MARIETTA, Ga. -- Critics have accused Cobb County and the Atlanta Braves of steamrolling a deal for the new baseball stadium through, with little transparency and even less public input.
It would appear from his conversation with the editorial staff of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Braves president John Schuerholz has had quite enough of that – explaining yet again the genesis of the team's move to Cobb County by saying, "We made this decision after many, many years of negotiating with the city."
He insisted the deal had to be struck quickly.
"We had to move quickly if we were going to plan, design and build a stadium," he said. "We had no choice but to make a decision to advise the mayor that we were going to relocate. The responses that I have heard have all been the same: we are delighted about your Cobb County project."
But at the last meeting, Schuerholz did not get to hear the other side – because they were not allowed to speak. Those taxpayers say they do not want to be on the hook for $400 million.
Community activist Rich Pellegrino says the deal was railroaded around Cobb County citizens.
"The arrogance of power, and that's been the whole story of this fiasco from the beginning," Pellegrino said. "Backroom deals, two-by-two meetings – what they call 'Noah's Ark' meetings to avoid sunshine laws."
Pellegrino calls the new stadium a "field of schemes."
Despite that, he says he still wants the Braves to move to Cobb. He just wants the team to pay for it.