- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

The top two District government officials who were supposed to meet with Major League Baseball's relocation committee tomorrow in Phoenix to present the proposal for a new ballpark to bring the Montreal Expos to the city will not be making the trip because of the impending war with Iraq and the need to deal with city affairs.
District Mayor Anthony A. Williams and D.C. Council chairman Linda Cropp both expected to join the D.C. delegation that is scheduled to meet tomorrow afternoon with members of the committee formed by baseball to determine where to relocate the Expos.
But the expected war against Iraq scuttled those plans. However, the District is still going ahead with plans to send a group to make its stadium financing presentation.
"The events of the day and uncertainty of the situation obviously mandated their staying back," said Bobby Goldwater, executive director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. "But we will do our best to represent them and the District. The message we will deliver very much remains the same."
Besides Goldwater, two council members Harold Brazil, chairman of the council's economic development committee, and Jack Evans, chairman of the council's finance committee will be meeting with baseball officials, as well as Eric Price, deputy mayor for planning and economic development; Steve Green, special assistant in the city's department of planning and economic development; John Richardson, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission; and commission member Bill Hall.
On the other side of the river, it was unclear last night if Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Northern Virginia Congressman Tom Davis, who were both scheduled to lead the Northern Virginia delegation, would be making the trip. Fairfax County Supervisor Michael Frey, who also chairs the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority, was scheduled to meet with baseball officials in Phoenix, as well as Gabe Paul, authority executive director, and several consultants when Virginia is scheduled to make its presentation Friday.
Gov. Warner told reporters yesterday that he intended to go to Friday's meeting unless "hostilities break out" before then.
The other government group scheduled to attend the Phoenix meetings will be from Portland, Ore., and that group, led by Mayor Vera Katz, will be the first ones to meet with the relocation committee tomorrow morning at Bank One Ballpark, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the venue selected by baseball for these financing presentations.
This will be the second time government officials will meet with the relocation committee, chaired by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but these meetings are intended for each jurisdiction to make its best pitch for stadium financing. The committee hopes to make a recommendation by mid-July about where to relocate the Expos, a franchise currently owned and operated by the 29 other major-league owners.

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