[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Quick Links

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quick Links

- Herald sports columnist Linda Robertson opines against public funding for the Marlins ballpark.

Key excerpts from her column:
(Norman) Braman is not arguing that the tourist-tax money going to the stadium could be used instead on our drowning school system. No one should be confused about that.

The Bicentennial Park remake, Overtown redevelopment, port tunnel, trolley and Arsht Center debt payoff have merit. The stadium sticks out like a sore thumb.

Times are hard, yet baseball is awash in cash. People are losing their homes, yet the Marlins want the people's money to build a new one.

Repeat the mantra (ed: No public funding of homes for privately owned sports franchises).

Perhaps you're not confused, Linda, but many people are mixing apples and oranges in order to make their case against public funding for the ballpark, as many recent comments and polls suggest. Also, how in the world can you say the public money to pay off the Arsht Center's debt "has merit", while tourist-tax money for a ballpark is "bad for the city"? That's a huge contradiction and smacks of elitism (ironically coming from a sports columnist).

My "counter-mantra": What's good for the arts can also be good for professional sports franchises which also represent our community.

- Miami-Dade County commissioners are ready to ask voters once again to give them a raise.

For the record, I am actually in favor of giving commissioners a raise from the $6,000 or $7,000 salary they currently make. I'm also in favor of term limits. Still, when you consider that many, if not most, of these commissioners are against the Miami Megaplan, they sure have tons of nerve to ask for voters to give them a raise. You just can't make this stuff up!

- The state puts the kibosh on development outside Miami-Dade's Urban Development Boundary.


Blogger Steven said...

Robert - I am both a sports fan and a regular patron of the Arsht Center and I disagree with your comparison for three reasons:

1) This is the wrong time - A couple of years ago, we were awash in money and right now we are looking into the abyss. If the stadium issue came up a few years ago, my point of view might be different.

2) We are already stuck with the Arsht Center and it will go bust without our public financial support. Arts centers virtually never make money and having this admittedly ugly PAC go bust would be a huge black eye on Miami. Whoever was the jackass who approved this to begin with is at fault and we are stuck with it.

3) The Marlins have completely screwed up management and that is the reason for their crappy attendance. If they moved team to another city they would have the same problem because they know nothing about marketing and that won't change in the OB site or the current site. It is easy for management to blame the customers. I am all for the city giving them the land and maybe making some concessions on taxes and maybe improving the roads or building a parking lot but the current deal suck for everyone but the Marlins.

As a final point, look at how well the Devil Rays have done building their franchise with a team that is usually in the cellar of the division (this year is something exceptional).

12:22 PM, July 19, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...


Addressing your points:

1) Is there ever a "right" time? I don't know, I doubt it. They couldn't broker a stadium deal in 2004 in the wake of the World Series championship and when tax revenue was ramping upwards, mainly because of excessive posturing from both sides (Marlins and city/county). The Marlins and the locals are in agreement, and frankly we have to seize on opportunities when they arise. This is one of them.

2) I can't disagree with you more about the attractiveness of the PAC. Perhaps the outside is nothing special, but the inside of the Opera House is downright stunning in my humble opinion. The fact is, facilities that benefit the public and add to the fabric of our community deserve our support, which means financially as well as in principle. This includes ballparks, museums, and PACs. Is this ballpark deal the best one? Maybe not, but under the circumstances and based on our track record, it's pretty good.

3) I agree, the Marlins management (except for the most important piece, Larry Beinfest) is screwed up. I have been very critical of Loria and Samson in the past. However, I think we have to look long-term here. As a baseball fan and fan of our community, there's no doubt in my mind that a new stadium would finally provide the commitment that ownership has failed to prove to the community. Is it the best location? No, but it's nowhere near as bad as many claim.

The current way of doing business in the county is terribly wrong. For once, there's a visionary plan that, while risky, is bold and aims to advance our community forward, not hang on to the status quo. Leadership means taking chances and having a bit of faith, and if we as a community aren't capable of sharing a vision and holding people accountable for its success, then we simply deserve every failure that comes around.

2:08 PM, July 19, 2008  

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