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The Washington area is merely a proving ground for Dan Snyder as he puts together his plan for a world takeover.
To wit: The goings on in Agawam, Mass., home of Six Flags New England. Last year, Six Flags got the city council there to prohibit visitors to the park from parking anywhere but in the lots owned by his amusement park chain, which cost $15-$30 per car. Company lobbyists alleged the safety of pedestrians was all they cared about.
The parking ban got tossed, however, when the people of Agawam learned that the safety argument was made up — there were no reports of pedestrian problems on the streets surrounding the park in at least the last 20 years — and that Snyder, the chairman of the Six Flags board, had used an equally bogus safety excuse in 2000 when he convinced Prince George’s County officials to ban pedestrians from walking into FedExField on game days.
Before the PG ban got tossed in 2004, drivers were forced to park in Snyder’s lots, which have been among the costliest in the NFL since he bought the Redskins.
Then the four-term incumbent mayor of Agawam, Richard Cohen, was thrown out of office in November, after a political novice made the Six Flags parking situation the focus of the campaign.
But, Snyder’s at it again. Yesterday, Agawam’s building inspector slapped a stop work order on Six Flags New England after learning that the park had started building a massive new indoor rollercoaster, to be called Dark Knight, without bothering to wait for the city to approve the construction project.
“I was floored; I’ll be quite honest with you,” Agawam Zoning Board of Appeals member Gary E. Suffriti told the local newspaper, The Republican, after discovering the illicit work at Snyder’s park. “This building has been being built. It had to have been being built for a couple of months.”
Six Flags response to the Republican was classic: “I can assure you that safety is our number one priority,” said Six Flags spokesperson Melissa Pinkerton after the stop work order was issued.
Snyder’s top priority seems to be proving that rules apply only to commoners: He didn’t wait for permission from the National Park Service before chopping down trees on his Potomac River-side property in Montgomery County, did he? And he got away with that, didn’t he?
So why shouldn’t he think Six Flags will get away with this, too?
“We are still aiming for the Memorial Day weekend opening [for the indoor coaster],” said Pinkerton.
Keep the dial right here for all the breaking news in Snyder’s Six Flags soap opera.