Like millions of Americans, the Atlanta Braves major league baseball franchise want to flee vibrant black diversity to move to a whiter, wealthier neighborhood. But will Eric Holder’s Justice Department let them?
The Braves have just announced they will abandon central-Atlanta Turner Field. [Braves will move to Cobb County in shocking move, MLB.com, November 12, 2013]
Various reasons have been given, but that fact is that Turner Field is located in one of the worst neighborhoods in America. [Turner Field in a `dangerous` neighborhood, by C. Trent Rosecrans, CBS Sports, October 4, 2010]
Instead, starting in the 2017 season, the Braves plan to move to Cobb County, GA.. Cobb County is one of the country’s most conservative areas, having once been represented by Newt Gingrich.
It is also home to the region’s largest concentration of Braves fans, so a new stadium will put them closer to the “geographic center” of their fan base, i.e. white, middle-class suburbanites. [The Atlanta Braves are moving to Cobb County and everyone is kind of stunned by Rebecca Burns, Atlanta Magazine, November 11, 2013]
The team’s proposed new home has an almost $40,000 household income and a poverty rate over 30% lower than the neighborhood surrounding Turner field. [Braves planning new suburban stadium in 2017, by Paul Newberry, AJC.com, November 11, 2013]:
It’s about class. But it’s also about race. The team’s ticket-buying fan base (as illustrated in this ‘heat-map’ of ticket-sales released by the Braves) is in the areas of Metro Atlanta that are demographically the whitest. Coincidentally, many of these areas also wish to secede from majority black Atlanta and Fulton County. In contrast, Turner Field is located in the heart of zip code 30315, which boasts a population that is 78 percent black and only 13 percent white. In early 2013, NeighborhoodScout.com rated one of the communities within this zip code the 9th most dangerous neighborhood in all of America.
Additionally, part of the cost of doing business in a black neighborhood is the shakedown money to the “community,” in this case, a non-profit called Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corporation. The Corporation received millions of dollars, but no one can seem to figure out where the money went in a neighborhood which has an abundance of nothing but vacant lots and decaying homes. [Questions raised about millions spent in troubled Turner Field neighborhood, by Doug Richards, 11 Alive, November 13, 2013]
Ultimately, this neighborhood’s racial realities and the Minority Mortgage Meltdown were stronger forces than any economic boost from Turner Field. Though housing in the neighborhood appreciated wildly in the early 2000s, by 2013 there had been more than 400 foreclosures in the Pittsburgh neighborhood located in zip code 30315. The New York Times reported in 2007 that a house at foreclosure auction, a three-bedroom home near Turner Field, declined from $330,000 in 2004 to $134,000, having lost more than 60 percent of its initial value. [Increasing Rate of Foreclosures Upsets Atlanta ,By Vikas Bajaj, July 9, 2007]
New home construction near Turner Field couldn’t overcome racial realities that the free market is quick to notice. One person dubbed the area of Pittsburgh near Turner Field, "Hurricane Katrina without the water.”
Though the official press release put out by the Atlanta Braves organization doesn’t admit it, the move to a white neighborhood will allow mixed-use development, which the current location of the stadium makes virtually impossible.
Racial controversy is nothing new to Cobb County. Back in the planning stages of the mass transportation system that became MARTA, the then-98 percent white residents of Cobb County fiercely opposed anything that connected their Whitopia to the black city of Atlanta they had fled:
Cobb County rejected the system in a 1965 vote and never looked back. MARTA was so unpopular there that local politicians refused to be associated even with the planning phases of the project for fear that it would end their careers. Cobb County commissioner Emmett Burton endeared himself to many of his constituents when he promised to “stock the Chattahoochee with piranha” if that were necessary to keep MARTA away…
Suburban whites claimed that opposition to MARTA was rooted not in racism, but rather in concrete worries about the influx of criminals who would surely flow out of the city. In 1987, for instance, bumper stickers could be found in Cobb County with the slogan, “Share Atlanta Crime – Support MARTA.”
[White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, by Kevin M. Kruse, p. 249]
But eventually, the black population found their way to Whitopia without the aid of MARTA. As chronicled in Robert D. Bullard’s Sprawl City: Race, Politics, and Planning in Atlanta , Cobb County went from 94.6 percent white in 1980 to 86.7 white by 1997, with blacks increasing from 5.4 percent to 13.3 percent. Today, the US Census estimates Cobb County as 55.4 percent white, 26.2 percent black, and 12.2 percent Hispanic. And of course, as the black population rose, so did horrific black-on-white crime. Cobb County’s stand was only a partial success.
The county’s conservative values are also under siege. The county was targeted by homosexual activists after it passed a resolution in favor of traditional family values before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Eventually, the homosexual, progressive lobby won and women`s volleyball was moved out of Cobb County. The Coca-Cola sponsored Olympic Torch Relay in 1996 even went so far as to skip Cobb County because of a planned boycott by homosexuals. [Olympic Torch Relay Will Skip Atlanta Suburb That Condemned Gay Life, by Ronald Smothers, New York Times, April 20, 1996]
Atlanta’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, once bragged he created 30 black millionaires through minority set-asides in the expansion of Hartsfield International Airport. [Maynard H. Jackson Jr., First Black Mayor of Atlanta and a Political Force, Dies at 65, NYT, June 24, 2003] This set the precedent of Atlanta development projects enriching well-connected black companies.
The Braves tried to protect themselves. They demanded as part of the deal to stay in Atlanta they’d be allowed to "set parameters of the development and then to choose the developer.” [Your daily jolt: The threats on both sides of the Atlanta-Braves negotiations, By Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway, AJC, November 12, 2008 ] Translation: we don’t want any black firm connected with the black-run Atlanta government being forced on us.
But Atlanta is wrung dry. The city is already exhausted from paying top dollar to keep the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons in the heart of downtown. The city had to pay hundreds of millions of tax dollars for a new stadium and even had to pay off two black churches to get their land for the development. [Mayor and Falcons strike stadium deal; Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill would see $30 million investment Creative Loafing Atlanta, March 7, 2013 ]
However, politics could still trump economics to defeat Cobb County once again—if blacks appeal to a higher level, notably the Department of Justice run by black racial socialist Eric ("my people") Holder.
Thus, the federal government has a loophole to intervene if the political will is there. The legal excuse: “disparate impact.”
Since MARTA doesn’t go to Cobb County, how will all those black Braves employees who work as custodians or concession workers get to the new stadium? What about the economic impact on Atlanta and all those black-run businesses that act as suppliers to the Braves? After all, since the current stadium is in Fulton County, the Braves must adhere to mandated quotas in their dealings with minority-owned firms.
All Atlanta has to do is racialize the issue and the Main Stream Media will do what it did to Cobb County over its traditional-values heresy in the past.
I’m betting the Atlanta Braves will open the 2017 season in Turner Field. Obama’s Minority Occupation Government will make sure of that.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White and Second City Confidential: The Black Experience in Chicagoland. His latest book is The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963-2013.