To hold a referendum on May 14 a week before NFL owners award the 50th and 51st Super Bowls the county would need to legally notice the special election 30 days earlier. Commissioners would first have to hold a special meeting to sign off on the election. Setting that meeting would require support from 7 of 13 commissioners which the Dolphins are expected to have, easily and at least 24 hours notice.
Two sources in County Hall and one close to the talks between Gimenez and the Dolphins said the commission is preparing the steps for a special meeting Tuesday.
All too aware that stadium politics cost his predecessor his job, Gimenez has been treading carefully, extracting concessions from the Dolphins while trying to gauge the popularity of the teams proposal. Gimenez, who loudly opposed the public financing for the Miami Marlins ballpark, landed the mayors job after the recall of Carlos Alvarez, who was ousted in part because of the unpopular Marlins deal.
Gimenez has warned all along that no agreement might result from his talks with the Dolphins, if he doesnt think the terms would benefit the county. He could also bring a proposal to county commissioners but not give it a full-throated endorsement or any support at all.
The Dolphins had hoped to be campaigning for a detailed proposal by now, with polls showing opposition to spending taxes on the stadium. The teams campaign website, MiamiFirst.com, recently posted a recruiting announcement for interns. The Miami First Fellowship seeks students to help in get-out-the-vote efforts.
The proposal has divided Miami-Dade lawmakers, with local representatives emerging as the main critics of legislation that would benefit one of their home countys most high-profile private companies.
Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, led the opposition of the bill before the House Economic Affairs Committee, before the measure passed 10-7.
When we decide we cant expand Medicaid, when we cant expand services to victims of domestic violence, when we cant expand services to the [physically] disabled, he said, I hope you take comfort in the fact that you sent $385 million of your taxpayers dollars to a for-profit, billion-dollar corporation.
But Commissioner Sally Heyman, who was in Tallahassee, asked lawmakers not to stand in the way of a local project Miami-Dade is largely willing to undertake as an economic-development initiative.
We consistently team up with private enterprise, she said, if we can see public good.