After absorbing days of verbal body blows from the likes of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, and folks like our pal Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who believes that the citizens’ right to vote has been usurped, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has fired back.
Specifically, Weatherford claims he never promised to put the stadium renovation bill to a full vote of the House of Representatives, a necessary step toward allowing voters in Miami-Dade County to cast ballots on whether hotel taxes would be increased by one percent.
“At no point during the process were any promises made to hear the Dolphins Stadium bill on the House floor,” Weatherford said in a statement, via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. “It’s no coincidence that we haven’t heard about this so-called commitment until after the bill died.”
So, basically, someone is lying. Either the Dolphins are lying about getting at least four commitments from Weatherford that he’d let the House vote on whether to let the people of Miami-Dade vote on the tax increase, or Weatherford is lying about not making that promise once, or more than once.
Regardless, it’s a bad look for Weatherford, whose justification for not allowing the bill to be voted on comes off as confusing, at best.
“The feedback from Miami-Dade was negative and there were concerns expressed by members on both sides of the aisle,” Weatherford said. “It’s not the fault of the Florida Legislature that Dolphins’ management failed to win legislative approval to force taxpayers to upgrade Sun Life Stadium after paying for a local referendum. Some would call that putting the cart before the horse.”
Yes, some would call it that. But some would also call Weatherford the rear end of a horse for not giving the members of the House a chance to vote on a bill that sailed through the Senate, and that ultimately would have provided to the people of Miami-Dade County the power to make the decision on their own.
Weatherford’s statement didn’t address the team’s suspicion that Weatherford blocked the bill to advance his own personal political aspirations. As we’ve reported, and as Dee essentially confirmed, the team suspects that former Eagles owner Norman Braman is pulling strings by promising Weatherford that support for his future campaigns will be provided by Braman’s constituencies in South Florida.
Regardless of the finger pointing and the agendas and whatever else contributed to the failure of the stadium renovation effort, there was no legitimate reason to keep the House from voting on a bill that would have given the voters the chance to determine the outcome of the renovation plan. Maybe the vote would have failed, but it’s a vote the citizens should have had the right to conduct.