The baseball angst of the past week appears to have been resolved, and the council voted today to amend the stadium financing bill
in a way deemed to be acceptable by Major League Baseball. As for the winner of the Most Unintentionally Hilarious Statement, that would be Linda Cropp of course, saying that she's not expecting any surprises but "you never know till the last vote is taken." Gee, what experience has she had with expected votes being scuttled at the last minute?
I'll note here that of course private financing is a better solution for DC, but I just wish it hadn't had to be done in such a typical DC fashion. Let's put it this way--Tony Williams would never have gotten MLB to bring the team to DC without pledging public financing, so all the griping about his "rolling over for MLB" is a bit misguided. It's all part of the kabuki theater of government--MLB had him over a barrel, so he had to get them into an agreement, then once he did, there was then leverage for the city to tweak. Not much leverage, granted (this is MLB after all), but enough. It would have been nice if there had been a grand plan for all of this instead of making DC look like a bunch of doofuses, but in this case I'll take the ends even while detesting the means.
Now, let's start talking about exactly how likely it is that there will be a new stadium ready for play in April, 2008! (You know me, I'm an optimist.)
Mayor Williams has chosen Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd of Seattle, Washington as the winner of the Canal Park Design Competition. They envision "trees, grass, plants, a splash pool, aquatic garden and fountain. Officials say runoff from area buildings will be filtered and recycled and used in the water features." Read the mayor's press release for more information.
On Friday 12/3 Major League Baseball owners approved the move of the Montreal Expos to DC, provided DC meets the terms agreed to by MLB and Mayor Williams back in September. On Tuesday 11/30 the DC city council approved the "first reading" of the stadium financing bill 6-4 (with 3 voting "present", the wusses), with a few amendments. The final vote has been scheduled for Dec. 14. I'm too tired of all of it to go into the specifics--The Post's Nationals page will give you all the details.