Watchdog group petitions for Falcons stadium vote - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Watchdog group petitions for Falcons stadium vote

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ATLANTA -

A government watchdog group is trying to force a public vote on the new Atlanta Falcons football stadium.

Common Cause Georgia says Atlanta's citizens should be allowed to weigh in on using public funds to pay for the billion dollar new facility. Starting Tuesday, the group is collecting signatures to force the issue onto the November ballot.

Common Cause Georgia hopes to collect at least 35,000 verifiable signatures on a petition.

State and city officials approved the new stadium in downtown Atlanta.  Under the deal, the city is slated to contribute $200 million, which will come from the city's hotel-motel tax. The other $800 million of the billion-dollar cost is going to be paid for by the Falcons. The Falcons will also contribute an additional $50 million in infrastructure costs.

"We are trying to give the citizens of Atlanta the opportunity to say yes or no to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new stadium," William Perry of Common Cause Georgia said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who is champion of the stadium deal, told All News 106.7 that Perry is not out for public good but simply to make a name for himself.

"I just think it's a shame to see a respected organization like Common Cause be torn apart by a person who is driven by personal ambition," Reed said. "Mr. Perry is going to lose once again. I think he is an embarrassment. I think the measure that he is supporting is a losing measure and I remember when I was coming up, in the Georgia General Assembly, Common Cause Georgia was one of the most respected organizations in the state of Georgia and now they are becoming a laughing stock."

Perry said that his group is working to ensure the validity of the petition.

"We have had a team of lawyers design the language and we are making sure that everything we are doing is airtight," Perry said.

All the signatures must come from the city of Atlanta.

Common Cause Georgia believes they got about 200 signatures on the first day. They'll continue the effort over the next 60 days.

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