Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Strange, the Bizarre and the DC City Council

A hundred years from now, when somebody finally decides to write a history of the era of "home rule" for the District, we have an excellent candidate for first-chapter. In the course of one morning, afternoon and very long night, we all got an excellent picture of how home rule has "worked" (and I use that word with a grain of salt) over the years...and more often not.

The end result was a positive one, for the most part - 9-4 passage of Linda Cropp's emergency legislation for a stadium lease for the Washington Nationals with a hard cost cap. This after the mayor's lease deal with MLB was rejected earlier in the day by a vote of 8-5, temporarily sending baseball fans in the city to their nearest therapist/bar/jumping bridge. There for a few hours, things looked quite dark indeed. Following the first vote, the mayor announced that baseball in DC was in trouble. Bob Dupuy, MLB's top guy on this project, came out and said something similar. And so the backroom dealings started and votes changes and in the dead of night, they passed the new deal. That after a long day that started with a closed door breakfast meeting of the council that would appear to violate just about every sort of "sunshine law" on the books.

You saw everything that makes up District politics. Gross politicking for various causes and positions. Grandstanding by various candidates for mayor. Backroom dealing. A mayor that can't control the council (which openly doesn't particularly care for the mayor). A chairman of the council (in Linda Cropp) who appeared at times to have lost control and still managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (she really deserves kudos on this...despite my criticisms in the past). Ugly words from people like Adrian Fenty, who would probably say anything to become mayor. Charges of racism, gentrification, class warfare, etc. Everything that District home rule is/has been/will be.

Now...whether MLB will accept this lease agreement is an open question. But...that said, I'm guessing they will. I think they'd like to wash their hands of the whole thing and get their money. It seems obvious this is the deal they're going to have to accept and it's in their best interest to do so. Now they can sell the team and get moving forwards. Would they have preferred all kinds of other stuff? Sure. So would the city. So would fans. But this is the deal we have...everybody is going to make a lot of money - we just have to move on.

Unfortunately for the Nats, it means that we've had an entire winter of discontent and status quo. Trader Jim has assembled an excellent team for 2006...that is, if you can make up a team consisting entirely of middle infielders and outfielders. And we've had no resolution of the TV problem locally. And another season of "seat of the pants" marketing and whatnot. BUT...we'll be able to start making plans for the future. Hopefully soon. And hopefully by starting with my personal Nats to-do list:
a.) Replace Bowden with a new GM who isn't trade-happy
b.) Replace Frank with a manager who isn't bunt-happy
c.) Ditch Guzman

I'd be happy with anything else, so long as I could get those. ;)


At 9:16 AM, Blogger the Alpha John said...

We should be especially proud of the work done by Hizzonor Marion Barry to close this deal.


At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they sold chances to hit Guz with a bat, they'd raise the money in no time. Can't wait to boo him with you next season.


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