Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Mayor Says He Has the Votes on D.C. Baseball

By David Nakamura and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 9, 2004; Page A01

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday he believes he has lined up the seven crucial votes on the D.C. Council that he needs to pass his plan to build a baseball stadium on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington.

Williams (D) spent the day pushing his message to council members, business leaders and the public in a furious race to consolidate support in time for a vote today by the council on the stadium legislation.

"I believe we have the votes," Williams said at a midday news conference, flanked by council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) and nearly two dozen business leaders. "We're just trying to shore them up. We're close."

Under his pact with Major League Baseball, the city would build a stadium, which could cost $530 million, through a combination of a gross receipts tax on big businesses, a tax on concessions and an annual rent payment by the team. In exchange, baseball officials would relocate the Montreal Expos to Washington this spring.

The mayor focused largely on securing the votes of Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8). Staffers for the two said they were leaning toward supporting the mayor because Williams would fund libraries for Graham and a recreation center for Allen.

Graham said yesterday that the mayor has promised to create a $45 million investment fund for libraries that Graham had sought. Cropp has not offered a similar deal.

"We're close. We're still discussing the language," Graham said of a deal with Williams. "We're working hard to create something very real and tangible for the rebirth of our libraries."

The mayor promised activists that he would create a community investment fund that could reach $450 million and could be used for schools, libraries and recreation centers. A deal with Graham would focus the first $45 million from that fund on libraries.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.