Letters to the Editor

As Miami-Dade County makes deal with Dolphins, minorities must be included

The June 18 article, County deal means new roof for Miami Dolphins stadium . The Miami-Dade County Commission approved a resolution that would provide funding to the Miami Dolphins organization up to $5 million a year for hosting a Super Bowl, and other major events, such as a World Cup game and a national championship game.

These dollars will be realized through the Convention Development Tax (CDT). Payments will be delayed until 2025; credits will begin accumulating in 2016 for a period of 10 years. Mayor Carlos Gimenez made it clear, if there are no CDT dollars available, there will be no payments made to the Dolphins organization.

Also, if the Dolphins organization does not produce major events, there will also be no payments.

Commissioner Jean Monestime, unable to request or require minority participation under the law, because this is a private project — although seeking public dollars as an incentive — said that what happens so often is that projects are 60 percent to 70 percent complete, and minority participation has not been met or the promises kept.

He was assured by Commissioner Barbara Jordan that the Miami Dolphins organization has been very forthright in the negotiations during the past several months, and that a reasonable effort will be made to ensure that the goals set forth in the agreement will be reached, which includes the Dolphins hiring Marsha Jackman of The Vailon Group, to ensure that there is a process in place and that it is working.

As I look across our landscape and see the cranes that dot the skies of Miami-Dade, I must ask: How many members of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce are participating in this renaissance that is taking place? I applaud Commissioners Monestime and Jordan for working with the Miami Dolphins to ensure that the minority community is at the table.

I applaud the Miami Dolphins and Stephen Ross for understanding if our community is to become the world-class community that we are seeking to become, everyone must be able to participate in this amazing transformation that is taking place. Billions of dollars are being spent.

The Miami-Dade Chamber has begun conversations with other major developers who will be transforming the landscape of South Florida. But if these conversations are only met with trepidation instead of the spirit of inclusiveness, opportunity and of embracing the diversity of our business community and our labor pool, we will find ourselves at a crossroad that divides rather than one that embraces the richness of our community.

G. Eric Knowles,

president and CEO,

Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce,