The number of speakers has now reached 70 with a few more to go. The sentiment is on both sides of the stadium deal, although if we’re keeping score, it looks like there might be slightly more supporters, but it’s not an overwhelming majority.
Supporters are mainly speaking in support of the jobs they expect the stadium’s construction to create. They include union officials, out-of-work carpenters, and business leaders. There have been fans of the team expressing their support for the extra benefits the team brings to the community, such as its support of community programs.
One union worker quoted Shakespeare, saying “Shakespeare said the world is a comedy to those who feel but a tragedy to those who think.” He asked the commission “to feel” and vote for the stadium.
Barry Johnson of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce followed in support of the ballpark, saying he couldn’t quote Shakespeare, but slightly butchered Mick Jagger with “Sometimes you can’t get what you want, sometimes you get what you need.”
Opponents are adamant the deal is a waste of taxpayer dollars, even though they know the hotel bed tax dollars planned for the stadium can only be used for tourism-related projects. They believe there are better projects that can be funded with the money – convention center improvements, for example. They say the jobs will be only temporary, and not the kind the community needs. They worry about there being enough hotel bed tax and tying up the dollars for generations.
“Stop this foul deal,” said Denise Perry, director of the Power U Center for Social Change in Miami. “This deal is not good for our community. This group of votes does not represent my community,” she said pointing at Marlins brass, including team owner Jeffrey Loria.