November 10, 2004 [LINK]

Cropp blocks stadium vote

Once again, D.C. City Council Chairperson Linda Cropp shocked her cohorts by postponing a vote on funding a new baseball stadium for two weeks, even though Mayor Williams had a majority of votes lined up for his proposal. Unbeknownst to the Mayor, she has been discussing with real estate brokers (including Michael Sununu, son of John Sununu, a top official in the first Bush administration) a plan under which private investors would fund up to $350 million of the $440-$530 million total construction cost. The good news is that she says she is committed to building the stadium, and now accepts the South Capitol Street site on the Anacostia waterfront. According to the Washington Post, an aide to the Mayor "described the proposal as a tax shelter that relies on a loophole in the federal tax code..." Mrs. Cropp appeared on WUSA-TV9 this morning and tried to explain her alternative plan, denying that her actions are aimed at laying the groundwork to run for mayor. Will Mayor Williams be forced to renegotiate his agreement with MLB? I'm rather sympathetic to those who fault such "stadium socialism," but D.C. has a reputation for being unfriendly to business, and the city's credibility has been undermined by Mrs. Cropp's last-minute switcheroo. Fortunately, none of this seriously threatens the planned relocation of the Expos to D.C. MLB plans to name the team the "Nationals" on a provisional basis, and ticket sales are supposed to begin any day now, according to General Manager Tony Tavares.