By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
LOSER: Tony Ridder
Last month's civic champion is this month's civic goat. It's a sad day in corporate America when a 34-year-old rookie mayor, a disgraced former banker, and a couple of local politicians can negotiate a better deal than the chairman of Knight-Ridder Inc. Maybe that explains why the company's stock isn't performing up to expectations. Ridder should consider tapping into Penelas's talent pool to solve a few of his own problems. Perhaps Echevarria could fly up to Detroit and settle that nasty newspaper strike. Why not let Diaz-Balart take a crack at diversifying the company's portfolio to include a few cash-rich television stations. And see how this sounds: Raul Masvidal, publisher of the Miami Herald.
LOSER: Broward County
What a bunch of sycophantic Dade County wannabes. There is little doubt that Broward is a cultural wasteland with a major inferiority complex. But Dade's latest deal with the Miami Heat only serves to illustrate what a pathetic bunch of losers live just north of us. Earlier this year Broward County commissioners were so excited at the prospect of stealing from Dade County the Florida Panthers, and possibly even the Heat, that they gave Wayne Huizenga every single thing he wanted, including $212 million in taxpayer money to build him an extravagant new arena.
WINNER: Dan Paul
Without Paul's petition drive, which forced the arena issue to a vote, none of the improvements to the deal negotiated by Penelas's team would have been possible. Having the issue on the ballot pressured Arison to make the concessions for which Penelas and others are now taking credit. Paul stood up for the public's right to vote on a matter of great community importance, and backed his words with $70,000 of his own money, which he used to hire a professional petition organizer to collect the 48,000 signatures needed. And why did Paul have to pay? Why didn't the county commissioners place the issue on the ballot themselves? Because James Burke, Gwen Margolis, Dennis Moss, Natacha Millan, and Pedro Reboredo voted down Katy Sorenson's motion to let the people decide the arena's future. In the coming weeks, when the arena deal goes to the county commission for final approval, each of those politicians should thank Paul for his work, and acknowledge their own stupidity and shortsighted handling of this entire affair.
LOSER: City of Miami
Will somebody please explain to me how a city that is $70 million in the hole -- and looking at a long-term financial crisis -- can afford to give away a piece of waterfront property that is probably worth more than $50 million?
LOSER: Dan Paul
While Paul may have won the battle to save taxpayers millions of dollars, he lost the war he feels most passionately about -- the preservation of publicly owned waterfront land. This was always the toughest aspect of Paul's quest. How do you make people see the value of a piece of property that the city shamefully neglected for two decades, and that to the average person appears to be nothing more than a blighted slab of concrete inhabited by junkies and the homeless?
LOSER: Residents of Overtown
Ten years ago, when plans to build the current Miami Arena were first introduced, the people of Overtown were promised that economic development would revive their community as a result of the Heat coming to the neighborhood. The team even promised to build a new youth center in the area. The vote completes the circle of broken promises. The Heat will be moving to the east side of Biscayne Boulevard, and the old arena will sit empty and without much future -- a fitting monument to Overtown.