As the Dolphins try to move forward with their efforts to finagle public funding for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, clear battle lines have been drawn between the team and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford regarding the key question of whether Weatherford promised to send the stadium renovation bill to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
The Dolphins have said Weatherford promised on no fewer than four occasions that the full House would vote. Weatherford says no such promise was made.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee has responded to that contention in a quote given to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
“What reason would we have to take this position?” Dee said. “We were assured by him, and by the way, there were people in the room at various points of these four meetings outside of the Dolphins organization and those we pay to help us who heard it as well. I’m sure he’s going to say what he has to say and I can’t tell you what he said to other people, but I can tell you what he said to us. And what he said to us was your bill will be heard. The process will not kill your bill. I can’t deliver votes. But your bill will be heard.”
That continues to be the biggest problem with the way Weatherford handled the situation. The bill made it easily through the Florida Senate. It needed to pass the House in order to allow the citizens of Miami-Dade County to vote on whether the local hotel tax would be increased by one percentage point to help fund the stadium improvements.
Weatherford didn’t give the members of the House a chance to kill the bill. Instead, he did it on his own. Even if he made the Dolphins no promises, why would he stand in the way of giving the citizens a chance to cast their own votes on the issue?