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CAROLINA BLUES: BEAVER "DISAPPOINTED" AS VOTERS REJECT TAX
Published May 6, 1998
Voters in the NC Triad area yesterday "hollered a loud 'No!' to a tax to build a baseball stadium," according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The "resounding" defeat in both Guilford and Forsyth counties "leaves the Twins with no place to go for now, pushes nearby Charlotte into line as the next possible site for a Twins move and increases the prospect that the team may have to play in the Metrodome for the 1999 season." Twins Owner Carl Pohlad, after the ballpark defeat: "I don't know what we're going to do. We'll regroup. We're going to consider all alternatives. We know Charlotte wants the team, and we'll go from there" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/6). THE VOTE: The initiative, which included a 1% sales tax increase on prepared food and a $.50 ticket surcharge, was soundly defeated in both counties, losing in Guilford by a margin of 67.2% to 32.8%, and in Forsyth by a margin of 59.2% to 40.8%. The referendum drew a "strong" turnout rate of 32% in Guilford County (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 5/6). THE DON SPEAKS: In Winston-Salem, David Rice reports that prospective Twins Owner Don Beaver was "disappointed" by the results, but "made it clear that he will look elsewhere in the state -- presumably Charlotte -- to find a home for a team." Beaver: "I think this vote means baseball won't be coming to the Triad area. That makes me very sad." Beaver added that the outcome "won't affect" his negotiations with Pohlad. Rice reports that while Beaver "did not make a definite commitment last night to make Charlotte the team's permanent home," he did "made it clear" that public money would "be required" for a Charlotte ballpark to "demonstrate that city's commitment to a team." Beaver: "You need public money in baseball. Charlotte's not any different" (David Rice, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 5/6). WHAT WENT WRONG? In Winston-Salem, Scott Maxwell writes that although stadium proponents outspent opponents 28-1, the opposition "had a campaign strategy that resounded with voters and was easy to follow." UNC-Greensboro Communications Professor Craig Allen Smith said that park supporters' "biggest flaw" was that they "simplified their effort down to one issue: asking residents to 'Vote yes' if they support baseball." Smith said that instead of focusing on that one theme, the "Vote Yes For Baseball" group "should have touted the nonbaseball benefits that a stadium would have provided." Vote Yes organizer Walt Klein: "I don't think there's any one thing you can put your finger on when your side of the issue gets beat as heavily as we did" (Scott Maxwell, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 5/6).