The readers’ forum

Reject public subsidies for stadium owners


The Nov. 25 article Commissioner says he’s open to stadium deal, sent up a trial balloon by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Pepe Diaz, and presumably others, again favoring subsidizing billionaire Stephen Ross in his desire to renovate what was called an “aging” Dolphins Stadium, privately owned by Ross. Yes, this is the same NFL partner and Dolphins owner who only last year sought to obtain hundreds of millions from county and state taxpayers’ coffers, and who, according to Forbes Magazine, is worth about $4.4 billion.

Ross pledged to dig deeper into his pocket, the article says. This could have two meanings, as it is no secret that the Dolphins, Marlins and their ownership gave lots of campaign contributions to commissioners for their reelections. Will there ever come a time when taxpayers (and legislators) are not subjected to these outrageous demands from billionaires and professional sports leagues for public expenditures for their privately owned mega-money businesses? Will our county commissioners, who already have shown they can be bought cheaply, have the courage to refuse public dollars for private sports moguls as the public clearly wants them to do?

According to Diaz: “Do we need a roof? Yes.” Who is “we,” Commissioner Diaz? Certainly not the county or the taxpayers. Studies prove that sporadic Super Bowls are not a panecea for any community, especially for Miami in February — the height of tourist season. After last year’s legislative loss (notwithstanding the tens of millions expended by the Dolphins on lobbyists), in an infantile tantrum, the NFL voted to exclude Miami from consideration for the next few Super Bowls. It wanted to teach us a lesson that the NFL has all the power to harm a community that refuses to bow down to its demands. Were we harmed? Not one bit! Is a roof necessary to hold a Super Bowl? Of course not!

The next Super Bowl is being played in an outdoor stadium in the Meadowlands, N.J., in February, the coldest and probably snowiest month of the year. And, the NFL commissioner was quoted as saying that he believes football should be played in the natural elements.

Duplicitous? Yup!

Could the “we” referred to by Diaz be the NFL/Dolphins and commissioners themselves, each of whom are primary beneficiaries of this proposed taxpayer largess?

We need to sink this trial balloon. Write and phone your commissioner and state legislators and let them know in no uncertain terms that you will not stand for this issue coming up time and time again.

Norman Braman, Miami

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