A month after the Miami City Commission deadlocked on the Marlins ballpark deal, the scene outside Miami City Hall is much livelier. Supporters and opponents are surrounding the parking lot holding up opposing signs and trying to drown each other out.
A group of roughly 25 activists and community members representing a variety of organizations, calling themselves the Coalition Against Marlins Bailout, held up signs across from city hall reading “No Marlins Bailout,” “This Deal Stinks,” and “Pork in the hot dogs, OK. Pork to the Marlins, No.”
“Unfortunately the taxpayers are on the wrong side of this deal,” said Michael Burnstine, co-founder of the coalition.
The group also includes art collector and businessman Martin Margulies.
“It’s going to put the taxpayers in hock for the next 40 years,” Margulies said.
“Real Jobs, Strong Miami,” the group yelled.
Across the parking lot next to city hall a group of about 50 union carpenters held up a large Marlins sign and shouted that they want jobs now. The group is wearing stickers from Jobs with Justice saying “Public Good from Public Money.”
“We’re just looking for jobs,” said Greg Mikenas of Lake Worth. “Right now we’d be happy with any kind of jobs. I have a newborn, I need work.”
Inside, people crammed into the small commission chambers. The Marlins have been making adjustments to their deal for a $515 million ballpark and $94 million in parking lots to sweeten it for passage. Among the changes the team has agreed to is increasing the percentage of profit the city and county would receive if the team is sold within 10 years. Instead of 18 percent in the first year, the team would provide 70 percent; followed by 60 percent in the second year; 50 percent in the third year and successively less down to 5 percent.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has said he does not plan to sell the team.
It’s almost 9:30 a.m. and the meeting has yet to start.