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Staff Photo By Olivia Ross / The proposed site for the new Chattanooga Lookouts stadium is seen from Point Park on Lookout Mountain last month.

Two things seem clear in spite of last week's kerfuffle about emails between entrepreneur Weston Wamp and owners of the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Wamp will be elected mayor of Hamilton County this week, and the Southside stadium project he is against moving forward with public financing will be approved.

The big question is: Now what?

Voters in Hamilton County are overwhelmingly Republican, and not enough of them will stay home after supporting primary candidates Matt Hullander or Sabrena Smedley in May, or will vote for 26-year-old Democratic primary winner Matt Adams, for the Republican Wamp not to win in Thursday's county general election.

In between the election and Sept. 1, when Wamp and new county officials will be sworn into office, all the basic steps for approval of the stadium project will occur.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga Lookouts owner calls Wamp claims of extortion 'absurd')

The Hamilton County Industrial Development board voted in favor of plans on July 21. The Chattanooga Industrial Development OK'd the plan Monday. Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, in only his second year in office, backs the plans.

The Hamilton County Commission and the Chattanooga City Council seem poised to approve the proposals on tax increment financing to pay for bonds to build the stadium and to create a sports authority that would own the stadium when they come before them on Aug. 3 and Aug. 9, respectively. Indeed, our reading of the two bodies is that the only hard "no" that is likely would come from Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd, and even he has said he is not opposed to the development in the area.

If all the approvals are in hand before Sept. 1, the opportunities available for Wamp to slow down or make changes in the proposal are unclear. The county commission will have at least six new members, and we have heard not "stop-the-stadium" talk from any of them.

Looking forward, certainly Wamp's previous stadium rhetoric and the emails released last week detailing some of his and his father Zach Wamp's remarks supportive of a stadium eight years ago have the potential to make the new commission wary about trusting him.

Among the emails to Lookouts owners:

> "[T]he Wamps would love to be part of the team that leads a Lookouts move to new land, new stadium and a new future." — Weston Wamp, Aug. 22, 2014

> "Let's do this and move quickly to get leadership support for the relocation of the stadium. Weston and I are pumped and want to be part of it." — Zach Wamp, Aug. 27, 2014

> "I can't stress enough how we believe the pitch here is that the new stadium will lead to massive development, recurring tax revenue and could replace one of the blights of Chattanooga with a jewel." — Weston Wamp, August/ September 2014

The emails also back up the claims of Wamp's push for a job with the Chattanooga Lookouts as an investor/marketing executive rather than the team wanting him to work for it, as he has said publicly.

As to the email claims by team owner Jason Freier of Wamp making racist and sexist remarks about team employees during a January 2015 "brainstorm" session when he was considering becoming an investor, more than three years went by before Frier mentioned the remarks in an email to Wamp's former employer, The Lamp Post Group, in April 2018.

That email came after Wamp had written an op-ed for this page in 2018 against taxpayer funding of a potential stadium, so whether the alleged remarks were true or just vindictiveness on the part of Freier can never be known. Wamp has vehemently denied making such remarks, Lamp Post officials say they don't recall such slurs, and Frier has denied releasing the emails (though admitting others had access to them).

Following the 2015 "brainstorm" session, Freier said "it was clear that we couldn't have someone representing the team who would behave in this fashion," while Wamp said in an email to team owners that "I have spent some time reconsidering whether this is a good fit for me. I'm not sure that it is."

Since it appears Wamp will be elected and the project get the green light, we hope the new mayor will, where possible after his inauguration, seek answers to questions he and many others want to know about the project but will work in good faith with those in the private and public sectors who will be moving the project forward.

The way he does that, the way he works with a new commission about the proposal, may be key to how his tenure will go as county mayor. Wamp, as he himself has admitted, has a tendency toward loquaciousness. If he listens and collaborates as well as he speaks, his tenure — and the Wheland/U.S. Pipe Foundry project — should go well. If he doesn't, he could be in for a rough ride.

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