In Atlanta, local government bodies "must vote all over
again" on the city's proposed $213M downtown sports arena
"because a key element of the financing has changed,"
according to Saporta & Unger of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.
If the Atlanta City Council, Fulton County Commission or the
Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority votes it down,
the entire "project would be in jeopardy." The change in
the plan "affects what had been an important taxpayer
safeguard," as the team had pledged all of its revenues to
repay arena construction bonds if the facility's income
wasn't enough to cover them, which "virtually guaranteed
taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for any shortfall." But the
NBA now says Hawks players "would have to be paid first."
With the salary cap at "about" $25M, that much less revenue
would be available back to the arena bonds. Fulton County
Commission Chair Mitch Skandalakis: "It seems odd that you
would go into this thing not knowing what the NBA's position
would be. I'm not happy at all. I think (the new arena
proposal) stands little chance of passage from my board."
But Michael Coleman, counsel representing the Hawks, said
they "have presented to the city and county staff a proposal
that we think offers even better protection to the
taxpayers" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/29).
The proposal to build a new stadium for the Seahawks
"officially became Referendum Bill 48," as the ballot
question for the June 17 election was posted and a new poll
"suggested the measure would be defeated," according to Ed
Penhale of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. The ballot
reads: "Shall a public stadium authority be authorized to
build and operate a professional football stadium and
exhibition hall financed by tax revenues and private
contributions?" Chris Van Dyk, of the stadium opposition
group Citizens for More Important Things, said as long as
the ballot has "the word 'tax' in it, people will know what
they are voting on." Football Northwest campaign consultant
Bob Gogerty "was uncomfortable with the way the ballot title
refers to 'taxes,' but voiced no other complaint."
Meanwhile, the April edition of the independent Elway Poll
released Monday showed 51% of voters statewide "are inclined
to say no" towards a new stadium, with 43% "inclined to vote
for it." The Elway Poll surveyed 405 voters with a margin
of error of +/- 5% (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 4/29).
A protest "against tax breaks for the wealthy erupted
suddenly" in the FL House on Monday as lawmakers denied
Wayne Huizenga a "second helping of public money" to
renovate Pro Player Stadium, according to Steve Bousquet of
the MIAMI HERALD. The 61-50 vote was a "rare, dramatic
defeat for one of the most politically connected
Floridians," and "ended Huizenga's hopes" of receiving $2M a
year toward stadium improvements for 30 years. House
Majority Leader Jim King, a Huizenga backer, on the feeling
of "momentum turning" against Huizenga: "I told him the
debate was not going to be pretty. No matter how you cut
it, a lot of members perceive this as giving millions to a
billionaire" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/29). In St. Petersburg, Rado
& Walsten writes that Huizenga's chief lobbyist, Ron Book
"was crestfallen." Stan Smith, a Huizenga spokesperson,
said that Huizenga will now consider how to pay for the
stadium improvements (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/29).