After causing serious commotion by distributing 5,000 flyers at last week’s Falcons game, Common Cause Georgia, an organization that bills itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan citizens’ lobby organization” will host a public forum and panel discussion tonight about the proposed billion-dollar new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
The forum will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. on the campus of Morehouse College in the Sale Hall Auditorium.
Common Cause says the purpose of the forum is to highlight the need for greater public input on the proposed downtown project that the organization says could be funded with an estimated $350 million of taxpayer money.
The panel will feature Frank Poe, Executive Director of the Georgia World Congress Center, which includes the convention center, Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park; Wyc Orr, a board member for Common Cause; and Benjamin Flowers, a professor at Georgia Tech.
“It is important for both Atlanta and Georgia taxpayers to engage in the process and make sure their voices are heard,” Orr says. “Our goal is to host an event that will give the public an update on negotiations between the Georgia World Congress Center, a public authority, and the Atlanta Falcons, a private entity. This is an opportunity for all members of the public to have direct, person-to-person communications with those who are conducting these negotiations which will have such a direct impact on the public treasury.”
Common Cause asserts that Falcons’ President Rich McKay and other team representatives were invited, but declined.
Orr recently penned a blog on behalf of Common Cause Georgia titled “Opened Roof, Closed Doors” insisting that there is a need for greater public input in the negotiations process. The group has not yet taken an official position on the issue of the stadium.
Common Cause has previously made its name opposing various developers in cities around Atlanta. The group also had a dustup with Mayor Kasim Reed last year over the so-called “pay-to-play” policies at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
“Common Cause has so much stain on it that it stinks,” Reed said, according to Politifact, in January. “Five members of [the Common Cause Georgia] board accepted maximum campaign contributions. The level of hypocrisy is stunning.”
Common Cause was seeking to limit the amount of money people who want to do business with the city could contribute to candidates for public office or elected officials at the time.