Ralph Nader's Washington Post letter to the editor on DC Mayor Williams' plan to increase public spending on stadium

Ballpark Bait and Switch

Letter to the Editor: Washington Post - Monday, October 16, 2006; Page A20

In the Oct. 7 editorial "Don't Doff the Spending Cap," The Post rightly advised the D.C. Council to reject Mayor Anthony A. Williams's play for $75 million more from taxpayers for the stadium project.

Mr. Williams's offers of public money rose from $200 million in January 2002 to $300 million, to $339 million, to $383 million and to $440 million at the signing of the baseball stadium deal in September 2004. After that, public costs rose to $535 million in December 2004, to $589 million and to $611 million last February, when the lease was signed. Now Mr. Williams wants to raise the taxpayer burden to $686 million with many uncertainties and no end in sight.

The council sold the $611 million politically as a cap, yet the contract places open-ended liability on the public. This bait and switch on District taxpayers does not relieve the council of its responsibility to say "No more!"

Another option is to shift the project to the still-cheaper RFK Stadium site, which offers more cost certainty, existing transportation access for game crowds and even development opportunities.

Ralph Nader


(Note: The above letter is in response to the following Washington Post editorial)

Don't Doff the Spending Cap
Saturday, October 7, 2006; Page A22

League of Fans
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC 20036