell the DC kids to stop skipping class.

Posted by: Come to VA | February 7, 2006 10:11 PM

Another thing, if this is such a "racial issue" explain to me why so many white council members voted against it. What,are they white on the outside black on the inside? lol you people crack me up.

Posted by: #1suburban Knight | | February 7, 2006 10:14 PM

I am a Nationals season ticket holder. I'm pleased as punch that the illegal monopoly that is Major League Baseball decided to relocate the Expos here.

But I didn't support the stadium deal at all. As was mentioned before, sending a so-called "fanboy" to lead the negotations doomed DC to being the weak player throughout the game. Williams and Evans, baseball fans to the end, presented the city with a deal that seemed strange from the beginning.

For example: for years, Williams refused to bond the city to the hilt in order to properly fund programs for the poor, infrastructure improvements, Metro funding and so forth. "Fiscally irresponsible," he would say. Yet he was willing to put the city in hock for decades to bring baseball to the city. Williams' - and to some extent, Evans' - priorities certainly didn't add up.

And the deal struck with MLB put DC at the short end of things. As MLB has no hard salary cap, costs of fielding a competitive team will constantly gnaw at net receipts. Construction and maintenance costs on a stadium are seldom set in stone, often ballooning and running over deadline. And MLB wanted to saddle DC with a "floating" cost, where overruns would force the District further into bond hock.

The Nats would profit down the road, assuming they maintain a fan base. But the city wouldn't see real profits for any, many years, assuming that the costs of running the city remain predictable, and that there will be a constant influx of new people and new businesses in the District. That's one huge set of assumptions, and I doubt you'd be able to get the most talented economic minds to agree on a single, positive prediction that matches Williams' beliefs.

And while the Nats' presence may be "a combined issue for DC, MD and VA," it's DC that will put itself in credit limbo over this. Not Maryland. Not the Commonwealth of Virginia. It all rests on DC.

Yes, it puts my season tickets at risk. But I'm willing to let this get hashed out by the WHOLE Council, MLB, and arbitrators. We can get a better deal, a fair deal, and possibly even a reborn RFK out of this.

Posted by: Otis | February 7, 2006 10:15 PM

I can't wait till the city loses in arbitration and ends up paying more. Woo hoo!

Posted by: Crackhead Jim | February 7, 2006 10:16 PM

If you don't like D.C. don't move here. Plenty of other people are already. The gentrification is going to happen no matter what, baseball or not, even to S.E. It's inevitable. Where else in the world can you get a 100 year old victorian home for 130,000? Not San Fran, not Herndon. So losing baseball will not be the end of the world or stop any of the progress. I'm only sad that we let ourselves get bent over by bud selig and those monsters in the first place.
We had the upper hand and we played it like a lovestruck teen. Would they have gone to vegas? no way, not a good business model. Portland? smaller market, too close to Seattle's market. Puerto Rico? Ha! get real. We could've had thenm paying for the stadium. After all, if their logic is correct and it'll make whomeverf pays for it money hand over fist, why wouldn't they build it?

Don't worry, though, D.C. is going to get a new stadium. A beautiful 30,000 seat stadium on the shores of the Anacostia, complete with training fields, light rail and shopping, for D.C. United. And guess what, D.C. citizens won't have to pay dime one for it. The owners are paying for it all. 100%. Beat that baseball. Selfish pigs.

Posted by: Screwball | February 7, 2006 10:17 PM

DC will be the butt of late night talk show jokes, and every other city in the country. It's a Single A city trying to make it to the majors with a bunch of no talent councilpeople leading the way, except those who understand that without MLB there is no $$$ to fund any programs. No one in their right mind will want to try and negotiate any deals in DC after this debacle.

Posted by: Come to MD | February 7, 2006 10:17 PM

Wow, the DC Council screwed DC Metro residents. Not only will the Nats move after RFK deal is done, but DC will then have to wait another 33 years for a baseball team. Its obvious they can not see the long-term benefit the stadium and furthermore the team will have to DC's finance and social welfare.

People talk about the unemployed, wellthe stadium and all things associated with the stadium, will need employees.

Posted by: Potomac, MD | February 7, 2006 10:19 PM

COUNCIL RETURNED TO DISCUSS THE LEASE DEAL AS WE SPEAK. According to Channel 9, the council has gone back to see if the deal can be revived. Check out www.wusatv9.com

Posted by: NOT DEAD YET | February 7, 2006 10:24 PM

You mean Gay Disneyland stays open???? Free at last, Free at last, thank god almighty Free at last...

Posted by: Gay Pride | February 7, 2006 10:24 PM

"After rejecting a stadium lease for the Nationals, the DC Council has returned to session to reconsider."
See www.wusatv9.com


Posted by: WUSATV9.com | February 7, 2006 10:28 PM

One word: ghetto

That is what describes this city. No forward thinkers, no big thinkers, no one who sees the big picture.

Southeast is a hole dug by Marion Barry and his crackhead friends. The good people who live there have been robbed, partially of their own doing (voting for Barry and their fool rep on the school board) and partially because there is an insipid ongoing poverty issue.

Get rid of the poverty mentality. Recognize the future.

Fenty et al. will not get my vote. They may think they're representing the voters, but look at who really votes and who really pays taxes. Not the crackheads in their ward.

Posted by: DC resident- short-termer hopefully! | February 7, 2006 10:30 PM

It's good to see you folks aren't at all racist or homophobic. It makes you much better representatives of the pro-baseball boondoggle crowd.

Posted by: Nice | February 7, 2006 10:30 PM

On the post's website:

"They are now back in session and may vote again."

Posted by: WashPost | February 7, 2006 10:31 PM

I'm disgusted with this whole mess, but looking at from the DC Council's perspective, voting no was a political win-win scenario.

Baseball will go to arbitration, where the stadium will be killed or ordered to proceed. If the stadium is killed, the council can say "See? We told you it was a bad deal." If the stadium goes forward, the council will say "Hey, we tried to save you guys' money, but Tony Williams and that outsider arbitrator wouldn't let us."

I'm a baseball fan, and I live in DC, but few DC voters care about baseball. The vast majority of the fan base is in Maryland and (especially) Virginia, and the council knows this.

Posted by: DC Realist | February 7, 2006 10:31 PM

Oh my, was the first vote a show vote? Will we leave here happy tonight? Hope reigns, as it were.

Posted by: Ward -7 resident. | February 7, 2006 10:35 PM

I love how all of these people rant and rave about marion barry playing the "race card" yet will be the first ones to come up with some lame imitation of Ebonics trying to insult blacks. Thats real intellingent and mature and honestly I hope people like you leave DC or never come here, because DC is much better of without you. There are plenty of non racist wealthy people to fill in for you.

Posted by: DC | February 7, 2006 10:37 PM

DC lost the Senators (twice) and the Redskins, and now they are going to lose the Nationals. As one of those suburbanites in Virginia who don't pay DC taxes (except of course sales taxes), I say fine, let us have the Nats. Maybe this will get Metro off their rears and build a line to Dulles. But the real losers here are the kids who finally got to go to major league baseball games, and who have nothing to do with the political games the shortsighted, economics-deficient joke of a DC Council play. And, by the way, how is Marion Barry still on this council, and voting? Did he get promised his daily coke fix if he voted no?

Posted by: What about the kids? | February 7, 2006 10:40 PM

My Ward 2 ANC voted 9-0 to recommend against public funding for the stadium. I'm pleased to have cast one of those 9 votes. What blow-back have I gotten for it? The cold shoulder from one (1) of my constituents. One complaint out of over 2000 people. And that guy's wife worked as a lawyer on the deal...

My take is that the DC proponents of the dead deal at hand were very much a small minority.

Posted by: Mark | February 7, 2006 10:52 PM

Hey Marc,

You are now batting .500. For baseball and against the WW2 monument. Remember??

Posted by: WW2 | February 7, 2006 10:53 PM

Hey Marc,

You are now batting .500. For baseball and against the WW2 monument. Remember??

Posted by: WW2 | February 7, 2006 10:53 PM

The council is indeed back on baseball, and Barry and Cropp are taking on the lease line by line. This is Barry at his best, the night owl in his old form, working the numbers and getting himself center stage, even on the eve of his sentencing in federal court. Check out D.C. Cable Channel 13 to see it live. It's not clear where it's going, but it's going.

Posted by: Fisher | February 7, 2006 10:53 PM

Mark --
Where do you live? Let me guess. In Virginia? In Maryland? If you lived in Anacostia, maybe you might wonder why city administrators see fit to put $535 million into a stadium (that lies dormant for 280 days a year) but can't find money to subsidize deteriorating schools and neighborhoods.

Did you know that there are prospective owners who are willing to pay for cost overruns? But MLB is so greedy that they don't want any owner that will pay for cost overruns -- since that devalues future sales of teams.

Amazing. And so is your ignorant view of this issue.


Posted by: Andrew | February 7, 2006 10:59 PM

Andrew....did you even pay attention to what the council passed today? Did you miss the $1 Billion school bill that was passed. What more do you want? I'm so sick of hearing how everything is for the schools, yet DC children lead the country in school days missed. DC schools receive more municipal funding than any other city in this country.

Posted by: Clueless | February 7, 2006 11:10 PM

One important factor that nobody brings up is that not only the city lost, but the residents of Ward 6. As a home health care worker who goes in and out of the public housing at the proposed site, it is hard to believe how dangerous and out right deplorable those conditions are. It would have been great to see Barry and his crew think about the citizens of the wards they represent for a second, and not their own misguided political aspirations. Its time we as citizens look closer at the issues and not at the personalties of the officials. Or we can have a Bush Barry Ticket.

Posted by: The city lost | February 7, 2006 11:13 PM

Good for DC. After being treated like a girl with a cold sore for 30 plus years, Baseball shows up and says, "Oh we'll play but it's going to cost the better part of a one billion dollar bill." Let them go.

I don't care what kind of business it is NOBODY, BUT NOBODY should need that type of subsidy to open in DC. Especially when they aren't going to employ any DC residents. Especially without any assurances of any local ownership. Especially... I could go on and on but why.

Baseball, just leave!

DC resident and voter.
R.

Posted by: Raed | February 7, 2006 11:14 PM

I love channel 13. Can't remember the last council hearing I attended that was so well attended by the council itself...

Go David!

Posted by: Mark | February 7, 2006 11:17 PM

The political games being played with this is typical of the D.C. Government. It's why the city is a $hit-hole, and will never attain statehood.

Look at P.G. County, with the flow of D.C. residents it has received, it's become a mirror image.

It's a culture issue that needs addressing.

Posted by: Happily out of P.G. | February 7, 2006 11:24 PM

I'm just not shocked at all. This is the same city that is polarized between a ruling minority class who votes convicted felons into office and a self rightous "intellectual" class that tries to convince the lesser off that they have their interests at heart.

It's completely ridiculous that a council cannot see past their own noses for the betterment of the city, and the area as a whole. Sure everyone is clapping now and hotting and hollering "YAY! We beat the man!". But in five to ten years when Southeast is still a dump and the schools are still a mess (even with that extra BILLION the council voted in today), and the hospitals are falling apart, I'm sure raising taxes on the rich will fix everything.

And last but not least, those of us that DO NOT LIVE IN THE DISTRICT but attend games in the city and spend money on restaurants and at malls, WHILE WORKING IN THE DIRSTRICT....WE ARE THE ONES THAT KEEP THIS CITY RUNNING! It's not those pathetic tax receipts coming out of the majority of the city.

Ciao

Posted by: OJ Did It | February 7, 2006 11:28 PM

I'm looking forward to baseball in Virginia, so I can keep spending all my $$$, earned in DC, outside of the city. The city and its residents like to complain about us suburbanites, but without us and our disposable income, much of which is spent during 6 months of the year on the Nats, DC would be a friggin' ghost town.

Governor Kaine has it right -- it's time for Virginia to get back into the picture and do the deal that the DC Council keeps screwing up. I bet it will only take Fairfax County or Loudon County about 1 week to work out the details -- and they won't have to promise Marion Barry any crack or weed to close the deal.

Posted by: Zippy | February 7, 2006 11:29 PM

I am completely disgusted by the racist, homophobic comments peppering this blog. Let's all argue like grownups, shall we?

Posted by: Chaz | February 7, 2006 11:29 PM

I just wished I still lived in DC, so I could vote against the council in the next election.

Posted by: Sigh... | February 7, 2006 11:38 PM

Right...

Just like it didn't take Wolftrap or the CIA to turn McLean/Greatfalls from cow and horse farms to McMansions, and it didn't take the convention center or the MCI Center to turn "Dupont East" or "Penn Quarter" into a yuppie haven, it won't take a ballpark to bring development to Anacostia.

Force majeur in all of these cases has been the broad socio-economic picture, which for DC is rosey, and not this or that publics works project.

Posted by: Mark (What's up w/OJ?) | February 7, 2006 11:40 PM

good riddance baseball

Posted by: billy | February 7, 2006 11:42 PM

I think that DC ought to exercise eminent domain and give MLB a fair price for the team .

Posted by: Ted M. | February 7, 2006 11:45 PM

Channel 13:
David! David!!

Posted by: Mark | February 7, 2006 11:53 PM

Unfortunately since Williams threw in the towel so early it allowed the nearsighted self-interested council members the opportunity to grandstand and continue their DC destructive behavior for their own political motives. But don’t forget that we re-elected Williams. I don’t think anybody will argue that he is definitely substance over charisma. Even though we have a huge population of functionally illiterate residents we also have a huge population of well-educated residents compared to national averages. So I am assured that the politicians who voted No for their own self-interest, will feel the political ramifications in the upcoming elections. Lets send those bums home and allow DC to continue to prosper.

Posted by: The city lost | February 8, 2006 12:01 AM

Didn't DC already throw some bums out of council, in part over this? Oh yeah, they were three of the ones who sided with Williams and voted for it.

Now I find that reassuring!

Posted by: Mark | February 8, 2006 12:13 AM

And not a single soul is more concerned that Peter Angelos makes more money out of this deal than the city of DC.

Another thing that is interesting is that everybody on this blog is talking about how Marion Barry is playing a race card when every comment he has made has been directly about the "DEAL", yet it seems that all the racists have shown up to city and by association me and people that look like me. On the day that we lay to rest one of the few civil rights leaders that lived to die of natural causes, we see that racism and bigotry haven't passed with time. This is sad.

Ultimately this vote is a victory for Democracy. Because the bottom line is that about 65% of DC residents are against public financing. Even more are against this deal.

The politicians that wanted this and were up for reelection have been replaced. The voice of the people has been heard.

Power to the people.

Posted by: Ward 4 Resident | February 8, 2006 12:14 AM

9-4 on Council revision

Posted by: Mr 1337 | February 8, 2006 12:44 AM

The council reverses itself and passes the lease, 9-4. All three members of the council who were elected in 2004 on an anti-baseball platform voted for the lease. More tomorrow.

Posted by: Fisher | February 8, 2006 12:44 AM

Amen. D.C. did the right thing tonight. Catania and Fenty should go seek office in Smalltown USA where they won't have to make big decisions or deal with economic development. Looking forward to a new owner, which will then lead to a new general manager of the team...

Posted by: DSX | February 8, 2006 12:59 AM

All paid for out of the resident's pockets. Yet another heist from district residents, subsidizing the 'burbs.

Posted by: Amen? | February 8, 2006 1:10 AM

OK I am a bit confused. Did the council vote yes on the stadium lease, or did they vote yes on there own lease and the final disposition on the stadium won’t be until March?

Posted by: The city lost, I mean won. | February 8, 2006 1:14 AM

Looks like the race-baiting, class-warfare crowd may just have to deal with us "unclean" suburbanites coming into their City and spending our money and paying their taxes to watch that EVIL, EVIL, EVIL, EVIL game of baseball that eats babies, after all.

Posted by: John IV | February 8, 2006 1:17 AM

Ok, time for everyone to go get some sleep ;-) G'nite John-boy! It'll be interesting to see what the print press says in the morning. Oh wait, it IS morning!

Posted by: misschatter | February 8, 2006 1:27 AM

clearly, as a result of this vote the city will end up flattening its schools, burning down the libraries and shuttering the homeless shelters to pay for this temple of gold for rich suburban fat cats. its really too bad, because the city was obviously on the right path in the 70's and 80's before all this gentrification started. man! how i pine for those halcyon days of low crime and transparency in government affairs. the council has brought us to the verge of a massive economic downturn after so much prosperity in the 80's...for shame.

as one poster said: "power to the people." indeed...

Posted by: ouch | February 8, 2006 1:30 AM

Huzzah!

Posted by: Sweet Merciful Crap! | February 8, 2006 2:23 AM

I'm really not understanding their concern over the cost cap, esp. over design changes and such. Do they really think that they can meddle with the design and construction process (and they will, just watch) and not have to pay for it. Really, what planet, what realm of this universe, do these people inhabit?

Posted by: Stick | February 8, 2006 6:49 AM

The same one MLB does apparently. Or do you think MLB won't be sticking its nose into the process? Yet somehow they won't be paying up.

Just say "Thank you, sucker" as you rob my wallet to pay for this.

Posted by: Oh Stick | February 8, 2006 8:24 AM

What a great birthday present for me. I went to bed in despair, and now see 30 years of baseball ahead of me and my children. The rancor over this vote will fade with time, and we can build fan loyalty to rival that for the Maryland Redskins. Yes, I am a Virginia suburbanite, but I promise to come to DC as often as I can to spend my money to help build the stadium. We don't want to gloat, we just want to see games and enjoy baseball with you.

For Pete's sake, can we finally stop yelling and light the Hot Stove? A Florida paper today mentioned that the Nats actually offered Sammy Sosa a guaranteed major league deal to play here. Let that be the controversy we argue over.

Posted by: Kevin | February 8, 2006 8:55 AM

For those who don't know DC geography-- the stadium will be built in SE but NOT in Anacostia. Anacostia and SE are not the same. Anacostia is in SE, but there are other parts of SE, namely the part of Capitol Hill south of East Capitol Street. So, all those fancy houses in the Eastern Market area are also in SE.

The stadium will be built on the north side of the Anacostia river. Essentially, the stadium will be looking at Anacostia, but not be in Anacostia. Go to google maps and put in the corner of N Street and 1st Street SE and that's about where it will be.

Posted by: DC resident | February 8, 2006 9:20 AM

Boooooo! I went to bed happy, and then woke up to this reversal.

People bring up the alleged economic benefits of the stadium, but that area has been changing for a while now and would have continued to do so without a stadium. There are all sorts of cranes there building stuff right now. With land scarce in the city it's only been a matter of time before those areas get revitalized. Now having a giant stadium sitting there will probably retard much of the growth that would have occurred on its own. And they city won't make any tax money off of the businesses and housing that would have sat on the stadium's land because all of that tax money will go to the building and upkeep of the stadium.

People bring up MCI Center but conveniently forget that Abe Pollin built that place with his own money. The city did some infrastructure work, but they will be paying for that plus the new stadium at the SE site. Why can't the billionaire baseball owners build their own damn stadium?

I am also saddened by the racsim and homophobia exhibited by the people posting here. You and baseball deserve each other.

Posted by: Glenn | February 8, 2006 9:24 AM

Please point out the racist and homophobic posts to me. I honestly haven't seen them- I don't consider the drug comments about Marion Barry racist, given what has happened recently. They are unnecessary and off the point, but they are about his real drug problems, not his race.

As for homophobic comments, I may not have read all the comments carefully enough.

Posted by: Kevin | February 8, 2006 9:41 AM

"Gay Disneyland" ring a bell.

What a crock. This supposed "cap" has a loophole wide enough for a spastic 8 year old to drive one of thsoe trucks built to haul Saturn 5 rockets through.

Oh, and Kevin...thanks for demonstrating the myopia of fanboys. Did it ever strike you that maybe a lot of us could give a damn if Sammy Sosa or Sonny Bono was playing. Why should non-fans be legally forced to subsidize your trivial entertainment choice? (Again, zero studies support the "development pays for it" canard.)

Posted by: Hey Kevin... | February 8, 2006 10:15 AM

This entire thread gives lie to the Post's deletion of comments on the Abrahaamoff "reporting". Cheap personal attacks? Hate speech?

But somehow posts with lines like "Gay Disneyland" and labeling everyone in the majority black Wards as being crackheads is okay? Nice Washington Post. Real nice.

Hypocrites.

Posted by: Speaking of | February 8, 2006 10:20 AM

Thanks. I hadn't seen the Gay Disneyland comment, although I must say that defense of seedy strip clubs doesn't seem the most noble pursuit.

As for the studies on "development pays for it," you all simply refuse to admit that the other studies never looked at a situation in which most of the money raised from the ballpark comes from other jurisdictions (or the Federal government, like the $20 million for Metro). You refuse because you don't want to give any ground on an emotional issue. I will be subsidizing my own entertainment choice, and my money will make its first forays into DC.

I'm sorry that we in the suburbs are so horrible in your estimation. I am also sorry that baseball, unlike so many other money-losing cultural pursuits in the District, is so worthy of your contempt. I am not at all convinced that baseball will lose money for the District. I am sure that it will raise the profile of the city with people across the country that you have no respect for.

Posted by: Kevin | February 8, 2006 10:23 AM

Did you see the parade in Pittsburgh yesterday for the Steelers? Did you see how a sports team united an entire city?? Did you go to any games last June when the Nats were on the 10 game winning streak? They were the talk of the town. Wasn't it a good feeling?? Civic pride is a good thing and baseball can help bring it.

Posted by: Jerome Bettis | February 8, 2006 10:37 AM

Interesting reading all of the comments on here. It's the democratic process, baby! Gotta love it.

Posted by: Swing for the fences or strike out | February 8, 2006 10:38 AM

Kevin your defense of the hurtful posts on this blog are disgusting. To many people have died. I can't believe that anybody would support the the condescending and ignorant views that the angriest of the post have portrayed.

There is too much hatred in this world. And more in this city than I cared to recognize. Every now and then an issues will come up that will highlight just how much people who are different are hated. Whites hate blacks, straight people hate gays, and the rich hate the poor.

Please don't defend hate, or any statements that de-humanize others.

Posted by: Ward 4 resident | February 8, 2006 10:45 AM

Well Kevin, racism comes in many forms and as you may be aware of,it is not socially acceptable to be overtly racist anymore so most of the racism comes through in statements tinged with racial overtones, Such as the following:

who dissin' anacostia? you want my address?

Sounds like some of you are still afraid of DC becoming a booming prosperous wealthy city???? Your afraid you will have to pack up and move to PG County.... You fear progress....

Why? Because the City Council sho' don' did stan' up to Massa Jack Kent Cooke, and wouldn't build a new stadium to replace RFK.

Etc., Etc.

I am sure you might have a hard time seeing how these statements are racist(offensive may be the appropiate term) but then again you probably arent a member of the ethnic group that these comments are direct towards.

Posted by: For Kevin (lesson in racism) | February 8, 2006 10:52 AM

Since MLB has not commented on the approved lease yet. They could be awaiting a third DC Council vote on the lease -- perhaps a DC specific strike zone is looming? Or a lease that demands a certain percentage of the Nats to be DC born and raised? Or a lease that imposes special penalties for double parking near the stadium except on Sundays? We are waiting on the edges of our seats.

www.dcbubble.blogspot.com

Posted by: dc bubble | February 8, 2006 11:00 AM

To Jerome Bettis,
I am happy for the people that took great joy in their team winning, but I don't need my government to supply the opium of a sports team. I need them to supply meat (read: a proper environment for people who live here to prosper)

If you really think the best use of government is to finance a stadium for a business whos owner doesn't live in DC and has stayed away for 30 years, and whos employees live in florida during the off season and others that live outside of DC, and whos customers to a predominant degree live outside DC, you and I have a fundamental difference of opinion.

Yes we are one region but only one jurisdiction is floating the bonds, or will be on the hook for the overruns or has to fix the streets that are destroyed by all the traffic, or clean up afterwards.

Posted by: Ward 4 resident | February 8, 2006 11:01 AM

I don't know the demographics of the posters on this site, but I am appalled by the growing hostility and anger in this city. The baseball debate was merely a stand-in for the fight between pro- and anti-development (gentrification) forces.

I am a THIRD generation DC resident and I cannot tell you how many times I've been told that I should move out to Fairfax or Montgomery where I belong.

Why?

Because I make a little money, own my own home and support bringing new businesses into the city. There are legitimate debates to be had about affordable housing, the state of our public schools, jobs and on and on. But the vitriol I see on this site, in neighborhood forums and at ANC and other public meetings is disgusting. Perhaps me, my wife and my son -- a FOURTH generation Washingtonian -- should move...to Brooklyn, Boston, Portland, San Francisco or some other place that actually values progress and change.

Posted by: DCturbing | February 8, 2006 11:05 AM

It really isn't easier in those cities either. Nobody likes change. Let me emphasize. NOOBODY LIKES CHANGE!!! PERIOD!!!!!!

Posted by: for DCturbing | February 8, 2006 11:10 AM

I'm sorry if you think I am defending hate. I would never. I just don't think that this issue highlights how different people are hated. I think demagogues in the District have framed this issue in these terms, and have artificially made it "white vs black, straight vs gay, rich vs poor".

What issue in DC (or this country) doesn't include some element of race? What issue in this powerful city doesn't pit rich vs. poor? If this subject is gay vs straight only because of strip clubs, is that really a good subject over which to fight?

I really don't want to cause you hurt, Ward 4 resident, honestly. I just think that the Council has hijacked this issue for high rhetoric for their own political careers.

Posted by: Kevin | February 8, 2006 11:10 AM

The only question remaining is which option MLB thinks is less troublesome and expensive: taking the latest revision of the deal or forcing the issue to arbitration.

Moving isn't an option (certainly not to NoVA -- if Gov. Kaine couldn't get the General Assembly to approve funding for transportation improvements, he certainly isn't going to get it for a $535 million, er, $611 million, er, $WatchThisSpace million stadium deal).

Frankly, I hope that this mess will put a damper on the whole "gimme a bigger playpen or I'm moving" squeeze play -- there's always the risk that "moving" will end in a fiasco like this.

Posted by: SteveB | February 8, 2006 11:39 AM

Please. And I'm a six figure income white, straight guy who opposes this boondoggle. How do I fit into your comfortable little "gentrification" BS? I am gentrification.

And Jerome Bettis, thanks again for displaying the fanboy myopia. No, there are many of us who didn't get jumped up by the Nationals, win or lose...nor could have gived a rats... about the Steelers if we lived there. Funny enough, I concern myself with my own personal achievements in life, and don't live vicariously through the all important people who hit balls with sticks and then run in a circle.

Posted by: For DCturbing | February 8, 2006 11:43 AM

As an ANC commissioner in Ward 2, I don't see the predominant framing of the Stadium as gay v straight, or even black v white, though there has been some opportunistic use of that. I see the framing as one of appropriate resource allocation. The ANC I serve on voted 9-0 to oppose the deal for that reason alone.

Nobody, but nobody, in DC who has followed baseball in general or this stadium deal in specific believes that a SE stadium (any stadium, really) is a net cash positive for wherever it goes. Study after study has borne that out. Even Evans says "either you want baseball or you don't" and doesn't bother to try to defend the economics of it.

And that's not even touching on the cost-overrun issue which, though unfortunately still looming, is at least a (relatively) short to mid term concern.

It's just a bad deal for us here in the city. "Not at any cost" is the right way to think. My sense is that the supporters of this are either not looking at it critically, are not fiscally prudent, or don't think their money is at risk.

Posted by: Mark | February 8, 2006 11:47 AM

So I'm a fan, big deal! It's called entertainment. Do you ever go to the movie or have some other form of outlet or do you spend 100% of your time working towards personal achievements? If so, good for you.

Posted by: Jerome Bettis | February 8, 2006 11:56 AM

To Jerome:
Nothing wrong w/being a fan. I had season tickets to the Diplomats growing up...
But surely you can understand that DCers must concern themselves with setting limits in *the level to which* they subsidize your entertainment.

Posted by: Mark | February 8, 2006 12:27 PM

I really wish that the nationals would move to suburban Virginia, Northern Virginians are primarily the ones who want the baseball team. Why doesnt MLB just move the team out in NOVA somewhere, then everyone can be happy. If NOVA wants the team so bad let them pay for the stadium, you can spend a billion dollars on it if you like, go head knock yourselves out. That way you wont have to prop up the economy of us poor ignorant,dirty, stupid crack smoking(and whatever else you describe us as) DC'ers. After all if it wasnt for you great ,benevolent suburbanites we would all be dead or strung out on crack because as you know we cant take care of ourselves we are just so pitiful thank you o merciful suburbanites for coming to our rescue surely the good lord will smile on you for touching us with a few of your tax dollars that you spend here. oh, Thank you thank you thank you. You are right, how dare we vote down your stadium, you have the right to tell us what to do with our money because we are just so pitiful. sigh sigh, what would we do with out you.

Posted by: DC | February 8, 2006 12:52 PM

This was crass politics at its worst for the four who twice voted against the lease agreement, Fenty being the ringleader.

Reading through these comments, I find it disturbing that so many alleged DC residents can be so stunningly short-sighted. Speaking as a born and bred Washingtonian, I shudder to think that politically active DC residents are goading elected officials, some running for higher offices, into making such horrendous decisions affecting the future of the city, just to get their support and votes, today.

Posted by: Paul | February 8, 2006 1:26 PM

To the contrary Paul, I'd say that the only participants in this otherwise shameful exercise in legislative gamesmanship who can hold their heads high are the four members of the council who voted against the deal from the beginning, presumably because they thought it was a bad deal for their constituents. Hanging their head in shame should be: (1) the Mayor, who made a bad deal with MLB that he had neither the authority to enforce nor the political juice push through the council; (2) the members of the council who supported the deal, but pandered to voters who thought it was not a good idea, and, in the process, screwed it up beyond all recognition; and (3) the new members of the council, who were elected, in part, based on their opposition to the deal, but ended up voting for it in the wee hours anyway.

Posted by: Not Paul | February 8, 2006 2:43 PM

Don't forget Kathy "I sell my vote for a massive Mayoral/MLB fundraiser" Patterson.

Posted by: Heh | February 8, 2006 2:48 PM

All those cranes and development going on in SE near the stadium site, that land that is now worth millions, all exists under the pretense that a baseball stadium is going up next door. You think developers will spend millions of dollars to develop mixed use space and then rent or sell their units based on the fact that a trash transfer station, asphalt plant, bus yard and strip club are next door? No you simpletons, those developers are all planning on cashing in on the magentism of the new Nationals stadium. That's how the stadium brings money into the city...even if it's dark 260 nights a year. it's those 100 nights its open that brings thousands in to spend their money at retail and restaurants that makes it worthwhile for those businesses to be there in the first place. All of which makes it a more attractive place for people to live.

Yes I know many of the DC residents here are opposed to any new money coming into the District, but that's how you build a tax base...increasing property values and bringing in new folks who can and will pay those higher property taxes. These new owners will help continue to contribute to all those high tax recipts that have built the city's coffers to allow the $1 Billion school plan. Any of you NIMBY's think that money would be there without the development that has gone on thanks to the development around the MCI center? And please don't tell us about all the development going on down there before the stadium was announced or built, because it wasn't. Sure some people worked around the area (just look at the proximity to judiciary square and Penn Ave), but no one went out after work and there was certainly no reason to go there on the weekends. Now it IS a destination area filled with businesses that see roughly the same amount of dark nights as the baseball stadium would, yet all seem to be thriving.
So, no perhaps the Nationals might not generate tons of money for the city directly from the stadium, but all of the development that comes as a result of the stadium will. The rest of us can only hope that this deal gets done and in 10 years everyone will talk about how they always supported this deal from the start. There may even be some new fanboys as a result.

Posted by: Get a Clue DC | February 9, 2006 9:47 AM

Sorry to tell you buddy but development in near SE was in the books long before baseball even became an issue. Sorry, its the truth.

Posted by: No you get a clue | February 9, 2006 11:55 AM

To No, you get a clue: Then why after the council voted no, did real estate developers call the Mayor's office and say that they would walk if baseball walks? That's the reason the did a "re-vote". Sorry, it's the truth....

Posted by: No, you get a clue | February 10, 2006 10:30 AM

They called for the same reason you would call and whine if your home mortgage deduction was being taken away. Everyone getting a nice little subsidy tostick in their pocket whines when they can lose it.

If your mortgage deduction was grabbed, you'd probably threaten to donate and vote or the other guy in the next election, but that doesn't eman when it come down to it you will.

Posted by: Uh, no | February 10, 2006 11:31 AM

Hey, I suppose the disappointed developers coulda walked... to Ashburn or Damasus...

Posted by: location location | February 10, 2006 2:34 PM

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