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Here's all you need to know about the
Donald Trump thinks it's a great idea.
The team features a quote from the ubiquitous gasbag in a big advertisement touting the football stadium makeover.
They've also attacked auto tycoon Norman Braman, who fought a fierce fight against the Marlins Stadium rip-off, and is poised to do the same against
The Dolphins insist their stadium package isn't nearly as stinky as the one that produced the new baseball park in Little Havana. They say
(In addition to providing shade, a canopy could be slyly designed to block the view of TV cameras in the
The team only plays eight times a year at
And, just like the Marlins, the Dolphins will do anything to prevent a public referendum on the stadium project. They know it's unpopular. They know it would get crushed at the polls.
The team's only hope is to keep the decision with the politicians, whose judgments can be cosmically affected by lobbyists, campaign donations or VIP treatment in a skybox.
That's how the Marlins ballpark got built -- by strenuously avoiding the voters, while avidly courting city and county commissioners.
Supporting that deal was one reason Carlos Alvarez, then Miami-Dade's mayor, got recalled from office. He has since taken up bodybuilding, which is one way to discourage former constituents from hassling him about the stadium.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is trying to distance himself from the Marlins debacle in a PR blitz. He proposes using public dollars to finance 49 percent of the football stadium renovations, compared to the 75 percent public funding of the Marlins' stadium and parking garages.
However, the new baseball facility belongs to the public, at least on paper. Ross privately owns Dolphins stadium.
He wants a
That extra 1 percent would go toward remodeling the football stadium. Ross says he'd commit
Despite anemic attendance, the Dolphins are still making a profit. Yet the team also has a heavy debt load, partially left over from a
Annual debt payments are soon set to jump from about
No matter how you dress it up, Braman is right -- it's just welfare for billionaires. He speaks from experience, having accepted public funds to add stadium skyboxes in Philadelphia back when he owned the
In city after city, tax money has been used to subsidize the sports palaces of wealthy team owners. And one economic study after another shows that the promised windfall never materializes, and that state and local governments end up getting screwed.
Yet the scam never changes. Seriously -- we're supposed to be grateful that the Dolphins want the public to pay for only 49 percent of the stadium upgrade?
Taxpayers are gagging, but guess what? Last week, the Miami-Dade commission voted 9-4 to ask the Legislature to pass a bill launching the
The resolution is nonbinding, though portentous. The county's already sitting on a dog-pile of debt from the baseball fiasco, yet nine gullible commissioners are ready to take on a football subsidy.
For future reference, they are Lynda Bell, Bruno Barreiro, Pepe Diaz, Audrey Edmondson, Sally Heyman, Jean Monestime, Juan Zapata, Dennis Moss and Barbara Jordan, the resolution's sponsor.
If this boondoggle goes through, they could all end up pumping iron at the same gym with ex-mayor Alvarez.
The current mayor, Carlos Gimenez, has been instructed to commence negotiations with the team. Gimenez, who won office because of his staunch opposition to the Marlins project, has vowed not to let the Dolphins obtain a similar deal.
There's only one way to make sure that won't happen: Put it on a ballot.
Then let the Dolphins deploy Trump as their campaign spokesman.
© Tribune Media Services, Inc
World - Another Boondoggle in the Works in Miami | News of the World