Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 3: Who Can Blame Alvarez?

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Can anyone blame Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez?

Frustrated with the City of Miami's latest shenanigans in the Florida Marlins' ballpark deal, Alvarez has instructed that no further county action will take place until the city sorts itself out.

Miami, unfortunately, has a history of this sort of thing. Its haggling over the Orange Bowl prompted Miami Dolphins' owner Joe Robbie to get out and go bankrupt building his own stadium during the 1980s. One glance at articles about the Marlins' stadium fight from the days when John Henry owned the team shows similar hijinks from city commissioners that are taking place now. The Baltimore Orioles and University of Miami football Hurricanes have also been affected by this sort of thing. Is it something in the water at Dinner Key?

Aside from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's last-minute chess move in the commission meeting that was supposed to decide the Marlins' fate from the city's perspective, there is the incredible disappearing commissioner, Michelle Spence-Jones, who could have taken five minutes from her maternity leave to call in her vote at that commission meeting but didn't, and is now demanding $500 million for Overtown for a "yes" vote, according to The Miami Herald. What courage!

If city commissioners really feel that badly about a deal, here's a suggestion: Go back to the beginning, put it on the ballot and let voters decide. As for the Marlins, they should table negotiations until the economy improves and then see if there are any other U.S. cities interested in giving the welcome that, after 15 years of stadium futility, the team deserves.

Whether one is a baseball fan or not, South Florida has had enough of this soap opera.

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