February 14, 2006

STOP THE STADIUM GRAHAM-STANDING. Councilmember Jim Graham has been circulating a Wall Street Journal op-ed about the latest DC Stadium lease to justify his "no" vote last week. Graham uses the op-ed by economist Mark Rosentraub to reinforce his own belief that "we have struck a bad deal financially." Graham's reading of the piece is over simplistic and misleading.

Rosentraub mainly says DC could have and should have gotten a better deal, but the stadium will help revive the Southwest waterfront:

  • "Five years from now people will point with pride to the stadium [in Southwest] and mention the District in the same breath as San Francisco, San Diego" and other cities where stadiums were used to attract real estate development;
  • "The new lease is a step forward for the District, but negotiating it was like closing the barn door after the horses escaped."
  • "The District is using taxes on businesses, thereby minimizing the pain for lower-income residents."

Moreover, the article is incredibly damning for DC political leaders, which makes it hard to see why Graham is quoting it. What Rosentraub describes as "district leaders' failure" to leverage their relative economic strengh compared to counterparts in Portland and Las Vegas applies equally to the DC Council and to the Mayor.

Given the opportunity presented by the stadium, Mr. Graham how come you did not show leadership by fighting for a better deal, rather than just opposing it? Perhaps you were to afraid that Virginia would/will steal the team away, so rather than getting your hands dirty, you played it safe and opposed the lease. Some councilmembers are coming under fire for their "yes" votes, maybe the "no" voters should get some heat as well. (This post has been emailed to Councilman Graham.)


dcbubble said...

DC Council had no role, whatsoever, in the negotiation. Indeed, we were no even given progress reports. Nada. This was all in the Mayor's control. I circulated the article because of the second point he made, but I thought it would have been unfair to edit the piece. So, in fairness, I presented the whole thing. Bests Jim Graham

mjrmajor said...

Same breath as San Francisco?!

Just make sure no one knows that SBC Park was (gasp) privately funded.