All but one amendment defeated
WASHINGTON -- Opponents of the financing plan for a new ballpark for the Expos were defeated in nearly all of the amendments they tried to approve Wednesday.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams has proposed a $440 million package to refurbish RFK Stadium and construct a new ballpark. Among the amendments defeated during a meeting of the District of Columbia Council's finance and economic development committees was a provision that would have required the team to remain at RFK Stadium.
"I have attempted to memorialize promises made to this community," councilman David Catania said after offering a series of 20 amendments. "I ask myself, in whose interest does this council operate?"
The one concession Catania won was to have "nonbinding" inserted to the type of recommendations a panel of city and baseball officials can make on stadium construction. Catania said he wanted to make sure baseball didn't have a veto over certain details in the stadium design and construction.
Catania stressed the need for community benefits to be specifically outlined in the legislation, such as free tickets for District children and a $1 donation from every baseball ticket to help fund city improvements.
He also said the stadium would probably cost $700 million.
Councilman Jack Evans said Catania was trying to breach the city's agreement with the Expos.
"You know the ramifications," Evans said, addressing Catania. "You know if it could kill the deal, and I can't let you do that."
Evans said Catania had made some good points but that he hadn't had time to review each of the amendments. He said some changes could come when the Council meets next week for a vote.
At one point, Evans became angry with Catania's accusation that the council will vote for anything to get baseball. He used a profanity but later apologized to everyone in the room.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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