Sunday, September 19, 2004

Jack Evans SMASH

Jack Evans, the Babe Ruth of city counciling, is on the warpath. He's heard all the talk about the new DC councilmen stopping ballpark financing, and he's not going to stand for it. Thanks to message board denizen "Not" for this transcript of an interview on WTOP, where councilmen-more-or-less-elect Vincent Gray and Kwame Brown suffer the wrath of 100% Jack (I'm skipping around, and you should read the whole thing).
Jack Evans: It’s not going to be rushed through. It’s going to go through the normal legislative process. But the other thing is, it’s a privately financed stadium. And to the extent that this public finance got carried away in the campaign, there’s not a tax dollar that is currently being raised for anything – capital projects, operating dollars – that’s going to be spent on a baseball stadium. So the question for the two gentlemen you have there is: “Would you support a privately financed baseball stadium?” It just comes down to that. The concessions, the taxes on the concessions. The rent of the stadium. The proposed Gross Receipts Tax that doesn’t currently exist. That’s what’s used to finance the stadium. So that’s what it comes down to. And it’s been done everywhere. And it’s the kind of way you get these things built.
Now watch as the demagoguery of the new kids withers under Jack's assault:
And Vince, when you’re talking about education, I mean, we’re spending right now $1.3 Billion in our public school system. And you tell me: if I spend another $500 million in that system, would they have gotten Eastern High School open on time? I mean, c’mon. And you want to go out and borrow another $300 million, with no financing mechanism to pay it back, and use it on our school system.
Let's see what the new guys have to say now.
Vincent Gray: I just want to say one thing to Jack, and that is, I don’t think the case that he’s making now has been effectively made on a widespread basis. I think those who are proponents of baseball and a publicly financed baseball stadium, if that’s an appropriate way to put it, need to do a better job of getting the message out to the residents of the District of Columbia. Because I can tell you, there are lots of people who don’t have a clear understanding of this. There are lots of people who do not want to spend any public dollars on a baseball stadium.

Jack Evans: To respond to Vince, I think you’re absolutely right. I think the case has not been made. And secondly, I do not want to spend any public dollars on a baseball stadium. I’ve said it repeatedly. And to the extent that this term “public financing” has gotten legs in the media, it’s a fallacy.
So you see, Gray's already softening his stance. It's not that he's against it, it's that case hasn't been effectively made. There's a lot of hooting among stadium opponents and the half-informed that the results of the recent election constitutes a black eye for Evans and a roadblock to the return of baseball. But when Marion Barry calls for contruction of a stadium and the two other supposedly anti-stadium councilmen soften their stace within minutes of a talking-to from Evans, the return of the Senators just looks surer and surer.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was a perceptibly softening of anti-stadium sentiment since last Tuesday, which suggests that the issue was demogogued in the campiagn by Brown, Barry and Gray.

Either way, Evans is on track to pass the bill this session. But in the event that it gets delayed, I could see the bill surviving to live another day while Virginia gets put to sleep on New Year's Eve.

Ryan said...

I'm not sure if the new guys 1) were just talking a big game to get elected, then backtracked or 2) didn't know what they were talking about until Jack explained it to them. Either way, I'm glad Jack's on our side.