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March 20, 2009
"Game 7" for Marlins stadium
More on yesterday's Miami city commission vote in favor of a new $634 million Florida Marlins stadium:
- As expected, commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones cast the tiebreaking vote in favor of the stadium deal, though not before much harsh questioning of city and team officials, most of it geared toward ensuring that her constituents will get a cut of stadium construction jobs. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who'd been one of the opponents of the stadium deal, then cast the deciding vote in a 4-1 decision to waive competitive bidding for the project — a vote that required a four-fifths "supermajority" — saying while it was difficult, "I just don't want to be a cause of a potential cost overrun because I didn't believe in something but three of my commissioners did believe in something."
- The Marlins made one concession to Sarnoff's earlier objections to the deal, agreeing to share a larger percentage of profits with the city if the team is sold in the next nine years: Under the old deal the city's cut began at 18% then dropped each year, under the new one it begins at 70%. The Marlins also chipped in $500,000 a year for local charities — which, of course, gets them a tax break, meaning part of the tab will be paid by the federal government.
- The stadium deal now moves on Monday to the county commission, where, at least according to the Miami Herald, "if Thursday is any indication, Monday at County Hall may not be as easy." The county commissioners have so far remained fairly quiet about which way they're leaning, though some have expressed misgivings about possible shortfalls in taxes slated to pay the county's $297 million share.
Following the votes, ever-quotable team president David Samson declared, "It's just like beating the Cubs in Game 6. We still have to come back and play Game 7." He'll have to hope the county commission starts Kerry Wood.