Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Officials Batting 1.000 for D.C. Residents

The D.C. baseball stadium deal is not the sole priority of Washington’s City Council.

In his last column (“Baseball Shouldn’t Be District’s Top Priority,” THE HOYA, Feb. 14, 2006, A3), Corey Prachniak quotes a District resident disgruntled about the fact that the mayor was more concerned about “baseball teams instead of public schools.”

He goes on to state that with the construction of a new baseball stadium, people may feel that the government has “struck out,” failing to address pertinent socioeconomic issues that are of concern to the citizens of the District (in particular, education).

I beg to differ. Prachniak should take a closer look at the current state of D.C. politics. Two seconds of Internet research reveals that the D.C. council unanimously approved a measure to guarantee District schools $100 million in construction and renovation and $1 billion in the next decade to secure the learning environment for future K-12 public school students.

Prachniak criticizes the fact that the stadium would not benefit the “elderly couple who cannot afford their prescriptions [or the] single mother who can hardly afford groceries each week.” Now, I can’t say I know the ins and outs of District politics, but I’m pretty sure the city council hasn’t turned a blind eye to these issues.

Educational and socioeconomic issues remain at the top of the council’s agenda, and the baseball stadium proposal has not changed that. In fact, the actions of the council show that the welfare of its citizens remains the primary priority.

I am also quite sure that these same objections were raised while the council considered the construction of MCI Center, the home of our beloved Hilltop basketball team. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans states on his Web site that, “The funding to fully modernize our public schools would never have been available without once controversial and, now highly successful, projects like the MCI Center were not creating large amounts of tax revenue for the city.”

It is evident that the D.C. government recognizes the controversy surrounding large-scale development, but also recognizes the tremendous positive impact it will have in the community. Chinatown thrives as Hoyas and other sports fans leave CI Center, so how is it that Prachniak can state with such certainty that the proposed baseball stadium “won’t help the citizens who actually have to pay for it?”

I can already hear the retort: “If you say that the stadium will be of economic benefit for the citizens of the District, then why not channel the money into social services and education programs where it’ll have a direct impact on the people?”

As a native of Los Angeles, I know firsthand that throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily solve it. It is reform, not re-appropriation, that is necessary. The socioeconomic problems Prachniak describes in his column are not unique to the District.

Although the District’s government takes the proper steps to ensure the welfare of its citizens, it cannot tackle the challenges of poverty and socioeconomic imbalance by itself. These problems are only reflective of poverty throughout the nation that our federal government, state governments and the American people must overcome together.

The District has had considerable success with MCI Center, the Convention Center and other large-scale development projects. It is clear that these venues allow neighborhood businesses to flourish and have a profound positive economic impact, not only for the surrounding community, but also for the District as a whole.

Critics of the stadium plan should be more optimistic about the fiscal and economic implications of this proposal. The District government has not “struck out,” but has taken the first steps necessary to achieve a grand slam win for the citizens of our nation’s capital.

Andrew Kim is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

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