I’ve slagged on the Marlins’ stadium across a dozen posts by now, so it’s probably time I grant some equal time. Here’s a comment on my post about this from Wednesday, from the guy who probably knows more about this deal than the dudes who are going to vote on it later today, Jorge Costales:
I suspect that this will not change minds, but the type of public funds to be used for the stadium are tourist-based taxes and are specifically designated for entertainment related purposes. So the stadium is competing with arts and convention centers, not the type of infrastructure improvements you note or the police services noted in the comments. In fact, today’s Miami Herald editorial endorsed the stadium deal.
Further, I won’t bore you here [I intend to bore you with other points], but in my blog I point out how favorably the stadium deal looks in comparison to other smaller market team stadium deals. Really, what’s the point of allowing figures related to NY stadiums being used to analyze our situation?
I am for the stadium being built, but am no fan of how Marlins management have publicly portrayed their finances. I concede and believe that the economic arguments typically made for retaining sports teams in a city are exaggerated. Although, I do think that the value of having major league teams in a city with a tourist-based economy is too easily dismissed.
I am practically a lifelong Miamian and grew up in the [called Little Havana] neighborhood where the stadium is to be built–the former [and beloved] Orange Bowl location. But my support is not purely sentimental, although it is that too. It’s not a main argument, but this stadium will revive a neighborhood which could have been expected to decline otherwise–score one for the have-nots.
I believe a case can be made that this stadium deal is one where the local governments are doing the right thing out of necessity, not conviction. While the location is a compromise, I think it will work out beautifully due to the issue of traffic, which I assure you is a close 2nd to rainouts for us Marlin fans. Dolphins stadium [and its 3 exits] has long been a nightmare to get out of when the crowd is above even 20,000—fortunately that has been rare recently.
While some can legitimately wonder if it’s the right location, the recently passed federal stimulus bill unquestionably makes it the right time. Soon state governments will be awash in Federal dollars in search of legitimate public works projects. Many non-legitimate projects will no doubt be funded. The stadium is part of an overall plan designed to improve the type of infrastructure concerns raised in your post. As a result of the stadium process being dragged out for years and unforeseen economic circumstances, this stadium deal now represents a perfectly timed opportunity for Miami to improve in ways which would have been unimaginable even 2 years ago.
Any resentment I may harbor against the type of MLB owners who profit from these type of circumstances, pales in comparison with the good which I believe may come to my city from all these bizarre circumstances coming together.
I will now put away my violin/bongos.
Jorge, by the way, maintains an excellent blog on the subject, so if this stuff interests you, by all means check it out.