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Black commissioners cautious

caines | 1/31/2013, 8:09 a.m.

Jobs for Blacks, financing among details Dolphins must resolve

In a non-binding resolution proposed last week by County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, she and her colleagues debated for nearly two hours before agreeing to instruct County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to begin immediate negotiations with the Miami Dolphins in their bid for a $400M stadium makeover. The final vote was 9-4 in favor of the resolution with all four of the Black commissioners supporting, in principal, the Dolphins request for public funding to upgrade Sun Life Stadium. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee gave testimony as to the rationale for supporting the plan for the upgrades, stressing that it was far different from the losing deal with the Marlins that commissioners approved in 2009. With their endorsement, the next decision will rest with the Florida Legislature who are now urged to pass a bill designed to create new state and local subsidies for the aggressive renovation package. But as Jordan reiterates, in order to increase Miami-Dade Countys mainland hotel tax from 6 to 7 percent and for a $3 million-a-year subsidy from the state, the Florida legislature must approve the deal. It will then have to return to the County Commission for a final vote. And with so many details still murky, the commissioners say that a lot of questions will have to be answered before theyre willing to give their stamp of approval.

Whats different this time around?

I supported the Marlins deal but can honestly say that I relied too heavily on the county manager for his view and therefore believed it was a good deal, Jordan said. This time around were going to closely examine the books of the Dolphins to which they, unlike the Marlins, have agreed. The Dolphins have agreed to put money into the deal and to be responsible for any cost overrun expenses. As it relates to ensuring that people in my District and throughout the County get their fair share of jobs, I think its essential that negotiations be made now before the State completes its review of the plan. Remember that as bad as the Marlins deal has been viewed, it has sparked economic development in Little Havana and surrounding areas. This could provide significant opportunities for District 1 in particular and the County in general. County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson says she wants to see how the Mayor will negotiate with the Dolphins since thats his responsibility but added, the Dolphins will have to put in a lot more than theyre proposing. The Dolphins say theyre putting up the majority of the funding but the truth is that its really a 50-50 deal theyre offering, she said. Thats not good enough for me. We got bamboozled by the Marlins and I learned from that experience when I gave them my support. We have plenty of qualified people in our own community with the expertise needed to assess the plan that the Dolphins have on the table. The bottom line is that no money is going to come out of the pockets of the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County.

Promises wont guarantee jobs

Commissioner Dennis Moss says that what he wants to see this time around is a more equitable partnership between the the state, county and the Dolphins which would include realizing revenue at a more realistic threshold. In addition, he says there must be a firm commitment to jobs. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com