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"Concerned about the intense political maneuvering over whether -- and where -- to build a new stadium" for the Yankees, team Owner George Steinbrenner will not make a decision about the ball club's future home until after the baseball season ends, according to Barry & Bagli of the N.Y. TIMES. In addition, Steinbrenner's advisors say that he "has been talking to" former NY Gov. Mario Cuomo about joining an advisory panel "to help him determine his next step." Steinbrenner is also said to be "courting" Coopers & Lybrand and HOK Sports Facilities Group. Barry & Bagli: "Executives close to Steinbrenner said that while the Yankees organization appreciated the efforts of [NYC Mayor Rudy] Giuliani to keep the team in New York City, it had become concerned with the furor surrounding the mayor's proposal that city tax money be used to help finance a new stadium." Those close to the negotiations said that Steinbrenner "wanted to remove the Yankees entirely from the politically charged atmosphere" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/1). BOSSMAN COMETH? In NJ, Mike Kelly wrote that friends say that while Steinbrenner is "inclined to move his team" to a new stadium in NJ, "he is acutely aware of what such a move would do to his place in baseball history." Kelly added that over 60% of Yankee fans now come from NJ and Rockland and Westchester, NY, Counties (RECORD, 4/30).
MCI Center Exec VP Wes Unseld said that DC officials "were aware" of an agreement between the city and the MCI Center under which the city paid for DC police being used for security and crowd control. Unseld said the deal was "negotiated publicly and approved by elected officials" and the DC financial control board (WASHINGTON POST, 5/1). ...Citing allegations of "possible fraud," Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney called for hearings to investigate Ogden Entertainment's food and beverage concessions at Veterans Stadium (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/1)....A S.F. judge dismissed a lawsuit yesterday that attempted to overturn last June's election in which voters approved the 49ers' plan for a new stadium/mall (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/1). ...In CA, drivers are complaining about the "glare from the lights" at Edison Field along the Orange Freeway. CA Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Angel Johnson said the CHP "has contacted officials" of the ballpark "to ask if they can mute" the lights and parking lot billboard. Stadium officials said that they were "interested in any safety issues related to the lights" (L.A. TIMES, 4/30).
With less than a week left before voters in the Triad area will decide whether they want to help pay for a new ballpark, "the pro-stadium campaign has tightened the race dramatically," according to David Rice of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL. A new poll of 438 likely voters found that 50% of voters in Forsyth and Guilford counties oppose a tax on prepared foods and baseball tickets to help pay for a ballpark, while 43% support it. The telephone survey was taken April 28-29 and was conducted for the newspaper by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research. It has a margin of error of +/- 5%. The numbers show the gap has narrowed since a similar poll last month which showed 61% against the tax and 31% for it. But Rice writes that poll came before the Twins played an exhibition game in the area and prior to radio and TV ads that began to tout baseball. The survey also showed that 22% of those who said they'll vote for the proposal "made up their minds in the past week." Other numbers showed a "sizable gender gap" over the ballpark as 53% of men surveyed favor the tax, while "just" 33% of women support it. In another note, 4% of those who favor the tax do so because they don't want Charlotte to get an MLB team. Ballpark proponents will increase their GOTV efforts this week and new TV ads featuring NASCAR drivers and Triad residents talking about baseball are set to debut (WINSTON- SALEM JOURNAL, 5/1). In related news, a new study by the Univ. of NC-Greensboro shows that an MLB team could be "successful in the region and improve the area's economy and quality of life." But the study said it must include a "fair lease that protects taxpayers." The study assumed an average attendance of 18,000 (NEWS & RECORD, 4/30).