Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Mayor Williams Goes To Bat

Mayor Anthony Williams must really want baseball to happen in DC, because last night he wandered out to Ward 7 to do a town-hall meeting--and you know he looks forward to those types of public appearances the way most people look forward to having their eyes dug out by spoon-wielding nuns.

But if this deal for DC Baseball is going to come together, it's going to come together quickly. Already the forces against are mobilizing, and baseball backers face a certain time constraint--the possibility of losing council support is very real as the colorful caucus of Gray, Brown and Barry replaces the ousted and mostly useless Brazil, Allen and Chavous. I say mostly useless because right now, at least two (Brazil and Chavous) of the Tiresome Trio are lockstepping behind the plan for baseball, despite the concerns of the constituents that fired them. You have to admire Brazil and Chavous for their consistency, at least--I mean, putting the needs of the people you serve above your own--why go out on that note?

Mayor Williams seems to be taking his cue from the absentee politicos who back him, however, as he leaves DC for the next 11 days on a trade trip to China and Thailand. He's drawn criticism from baseball supporters for splitting town for the week-and-a-half lead-up to the Council's public hearing--so don't expect to hear Mayor Williams lobby this issue too much during the run up to the October 28 hearing.

But for one night, anyway, the residents of Ward 7 got to register their opinions publicly, and, in their own predictable fashion, lamented the lack of good schools and hospitals. Williams' best defense--somewhat advanced by the mass-marrying-Moonie-mumpheads over at the Times--is that this money isn't coming out of the Hospital Pot or the School Pot. Mmmmmm, school pot. But DCers are rightly taken aback that the city would float a half-billion dollars of bonds to build a stadium when that kind of spending cash is needed elsewhere. Besides, most people know that a bond is a door that smacks the taxpayer on the ass after the fact.

My favorite quote from the Post's coverage: "East of the Anacostia River, Williams has suffered from the impression that he has led a revitalization in downtown Washington but not in the poorest neighborhoods."

That's the impression? Not to worry, Anacostia. Williams hasn't led a revitalization of downtown, either.

Still, questions, and potentially answers, remain.

1. Why has no one, save a smart blogger I can't remember by name so as to cite properly (please come get some props, whoever you are), suggested possibly going the Green Bay route: public ownership of the team.

2. Doesn't the possibility exist that the baseball team may in fact eliminate the need for better schools or a state-of-the-art hospital? Has anyone checked to see if the members of the Montreal Expos are world-class teachers or have magical healing powers? They are from Canada, after all.

3. Again--I'm very curious to know how many fans of this baseball team may exist. Not counting people who will use the DC team as a means by which their actual fave is watched. My guess on this: around 10,000 fans. 20K tops. And remember, this particular team has been unwatchably bad. And also remember, this is Major League Baseball, where the unwatchable stay unwatchable.

4. What's Barry's angle? He's against baseball, but he can't possibly be right. In fact, he being against baseball is probably the single strongest argument for baseball. And why wouldn't he be for baseball? The stadium project alone is probably going to be a lucrative windfall for several contractors, and this is the type of business that made Barry the sine qua non of crony-capitalist facilitator. It's hard to imagine he doesn't imagine how hard his dick's gonna be near all that cash. So, is he using reverse psychology? Claiming to be against something while knowing full well that his being against it's gonna ramp up support for it? My God, Marion Barry makes everything so deliciously complicated!

Still, Mayor Williams did show a little savvy, saying "FedEx is the old suburban model...It's a giant parking lot with a big stadium plopped down like a spaceship."

That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said about FedEx Field.

No comments: