- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Linda W. Cropp has decided to be a woman of the people, if not the leading populist of the D.C. Council.

She also has some Elmer Gantry in her, only she is clutching the ballpark’s fiscal impact report instead of a bible. She is preaching to the masses, talking of monies better spent elsewhere, making the case of the unfriendly confines on Half Street in Southeast Washington.

The at-large Democrat has a zillion ideas with the proposed ballpark, with each subject to change depending on which way the political wind is blowing.

One day Cropp is behind the mayor’s ballpark site, the next day she trots out the previously dead RFK Stadium site and yesterday she found the necessary support to take a two-week powder after objecting to the publicly financed arrangement.

Washington, we have a problem.

Hers is the ever-shifting maneuvering that comes a Cropper.

Hold the printing of the season tickets, in other words.

We do not have a baseball team just yet. We have the rotating Cropp instead.

We have the concept of a team hanging in the balance and a mayor who would be pulling his hair out if he had any hair to pull out.

We have an “at-risk” baseball team and a politically depressed city slipping further into the abyss.

This is, in a way, business as usual in the People’s Republic of D.C., the bluest of the secession-minded blue precincts in America.

Let’s recap the convoluted goings-on: Mayor Anthony A. Williams, with Council support, made a deal with Major League Baseball. Now, in the 11th hour, with a baseball-imposed Dec.31 deadline looming, Cropp is playing the fiscal sanity card to good effect.

A week ago, she was not on the radar screen. Now, wherever you go across the city, all you hear are chants of, “Lin-da, Lin-da, Lin-da.”

The owners of major league baseball would be calling this latest wrinkle from the city a clown show, only that would be redundant. The notion of D.C. politics is usually sufficient to evoke a snicker.

Ours is the city that works in mysterious ways, which is another way of saying: Welcome back, Marion Barry. Is there anything we can do to ease your transition back into public service?

Alas, Williams is endeavoring to shore up his support. He is all over the city, all over the airwaves, handing out dollars here and there to cover his political back.

You have an objection to his vision along the Anacostia River waterfront?

What is it going to take to make the objection go away?

Dollars, dollars, dollars.

Me, I am easy. I will accept a new vehicle from the mayor. That would eliminate my concerns with the proposed ballpark.

This is the proposal that just keeps on giving.

Just register your dismay, stick out your tin cup and let the good times roll.

Not surprisingly, each time someone sits down to crunch the ballpark numbers, the cost of building it goes up another $50million. No one even has turned the first spade of dirt either. That action alone probably will lead to a cost overrun.

Kevin Costner built a ballpark in a cornfield, and not one time did the subject of cost overruns come up.

Here, all we discuss are cost overruns and the latest temperature reading of Cropp.

It has come to be Cropp’s world, and we just happen to be living in it, in the newly formed United States of Canada, which means, unfortunately, that Alec Baldwin no longer has to make good on his 4-year-old promise to leave the country.

But back to Cropp.

These next two weeks are hers, all Cropp, all the time.

If she cannot be persuaded with a recreation center, perhaps the mayor could appeal to her ego.

Linda W. Cropp Boulevard has a nice ring to it. Her name could replace Half Street, which sounds politically incorrect anyway, as if those employed there do not measure up.

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