—Dustin Christensen focuses on Latin American politics and sports.
“Opponents Barred From Speaking as Cobb County Approves Braves Stadium,” by Barry Petchesky. Deadspin, May 28, 2014.
With the World Cup just weeks away, protests have been erupting across Brazil as people reject the spending of public money for the financial profit of the few. While the World Cup might dominate headlines as the most glaring example of wasteful spending in the sporting world, this is an increasingly common trend across the world. Lavish, luxury-box-filled stadiums are approved and built when owners insist on a team’s “important role” in “the community”—the same community that is denied a democratic vote in the process, robbed of tax dollars used to fund the construction and is eventually priced out of attending games altogether. In my home state of Georgia, Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves have jumped aboard this elitist bandwagon with unbridled enthusiasm. On Tuesday, a public meeting was held on the building of a new stadium for the Braves in the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County. Pro-stadium business interests waited in line for several hours in the middle of the day, snatching up all twelve of the meeting’s speaking slots while normal people worked. Speaking to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rich Pellegrino of the group Citizens for Governmental Transparency decried the situation. “We’re working people,” Pellegrino said. “We’re not on corporate welfare. It’s a slap in the face.” Unsurprisingly, all twelve speakers spoke in favor of the stadium, and the county commissioners unanimously voted to devote almost $400 million in taxpayer money from a county that is laying off teachers and slashing spending on public services.
—Laura Cremer focuses on labor, gender and the historicization of culture and politics.