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The Nationals proposed stadium and its problems
2006-01-03 08:33
by Bob Timmermann

Bud Selig's right hand man, Bob DuPuy writes an op-ed piece in the Washington Post where he takes the DC City Council to task for not giving MLB everything it wants wrapped up in a nice shiny package.

And he wants his car detailed too I think.

2006-01-03 09:23:33
1.   Daniel Zappala
Far be it from me to be an apologist for the league or Bud Selig (!) but the op-ed piece actually sounds pretty reasonable. D.C. wants to manage construction, but wants MLB to pay cost overruns? DuPuy also claims they are difficult to work with and asking for more each time they negotiate.

Do you have specific counterarguments to his claims or just a general distrust of MLB? I wouldn't be at all surprised if D.C. officials were messing this up, just as DuPuy claims.

2006-01-03 09:33:14
2.   Purple Hippopotamus
I've got a big problem with eminent domain, especially when its used for the purported "public" use of a baseball stadium. MLB and the DC City Council don't have the best history of working things out quickly or on the up and up, so the ongoing financial dispute was expected. Emiment domain was invoked in Los Angeles and we got Dodger Stadium out of the deal, displacing quite a few people, mainly immigrants, in the process--these were mainly Mexican people or others of hispanic descent--people with limited legal rights, and little property rights. Now in DC, we've got property holders, home and business owners, getting kicked off their property for a stadium complex that might not happen. Ugh. MLB should work directly with land owners and forgo any attempt to win over bureaucrats.
2006-01-03 10:42:24
3.   deadteddy8
The piece seems more an indictment of government bureacracy than anything else. The obvious solution would be for the Nationals to get a real owner/ownership group and work out funding with corporate partners and banks, just as the Giants did. I find it interesting that, IIRC, the Giants' ballpark was significantly cheaper than all the other ballparks that were built during the post-Camden era, 318mil as opposed to ~500mil. So, whose fault is it that there's no owner in place? Oh, that's right...
2006-01-03 11:54:02
4.   Murray
Regardless of how you feel about the extension of eminent domain to projects that offer mere public benefits as opposed to projects involving actual public use, I'm not sure I understand how displacing squatters in Chavez Ravine was unfair. Squatters steal property from rightful titleholders, and, as a bonus, they usually aren't paying property taxes while doing so. The rest of us actually have to live within the bounds of the law, regardless of how poor we are.
2006-01-03 12:47:49
5.   Linkmeister
DuPuy sounds like a libertarian. His anti-government attitude is counter-productive, since no matter where a team is going to be located there's gonna be a local government involved. I think Bob's right: He's saying, " we want what we want when and where we want it, and why won't you do it our way?" There speaks a man with only 30 constituents.

Ownership would make a difference if only because it took MLB out of the equation.

2006-01-03 12:54:51
6.   Bob Timmermann
I would agree with DuPuy that the DC City Council is not the easiest to work with. Washington has never been known as an exemplar of civic good government. But I think much of that comes from its rather peculiar charter and the fact that all of its power derives from whatever Congress is willing to give it.
2006-01-03 13:05:46
7.   Purple Hippopotamus
The removal of "squatters" is a residual effect of eminent domain--these "squatters," as far as I can tell, paid rent, taxes, and received mail from the USPS in an established community of several generations [so they were like everyone else except some were not official American citizens]--but my beef with eminient domain is that it does not give property holders (who may not actually live on the seized property) a chance to say no; eminent domain is the forced transfer from one property owner to another, and the last time I read the Fifth Amendment, private-to-private ownership through eminent domain is illegal--though Kelo v. New London really opened doors to baseball boondoggles. I think it's unfair for the government to tell you to move, and illegal for the government to take your property and give it to someone else (in some instances).
2006-01-03 13:11:46
8.   Purple Hippopotamus

You're spot on there. The underground Metro and accompanying bus service in DC is a multi-jurisdictional entity that receives federal, state (VA, MD), and city funds--so no one can really take the blame for insane operating costs beyond the Metro Board of Directors, which complicates the situation further by making Metro a quasi-private business that's beholden to the mandates of several local governments. Metro is so poorly constructed that it has no dedicated source of funding--fares just seem to fly away into the night.

2006-01-03 14:18:13
9.   Bob Timmermann
I believe most of the residents of Chavez Ravine were U.S. citizens. Or at least legal residents. It was a relatively old community by L.A. standards.
2006-01-03 14:37:05
10.   Todd S
#5 Well...I have a different viewpoint of a libertarian. I don't think a libertarian would have asked for a huge government handout in the first place.
2006-01-04 06:46:08
11.   Murray
I withdraw my comment about squatters with respect to Chavez Ravine and the eminent domain taking of the property by Los Angeles. There weren't many, if any, squatters there. I mis-remembered my history (mostly learned from the Neil Sullivan book), which is to say that I was not speaking with my mouth but...well, you get the idea. Apologies for any offense.

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