Weston Wamp Hits Lack Of Transparency On Plans For New Lookouts Stadium Involving Taxpayer Funding

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Republican county mayor nominee Weston Wamp said Wednesday on Twitter that he has grave concerns about taxpayer funding of a new home for the Chattanooga Lookouts. And he said taxpayers do not support it.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Wednesday that details of a new $70 million stadium at the U.S. Pipe/Wheland site would be announced on Thursday morning.

Mr. Wamp made these comments on Twitter:

A coordinated, multi-year lobbying effort has pushed for a new taxpayer funded stadium for the Lookouts. The sales pitch has created a false dichotomy: Build a stadium or miss out on growth. That is nonsense.

Stadiums are poor public investments, and there are countless ways our county/city could invest $80 million that would lead to more growth, lower violent crime and improved public education — the most important roles of local government.

I am not categorically opposed to a new stadium, but I am entirely opposed to a lack of transparency.

Team owners and developers have chosen to keep all plans and negotiations behind closed doors with politicians because they know taxpayers are opposed.

As a conservative, it’s near indefensible to prioritize taxpayer financing to pay for a stadium considering our aging schools, crumbling infrastructure and rising violent crime — all at a time of economic uncertainty.

To my progressive friends who often rightly point to the racial disparities in our community, in education, income, housing and crime: How will a massive public investment in a stadium alleviate any of these?

Four years ago, I wrote an op-ed published by the Free Press raising concerns about the owners’ intent. Let’s not forget, less than a year ago, John Woods, one of the Lookouts’ general partners, was accused of running a $110 million Ponzi scheme.

A new stadium should be weighed cautiously against competing priorities after new leadership takes over county government on Sept. 1. Rushing approval of taxpayer funding for a new stadium will not serve developers, team owners, politicians or taxpayers well in the long run.

 


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