Beckham okays voter referendum on Miami MLS stadium, wherever it is

It looks like David Beckham’s MLS stadium plan, wherever the hell it ends up, will be subject to the approval of Miami voters:

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said the city will require a referendum if Beckham’s group settles on filling and then building on a city-owned deep-water basin, known as the Florida East Coast Railway slip, along Biscayne Boulevard.

And, in a new wrinkle, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Wednesday that the county could also seek voter approval if Miami Beckham United asks to build on PortMiami’s southwest corner — even though a referendum would not be required for the county-owned property…

“The ultimate decision to build a stadium in downtown Miami should rest with voters,” John Alschuler, Beckham’s real-estate adviser, said in a statement. “If Miami Beckham United selects the FEC slip as the preferred stadium site, we will seek and fully support a voter referendum.”

Democracy! That’s good!

A voter referendum could take place as early as August, though November is a more likely possibility. One hopes that the run-up to the election will involve a serious discussion of the pros and cons of a soccer stadium on the Miami waterfront, and not just one side shouting “The Marlins deal sucked!” and the other “Soccer is a beautiful thing and will rain jobs from the sky!” — ah, forget it, we all know what’s going to happen. Maybe we can at least hope, though, that the debates end up being between Wild-Eyed Religious Guy Who Dressed In The Dark, Snuffy Smith, Tim McCarver, and Young Dan Aykroyd, like this one.

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7 comments on “Beckham okays voter referendum on Miami MLS stadium, wherever it is

  1. I am a big fan of MLS but this Miami team has a very small margin of success. The largest soccer supporters group, Flight 19, who follow the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers said they will NOT support the MLS team if it is Miami based and will continue supporting their local club of 35 years (non consecutive). Of course they are pursuing their own new park for their 4,000 plus faithful fans but that’s another story. With the fan base set in the Ft. Lauderdale area and Miami Fusion FC’s previous failure this should not require much though but flashiness over practicality is Beckhams M.O.

  2. This is going to turn into a chance for tax payers to revenge the Marlin deal. Even though this deal is the opposite of average baseball bailout. The crooks at Royal Caribbean just keep yelling Marlins to gain support.

  3. Rumors are that while all the HATE is being aimed on Beckham, who BTW wants to pay for construction and rent, the Miami Heat are on verge of getting a ton of new subsidies. Just in time for Heat owner to join fight against those awful soccer Marlins.

  4. Well, Gimenez has agreed to the Heat lease revision, just as he agreed to the initial Beckham deal. County commission still needs to sign off:

  5. I’m very curious what the referendum language will say about the city’s financial obligations. I’m guessing we’ll know if the city is in the bag for Beckham if they obscure & minimize the claim this project& the team will have on the city treasury

  6. Sara:

    I agree. It remains to be seen what will happen re: fan support, but the saws being thrown about regarding the huge community of soccer fans in the region sound very much like the same arguments used to make baseball a “no brainer” in south Florida two decades ago.

    Yes, there are a large number of people who have cultural attachments to both soccer and baseball that go back decades (even generations) in the region. However, those attachments aren’t to MLS or MLB clubs, but to the clubs these fans grew up watching.

    As noted, it remains to be seen if some (or any) of those locals will transfer their affections to a new club. Eventually, the Latino community embraced the Dodgers in Los Angeles, of course. But it didn’t happen quickly given the social disaster that was the expropriation of the Chavez Ravine lands.

    MLB in Miami has had 20 years to make inroads in fan support and at least so far, they don’t appear to be making any real progress. Even accounting for the Loria factor, that isn’t a good sign.

  7. Could beckham being doing this any better. Voter approval paying fair market rent and privately funding the stadium. Well done

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