Below you’ll find my open letter to members of the Orange County Commission and members of the Tourism Development Task Force regarding a funding proposal to build a baseball stadium for $975,000,000.
Good morning Orange County Commissioners and Task Force Members,
When I was a child growing up here in Orange County, Pat Williams gave me a baseball at an Orlando Twins game played at Tinker Field. I went on to play the game at Northwest Little League in Lockhart for years to come. It was a fun part of my youth.
But now, as an adult in Orange County, I see fellow veterans sleeping in homeless shelters. I see school children that remind me of myself sleeping in cars. We have failed these neighbors and we must continue exploring real solutions to these challenges.
Which is why we can’t spend almost One Billion Dollars on a baseball stadium using Tourism Development Tax Funds. We must explore diversification through the state legislature or other projects that will provide ladders through tourism for prosperity.
A baseball stadium won’t do that. It would do quite the opposite. And this project would take years to generate revenue that would only slip into the same funnel that has put us in this TDT entanglement to begin with.
Now, I’m a realist. I understand that as I type these words, and as you consider taking a stand against a broken part of our economy, there are those who have become wealthy off of this current system. They also write campaign checks and will likely work to harden restrictions next year instead of alleviating them.
Which is why if we’re forced to look away from our real challenges then we must select projects that will give future generations a shot at succeeding in this harsh environment. Projects that will help families, either through day care, transportation, or health care through these tourism eligible entities.
Sadly, a baseball stadium can’t educate a child, feed a family, or get someone to work.
Let’s take a stand. Say “NO” to a baseball stadium. And let’s finally try to address a tragic part of our Orange County Economic existence.