Dan Snyder: Pedestrian Advocate
I wouldn't normally write about the libel lawsuit filed by Daniel Snyder against the City Paper and Dave McKenna because this blog doesn't cover "sports" right?
The TBD website has an authoritative piece on the Snyder lawsuit, "Dan Snyder lawsuit: A complete analysis."
It makes a good point that one of the reason that Dave McKenna probably pisses Dan Snyder off the most is his writing about Snyder's strategem of using pedestrian safety as a cudgel to limit competition from off-site parking lots for the Redskins Stadium and at a Six Flags Amusement Park in Agawam, Massachusetts (Snyder used to own Six Flags; I'm pretty sure that through all of the company's bankruptcies, he doesn't own it anymore, but he probably still has an economic interest of some sort).
On Aug. 17, 2007, McKenna wrote a column about Agawam, Mass., (pop. 28,000), the home of Six Flags New England. Six Flags, McKenna wrote, raised the price of parking at the amusement park, a move that created an opportunity for some nearby businesses. They began charging Six Flags customers to park in their lots and walk to the park.
Six Flags didn't like that, and it went to the authorities. Under heavy lobbying from Six Flags' top executives, Agawam imposed a ban on the off-site parking practices. The mayor of Agawam, Richard Cohen, was a proponent of the ban and went along with the Six Flags-sponsored logic that it was all in the interests of pedestrian safety.
McKenna somehow caught wind of the deliberations up in Massachusetts and recognized a parallel. The "pedestrian safety" argument was the same ruse that Snyder had used to keep Redskins fans from choosing off-site parking options in the vicinity of FedExField. (That pretext was refuted by the Prince George's County board of appeals in October 2004 — here's a PDF.) Agawamite Michael Palazzi, one of the business owners affected by the Six Flags ban, told the council what he'd learned from the City Paper columnist.
The Agawam establishment wasn't pleased, and the council revoked the ban the following month. Later, Susan Dawson, who ran on an anti-Six Flags platform, was elected Agawam’s mayor.
That's what newspapers are supposed to do, call attention to misrepresentation, subterfuge, and misuse of power, and give help through that attention, to the people who otherwise get screwed.
Dave McKenna and the City Paper deserve our support in their fight against the lawsuit. Hopefully, when the City Paper wins the lawsuit, they will countersue for legal costs.