The Enigma

The new chairman of the Miami-Dade delegation sets his own course in Tallahassee

And these are only a fraction of the proposed cuts.

Barreiro says projects such as a new stadium for the Florida Marlins are going to face a tough battle. And, he notes, time is running out. He predicts that if a site isn't selected and the financing worked out by mid-March, the legislature won't even hear the issue. "I don't see where we will have time to make this happen," he admits. "We are waiting for the city and the county to get their act together."

Barreiro says he still is open to building a new stadium, though he has problems with some of the financing schemes he's heard discussed so far, particularly the idea of using convention development tax -- the so-called bed tax charged to tourists who stay in area hotels -- since that money is supposed to be used to promote the county's tourism and convention industry.

State Rep. Gus Barreiro represents one of the most diverse districts in the state
State Rep. Gus Barreiro represents one of the most diverse districts in the state

As for another controversial topic, Barreiro says he will support Rep. Carlos Lacasa's plan to reorganize Miami-Dade County government, creating what is being called a "strong mayor" position. His main concern is to "make sure it is not a vehicle for the current mayor to run again for mayor." Under term limits Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas is unable to run for another term in office as the county's executive mayor. But under a strong mayor form of government, Penelas would be free to run again in 2004.

"I know there will be amendments to that bill to deal with that issue," says Barreiro.

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