STADIUM RENOVATION

Dolphins vote a message to Tallahassee

 

www.miamidade.gov/district11

It is always difficult taking an unpopular vote. It is especially true when past mistakes cast a dark cloud over the issue. For me, this was not the case when I cast my vote in support of exploring options for the Dolphins stadium.

It is important to understand that this was a first step. Without this vote there can be no meaningful negotiations. If this is not approved in Tallahassee there is no funding mechanism to make this possible. So if our community wishes to engage in a thoughtful conversation on whether investing tourist tax dollars is a worthwhile cause this resolution needed to be approved. Asking for details before any show of support is putting “the cart before the horse.”

Great communities have great infrastructure. These include roads, airports, seaports, utilities, entertainment venues, cultural centers, transit and other assets that enrich a community. If we are honest with ourselves we can admit that we are not great, but to change will require sacrifice and commitment from this community. As chair of the Infrastructure Committee, I’m committed to putting our community on track to have a world-class infrastructure that will give us a competitive edge in the future. Upgrading the Dolphins stadium is part of this process.

Most every decision we make on allocating public dollars benefits private enterprise. We do it with airlines and cruise ships at the airport and seaport, with land owners when we make land use decisions, with property owners when we open new roads or with private developers when we allocate affordable housing dollars. What justifies all these investments is the final public and economic return from these investments to our community.

This vote was also important because we needed to send Tallahassee a message that we want to chart our own course. I served in the Legislature for eight years. I can tell you that Tallahassee is not a friendly place for Miami-Dade’s interests and if the Miami-Dade Commission didn’t show support for this issue there was no way the Legislature would.

Moving forward, I am convinced that unless the final proposal put forth to the County Commission is fair and beneficial to Miami-Dade, the votes will not be there. I will not support a deal whose community return on investment is less than what we invest. I will not be tantalized with the promise of jobs, threats of moving or the other disingenuous reasons that others have offered in the past.

Instead I encourage the mayor and the Dolphins to consider giving the county an equity stake in the stadium and ask for at least a 60 percent investment from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. I would like to see the man who originally built the stadium with his own money, Joe Robbie, be properly honored by bringing his name back and that the county receive a direct and tangible benefit off of every major event held at the stadium.

The Dolphins can also re-commit themselves to Miami-Dade and ensure that the Dolphins organization touches every corner of this community.

A final thought and a point that usually gets left out of the public discourse: The other football stadiums built in Florida used taxpayer dollars and also received the very tax rebate we are now asking for. They don’t come close to getting the number of big games that we attract. Our real competition lies outside of Florida and unless we want to relegate ourselves to second-class status in the sporting world we need to show we are willing to be a player.

Our community finds itself at a fork on the road and it won’t be the last time. We can take the politically convenient route and fall prey to our past mistakes or we can embrace the opportunity to put our community in an elite category. We can start to make the tough choices that will set us on a path to a bright future. This is only a first step but it is a step in the right direction.

Juan C. Zapata represents District 11 on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

  • In My Opinion

    Let’s hear it for the Washington Slurs

    Twenty-four dollars.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Campaign:</span> Gov. Rick Scott held a meeting with senior citizens in Miami last week to hear their concerns about changes in Medicare Advantage.

    SCOTT CAMPAIGN

    Scott campaign ads serve up baloney

    The next governor of Florida could be determined by the success or failure of the Affordable Care Act. Or the perception of its success or failure as shaped by the campaigns of Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.

  •  
WENSKI

    IMMIGRATION

    Putting the immigration debate in human terms

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush has elicited the outrage of the anti-immigrant crowd with his recent comment that crossing illegally into the United States to find work to support one’s family is an “act of love.” And, he is right. As the bishops of the Second Vatican Council taught 50 years ago: “Man, who is the only creature on Earth which God willed for himself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self.”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category