Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23: Don't Blame the Ballpark

By Sylvia Gurinsky

South Florida residents, journalists and politicians all get good mileage out of bashing the Florida Marlins' plans for a new ballpark as the root of seemingly all financial evil these days.

One problem: It isn't true.

The critics have been saying that without the ballpark deal, Jackson Memorial Hospital would have enough money to continue operating. They've been saying that without the ballpark deal, Miami International Airport would have enough money for its renovations.

To say that is to ignore the history of both JMH and MIA. That history includes a great deal of mismanagement. In Jackson's case, former hospital president Ira Clark made some missteps after voters approved a half-penny sales tax increase to support the hospital. Its bureaucracy and facilities grew too much, and not always wisely.

And what can be said about Miami International Airport, whose renovations have been going on longer than the Monroe siblings renovated Oliver and Lisa Douglas' farmhouse in the CBS comedy "Green Acres?" The fact that the airport is looking at slot machines and horse racing - HORSE RACING????!!!!!! - to raise money should tell taxpayers all they need to know about how money is managed there.

Both institutions are important to this community. They do need fixing. But don't blame the Marlins' ballpark for their problems.

No comments: