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Dolphins, Weatherford at impasse

2DRK8.Em.56 AP

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?

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20 Responses to “Dolphins, Weatherford at impasse”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: May 8, 2013 8:17 PM

    Well the solution couldn’t be more clear:

    The Dolphins should move to LA and become the LA Dolphins, and the Bucs should move to Miami and become the Miami Bucs.

    Easy transition, and the Tampa Bay fans can just drive a little further for the same team, no biggie. Maybe a public subsidy for a consolation rebate!

  2. contract says: May 8, 2013 8:21 PM

    The people of Miami-Dade DO have the right to make that decision on their own. Every resident has the right to dig into their own pocket to help Stephen Ross finance renovations to his stadium. The tourism industry in Miami-Dade also has the right to increase their rates and share that excess revenue with Stephen Ross if they believe that would improve their profits.

    No one down here in Miami-Dade County needs approval from the Florida legislature to throw money at Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins, nor does there need to be any kind of vote.

  3. thestrategyexpert says: May 8, 2013 9:16 PM

    1-9 on the votes? You’re twisting my arm, fine then make Miami into the LA Bucs, and Tampa Bay into the Miami Dolphins, and Tampa residents get free parking.

  4. bigsuede says: May 8, 2013 9:23 PM

    I am so confused about Florio’s take.

    Bills for taxing and spending in state government come up everyday. You hardly ever have “public votes” on providing benefits to private industry.

    We live in a republic. It is Weatherford’s job as a representative (who was voted fairly by the public) to make decisions how he sees fit. He obviously feels that saying no to the Dolphins is the right decision for the people he represents – good for him.

  5. getitrightflorio says: May 8, 2013 10:03 PM

    Dolphins would be better off in LA. Nobody in Miami wanted to pay for that stadium after the Marlins mess. This is the worst football town in the country. Ross and the dolphins are acting like spoiled brats

  6. nflgreedleague says: May 8, 2013 10:09 PM

    Plenty of people to hate in this one, finding someone to like now there’s your challenge.

  7. jimmymarlinsfan says: May 8, 2013 10:20 PM

    Ignore the previous numbskulls who posted on this article. The phins will eventually get their renovations and they aren’t moving from South Florida.

    I really hope Weatherford visits Miami sometime in the near future. The lying idiot won’t make it out alive

  8. xpensivewinos says: May 8, 2013 10:24 PM

    Ross has to buy his own tickets, in his own stadium for his own team in order for the games not to be blacked out.

    Who exactly is “throwing money” at Ross and the Miami Dolphins?

    If ever a team needed an exorcism, this is the one.

  9. onebucplace says: May 8, 2013 10:26 PM

    If they were not going for state money the issue wouldn’t be in the state house — thus this isn’t an issue of the state taking away control from the local government. Miami-Dade can pass the bill without needing to go through the house except they want state money. It’s not a local issue, it’s a state issue and as a resident of Tampa I have no interest in paying for Dolphin stadium improvements.

  10. basexc9 says: May 8, 2013 10:42 PM

    Abuse of power, no matter how you look at it.

  11. jimmerg31385 says: May 9, 2013 1:33 AM

    I don’t know the specifics of Florida state law, but I assume some portion of the tax on hotels in the Miami area ends up going to the state of florida and not just the miami municipal districts the hotels are located in. If this is true, then there is absolutely no reason for anyone to think only citizens of Miami should get to vote on whether they can redirect some of that money towards building luxury boxes at Sun Life stadium.

    Furthermore, public financing for sports stadiums is completely idiotic and any move that seeks to prevent your average uninformed citizen from making rash decisions they don’t completely comprehend that have long term consequences for everyone else is a move in the right direction.

  12. jasonthemcclain says: May 9, 2013 2:34 AM

    Usually, Mr Florio is spot on with his political and legal analysis. However, on this one, he seems to be confused about our form of government in the United States.

    We live in a constitutional republic. Not a democracy. If this were a democracy, then his question would make sense and Weatherford’s actions would indeed be out of place–and we could even question the validity and legality of them.

    But, we live in a constitutional republic with elected representatives who are informed on the issues and are to be acting [and voting] in our stead.

    Bills die all the time in committee. That is how our form of government works. I would prefer it if our representatives actually read the bills they vote on, but that is a whole other conversation for another time.

    This is a non-issue.

    The only real outrage here is that a billionaire did not get his handout.

    Boo-hoo.

    Stephen Ross is worth over $4.4 Billion. I think he could spare a couple hundred million for upgrades to his team’s stadium if he really wanted to rather than picking the pocket of the citizens of Miami-Dade with their permission via vote.

  13. ebr362 says: May 9, 2013 6:09 AM

    I wonder how hard the Dolphins will campaign against this guy come election time.
    If I were one of these sleazy politicians wanting fair-weatherfords seat I would be sucking up to Ross right about now setting myself up for some of his deep pocket change to campaign on……

  14. jaxdolfan says: May 9, 2013 6:32 AM

    The Marlins stadium was a complete ripoff to the public and it is too soon afterward to ask for public money. …even for the Phins who are much more loved by the public than the Fish.

    Cooler heads will prevail and the money will be provided. Just not yet.

  15. ktex says: May 9, 2013 8:38 AM

    He’s a politician they lie all the time.

    Just take the team to LA and be done with it.

  16. ktex says: May 9, 2013 8:41 AM

    Oh, and as usual Florio hit the nail on the head…great writing.

  17. illiniftw says: May 9, 2013 9:15 AM

    The real problem is politicians making promises to rich people to advance their side of an issue no matter which side you’re on. They should be voting for what the people want, not who can support their next campaign for reelection better

  18. beachsidejames says: May 9, 2013 9:25 AM

    So many cheapskates out there with this one penny hotel tax. I mean unless your a local that lives in a hotel its really not that big of an effect on your wallet. On a 300.00 dollar hotel stay it would be less than five cents. So many possitive things for the community come from having a nice stadium instead of an eyesore stadium.

  19. rexloveshisfeet says: May 9, 2013 9:41 AM

    “thestrategyexpert says: May 8, 2013 8:17 PM

    Well the solution couldn’t be more clear:

    The Dolphins should move to LA and become the LA Dolphins, and the Bucs should move to Miami and become the Miami Bucs.

    Easy transition, and the Tampa Bay fans can just drive a little further for the same team, no biggie. Maybe a public subsidy for a consolation rebate!”

    That is just completely backwards. First off the Jags should move to LA because they cannot sell out games. But if Miami really was to move, than the Jags would move to Miami and keep the conferences the same. Miami cannot move beccause it would really screw up the AFC East.

  20. lambnation says: May 9, 2013 12:38 PM

    Okay for everyone saying that Ross is looking for a hand out…. You do realize that he was willing to pay 70% of ALL costs. Asking tax payers of COMPANIES and HOTELS to help out with ronovations is not as horrible as you all claim. They would make a KILLING with just one super bowl in Miami. Oh btw, they aren’t allowed to get another Super Bowl until the do renovations. So that means that attendance to a old stadium will continue to fall, as well as money for the surrounding companies. All you people that hate on a Millionaire because he made his money are narrow minded. Grow up this was huge for the fins, and you can’t call yourself a fan and bash this franchise every time they try to do something to move in the right direction. FinsUp

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