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ECKELS APPLYING PRESSURE TO MCLANE? SAYS REFERENDUM LIKELY
Published August 27, 1996
Harris County Judge Robert Eckels says there is a "strong likelihood" commissioners will call for an Astros stadium referendum by September 3, the last day possible for having ballot language ready for the November 5 election, according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Such a move is designed to "pressure" Astros Owner Drayton McLane to remain in Houston and speed up "stalled" talks over a $250M, 42,000-seat, retractable-roofed ballpark. In the past Eckels had said a referendum would not be conducted unless McLane supported the stadium financing plans. Eckels noted that a November referendum provides Harris County with several strategies: more time to negotiate with McLane and develop details of a new facility; placing pressure on MLB to prevent McLane from relocating if he opposes a final plan. Eckels: "The referendum is not really about Drayton. It's about whether or not the voters want to build a stadium." Astros Senior VP Bob McClaren said the club has "no problem" with a referendum (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/27).