The Cobb County you may (or may not) know

Cobb County is full of contradictions. Its schools are among the best in the state (a low threshold, to be fair). Atlanta’s ballet and opera companies recently relocated there and both say its been good for business.

But Cobb County also has a sizable contingent of yahoos. One of its hamlets, Kennesaw, passed a law requiring its citizens to own a  handgun. In the 90s, County commissioners lost the opportunity to host the volleyball competition during the Atlanta Olympics because it insisted on a resolution condemning the gay lifestyle as ”incompatible with the standards to which this community subscribes.” And it was only five years ago that a tavern just off the Marietta square sold T-shirts featuring “Obama in ’08” inscribed over cartoon chimp Curious George peeling a banana.

“I’m saying out loud what everyone in this town whispers,” the bar’s owner told me.

That’s an overstatement, certainly, but not a wild one. The chairman of Cobb’s Republican Party has two conditions for supporting the stadium, one of which requires little reading between the lines.

“It is absolutely necessary the (transportation) solution is all about moving cars in and around Cobb and surrounding counties from our north and east where most Braves fans travel from, and not moving people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta.”

He also wants to hear either Christian rock or contemporary country music in between innings. Something tells me he’ll get his wish.

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11 comments

  1. The Braves moving there is baseball white flight. I don’t care if I can’t prove it. But I truly believe it.

    The team and the area will regret the whole thing in 2019 or 2023.

  2. Yes, and Leo Frank was lynched in Cobb County in 1915. Don’t forget that. Cobb County is not the same as it was 40 years ago. I publicly protested Bill Byrne’s absurd anti-gay stance along with many of my neighbors…over 20 years ago. Instead of blaming Cobb County you should be blaming the inept political leadership in Atlanta(largely African American since you’re tallying it) that could not find a way to put rapid transit past The Ted or could not create any sort of meaningful development around the ballpark over the last 20 years or otherwise work in a meaningful way with the Braves. DOB did a pretty good job of that yesterday without resorting to race baiting.

    Successive city and county administrations didn’t quite process that the team had moved from local ownership that had some amount of respect for tradition and the importance of Atlanta, to out of state ownership that views the team as just another corner of the balance sheet. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the sad end of Turner Field. But it doesn’t sit with all of the awful white people in Cobb County.

  3. “Instead of blaming Cobb County you should be blaming the inept political leadership in Atlanta(largely African American since you’re tallying it) that could not find a way to put rapid transit past The Ted or could not create any sort of meaningful development around the ballpark over the last 20 years or otherwise work in a meaningful way with the Braves.”

    Well said.

  4. Why point out that the ‘inept political leadership is largely African American’
    Hmmm I wonder….
    The yahoos in Cobb are already proving that this article is correct.
    I’m not saying that everyone that lives in Cobb and the outer suburbs is a yahoo, BUT if you ARE a yahoo, you probably live in the outer suburbs.

  5. I’ve been visiting Atlanta the past two years to see the Braves live at their home field. I’m not feeling too enthusiastic about traveling to Cobb. I might stick to away games.

  6. Rob, I grew up in Cobb so I know it’s no backwater. But that element still exists, as the Cobb GOP chairman’s comment illustrates. And I already placed the blame on ATL leadership a few posts ago:

    “Atlanta’s political leaders deserve much of the blame, however. Kasim Reed sold out to Arthur Blank while his predecessors neglected the area around Turner Field and eschewed a MARTA extension to the Ted so they could collect more parking revenue”

  7. Yeh. The whole thing is just like one big free market lightning bolt that’s bumming a lot of people out. Liberty Media wants a better location and local governments out of their baseball business and this deal helps accomplish both to a considerable degree. The demise of Turner Field represents a triumph of capitalism over the values of civic tradition and is an emblematic event in Atlanta’s long burn it down-erase it-rewrite history. By 2019 no one will care or remember much of this except for the vendors left hanging out to dry around Turner Field. We should just be happy they didn’t announce they were moving to Charlotte.

  8. Rob,

    Not putting any development around the ballpark is absolutely the result of the City of Atlanta leadership not addressing a long-known issue.

    However, with the rail expansion, that is not under the City’s control; the State of Georgia has continually undermined MARTA to prevent it from operating effectively – it receives virtually no funding from the state, unlike any other major public transit network in the country, and not too long ago, maybe 3 years, the state assembly failed to pass legislation that would have let them access their own savings funds to cover shortfalls in sales tax revenue.

    City of Atlanta’s leadership shoulders a lot of the blame here; the inability to expand MARTA is the fault of the State failing to get behind the idea that public transit is worthwhile. We’ll see the results of this attitude in 4 years time I’m sure, when it takes 60 minutes to get inside the stadium from less than 5 miles away.

  9. Rankin, I thought the exact same when Gov. Deal said he is just happy the Braves stayed in Georgia. That right there says a lot about what could have happened.

  10. All of the initial Cobb County rhetoric about what is to come is very specific to omit any mention of public transportation. They talk of trams and shuttles, which will be privately owned no doubt. CCT will probably run Braves shuttles on game days from North Springs or Midtown, but the impetus will be on paid parking, which will be significantly more costly than it is at Turner.

  11. Rob,

    I would hardly call the cost of the new stadium’s construction being socialized by Cobb taxpayers to the tune of $300 million a “triumph of capitalism.”

    Also, not to completely absolve the City of Atlanta of its role in this whole saga, but according to Maria Saporta it’s not like Braves were pushing for a mixed-use urban nirvana to sprout from the parking lot asphalt like mushrooms unless they were getting a substantial cut of the revenue:

    “Just as important to the Braves is what happens to the land around the stadium. Invest Atlanta, the economic development arm of Atlanta, has sought proposals from developers to create a mixed-use community around Turner Field.

    But the Braves let the city know they wanted to be a partner in such a development. They did not want a development with restaurants and entertainment venues to end up competing for the Braves fans’ dollars when they could create an overall experience.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/11/12/what-the-atlanta-braves-wanted-to-stay.html?page=all

    I suppose getting the stadium for the $50 million cost to reconfigure as a baseball facility wasn’t good enough.

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