I am not surprised at the arrogance displayed by the NFL in rejecting Miami as a site for a Super Bowl. It has made it clear that it wants and has come to expect the public to pay for its stadiums all over the country. Like taking candy from a baby, the NFL had a temper tantrum. Unless cities and states have the courage that our Florida Legislature displayed so virtuously this year, to not be extorted into paying hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds to a private business which is raking in billions, the NFL will continue to “reward” those cities that agree to issue public debt and use public funds to pay for things — like football stadiums — that rightfully and morally should be paid for by the NFL itself.
I’m surprised by Super Bowl Host Chairman Rodney Barreto’s uninformed statements about my not objecting to the Performing Arts Center being funded by the public because it is near my dealerships. Being near my dealerships had nothing to do with the PAC’s site or funding. More importantly, the PAC, unlike Sun Life Stadium, is publicly, not privately, owned and this, as everyone who deals in reality knows, is an important distinction. Further, Barreto forgets that I did fight, and lost, in court the county’s PAC debt being assumed and paid by the OMNI Community Redevelopment Agency of up to $25 million per year.
CRA dollars are supposed to be used to help eradicate slum and blight. This slick, “slight of hand” financing allowed the county to pay for the Marlins stadium. That was corporate welfare run amok. I am glad our Legislature had the sense this year to not be extorted — a decision that would have been confirmed at the ballot box, as indicated by preliminary voting results. Hopefully, the county will not get involved further in providing welfare to billionaires.
Norman Braman, Miami