Ten Questions for Micky

5. If Micky weren't rich and didn't own the Miami Heat, and he were instead a woman in Kendall with a husband and two kids, a woman who had never been to a basketball game and who probably couldn't afford to take the entire family to a game even if he/she wanted to, would he/she vote to build a new arena?

Tickets for Miami Heat games range from $15 for a seat in the nosebleed section of the arena to $29 on the floor. Plus it costs ten dollars just to park, and then of course you get gouged for soft drinks, hot dogs, programs, and souvenirs. Which is why most families in Dade County have never, and will never, attend a Miami Heat game. And which is why Micky the Kendall housewife would have to be out of his/her mind to vote in favor of spending millions on a new arena.

6. Because the public is putting up most of the money for the proposed arena, and because it is being built on public land, why does Micky get to sell the naming rights to the new arena to any company he wants? And more important, why does MIcky get to keep all that money instead of sharing it with the city and the county?

As we saw just a few months ago, Wayne Huizenga sold the naming rights at Joe Robbie Stadium to Fruit of the Loom for $20 million, which promptly renamed the place after a brand of underpants. And though the general public might think Pro Player Stadium is an embarrassing and idiotic name, at least Huizenga was within his rights to make a fast buck since he owns the damn stadium. He bought it with his own money from the Robbie family, which built it in 1987 with their own money. Evidently this concept escapes Micky's grasp.

7. Would any of the Miami Heat dancers go out with me?
Just wondering.
8. Does Micky have a conscience?

I'm also curious about this because Micky has spent more than $900,000 on an advertising campaign to persuade voters that they should build him a new arena. By next week's election that figure will almost certainly climb above one million dollars. Rather than wasting that money on television commercials, why doesn't he spend it on constructing a new arena? At least he could save the public a million bucks.

9. True or False: Micky has spent more money in three weeks on television commercials promoting the idea of a publicly financed new arena than he pledged to donate in the next five years to county parks.

I'll give you a hint: True. When Miami Heat officials were trying to convince the county that they were good and thoughtful corporate neighbors, they said they were willing to offer a gift to the county's parks department, hoping that would allay the concerns of park activists who believed that putting a commercial sports arena on waterfront park land was insulting. When County Commissioner Javier Souto suggested that the Heat should donate at least $500,000 to the parks department, arena supporters gasped in horror. How could the county possibly ask the Heat to donate so much money? Didn't Souto understand that the team was strapped for cash? Finally an agreement was reached and the Heat grudgingly agreed to donate $500,000 to the parks department -- but only if the payments could be spread over five years and only if the arena is actually built. This poor, cash-starved team then turned around and began its nonstop and exceedingly expensive television blitz.

10. Multiple choice: What makes a city world-class?
a. Honest and visionary local politicians who place the needs of the people ahead of the needs of special interests.

b. A proven public-private commitment to see that all children are properly educated and that the health and welfare of underprivileged citizens are protected.

c. A strong and competent police force that is able to provide security to the city's residents.

d. A new waterfront arena.

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