Miami-Dade commissioner opposes soccer park idea

What could have been a brief, routine discussion last week on possibly turning some county-owned land into a soccer field morphed into a rambling, 31-minute outburst from Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto, who spoke about life, death, phony money, Russia, China — even vanilla ice cream.

The parks department asked commissioners to sign off on the general plan for the park, though there is no funding for it yet. Souto, who chairs the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee, jumped in angrily, demanding to know why the matter wasn’t first brought before his committee. When told it would be at some point, he remained far from satisfied.

“If it’s not a matter of life-and-death now, then I say slow down,” Souto said, adding that he was worried about outside actors taking over the project. “All the phony money in the world flows here from Russia, China, you all know that. Is that good or bad? Well, it depends — there are people that, for money, will kill.”

Told to stay on point by Chairman Joe Martinez, Souto began speaking about “the black judge” who created the county’s 13 single-member districts. He also said the park could be as good as vanilla ice cream, and added that the field, on the site of a former landfill, could be contaminated.

Martinez called a point of order, saying the discussion was headed toward a filibuster.

“This is not a filibuster,” Souto retorted.

The item passed 10-1. Souto voted no.