Shivering not just a little from the cold, a small group of determined-looking men march into the third-floor office of Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee, letter in hand.
“Hello,” says the determinedly polite assistant at the front desk. “Can I help you?”
“Hello,” said group leader Rich Pellegrino. “We’re Citizens for a Transparent Government and we’re here to deliver a letter.”
It was part of the theater being played out on both sides of the drama surrounding plans for a $672 public-private stadium Cobb County will help build for the Atlanta Braves. Less than two weeks after the deal was made public, the Board of County Commissioners plans to vote on a memo of understanding that will effectively seal the deal at its regular meeting on Tuesday evening. With little more than 24 hours to spare, both backers of the deal and those who demand a delay are working hard to sway public opinion.
While many in Mike Opitz’s circle want to see the stadium built, he said, they feel uncomfortably rushed.
“None of us have enough information to sit down and discuss it intelligently across the table,” he said. “Making an uninformed vote is not beneficial to good government.”
But John Loud, president of Loud Security Systems and a backer of the Braves deal, is convinced nothing good can come of waiting. Also, shivering in the cold while standing with a small group of supporters on the Marietta Square, Loud said, “I don’t see what the benefit of a delay would be. Don’t delay, let’s play!”
“This is a growing movement,” said Pellegrino outside the Cobb Commission building. “We’re attracting a lot of very diverse groups who are opposed to going ahead with the vote on Tuesday.”
“They are a small group of loud voices,” said CPA Tom Morgan, standing alongside Loud in the Square, wearing a “Cobb Home of the Braves” t-shirt. “Most people support the stadium.”
Both sides will have the ears of three county commissioners Monday afternoon and into the night. Three commissioners have scheduled town hall meetings:
• District Three Commissioner JoAnn Birrell will host a town hall 4:30-6 p.m. at Mountain View Library, 3320 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta.
• District Two Commissioner Bob Ott will host a town hall at 7-8:30 p.m. in the Board of Commissioners room, located on the second floor of 100 Cherokee St., Marietta.
• District Four Commissioner Lisa Cupid will host a town hall at 7-8:30 p.m. at South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lion Club Drive SW, Mableton.