With hundreds of millions of public dollars now linked to this deal, taxpayers are fully justified in demanding that they have a right to know just what is, or was, going on much earlier than they did. And these same citizens are correct in questioning why this agreement could not have been conducted to a much-larger degree in the clean light of day. To do otherwise, as Cobb has done, frankly stinks.
Yet, the commission has been maddeningly consistent in its lockout of those who might dare criticize its maneuverings. During a commission meeting last month, opponents or skeptics of the proposal were barred from stating their case. Bureaucratic reasons feebly offered for this outrageous affront of the right to petition government also badly fail the smell test.
Cobb’s mulish insistence on keeping the public as far away from, for as long a period as possible, the decisions around the Braves’ move also unfairly call into question, if not impugn, the merits of what, at its core, is simply a business deal. Albeit a big one that moves an Atlanta — and Southern — institution from the central city to a new OTP home.
It’s worth stating here that this newspaper is not opposed to the team’s move. This Editorial Board has no position on where the Atlanta Braves ultimately play America’s pastime. In our view, the team, as a private-sector entity, is to be expected to seek the deal offering the best possible upside — wherever that may be around this great town.
Yet, Cobb County government’s behavior to this point has done no favors for a proposal that is best considered dispassionately — and openly. That would have been the best way to reach the best deal for all concerned, we believe.
And it should be the way forward from this point on for Cobb’s county commission.
Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.