Loudoun Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) wants his constituents to be assured he is a real red-blooded baseball fan. In his latest “news”letter he writes:
Free Loudoun Hounds Bumper Stickers
Loudoun County will soon be the home of the Loudoun Hounds, a minor league sports franchise. If you, like me, think it will be great to have a local ball club to root for, contact my office for a free Loudoun Hounds bumper sticker. They look just like the image below, scaled to around four inches across.
(Love the signature, Geary!) Actually, whether Loudoun will or will not be the home of the Hounds depends entirely on a highly controversial rezoning request that the Board has yet to vote on — a little point Geary just might have mentioned.
Meanwhile the Hounds owners have not even yet applied for a franchise for the team (which would not even be affiliated with Major League Baseball at all — talk about bush league). And after promising millions of dollars in road improvements as part of the approval they received several years ago to build a stadium at the Kincora development, the owners first got Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) to help swing an $80 million government-subsidized loan to pay for the improvements instead, then stunned everyone a few months later by backing out of the Kincora deal altogether and announcing they were going to build the stadium at an entirely new location at the One Loudoun development.
Having given York $25,000 in campaign contributions (Geary also got $5,000), the stadium investors got instant service: York rushed through a unanimous vote expediting the rezoning process for the new site. He also personally assured 240 very unhappy residents of nearby age 55+ communities who showed up for a meeting that “the normal rezoning process” would be followed. (Can you spot the inconsistency in these two actions?)
Apparently the “normal” process also includes prejudging the entire matter and having your elected officials hand out free bumper stickers in support of the project!
Higgins also apparently forgot to mention one other salient fact: the staff of the county’s Planning Department has now recommended denying the rezoning request because of its impact on surrounding properties.
It is typical of this Board to try to sell private business ventures as public goods. But the only real gainers of the stadium proposal will be the investors.
“Baseball,” moreover, appears to be little more than a fig leaf for the real profit centers of the stadium, including ear-splitting concerts, boxing, open mike nights, and “festivals.”