Florida Marlins and NASCAR Own Our New Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke, who lost in a bid to become Miami-Dade mayor, says new top man Carlos Gimenez bent over for the Florida Marlins and the Homestead -Miami Speedway.
Carlos Gimenez has been mayor for barely two weeks and already he's flip-flopping. On the campaign trail, he was the tough-talking candidate who bragged about consistently fighting the Florida Marlins on their $515 million sweetheart stadium deal. But now that he's on top, he slid through the team's last $42 million during the county commission meeting this past July 7.
"There is nothing that makes me gag more than this item," Gimenez told commissioners, adding that the "Marlins have complied with every single thing. There is no way for me to get around it."
That's bullshit. Gimenez -- who made his buddy Genaro "Chip" Iglesias deputy mayor at a $225,000 annual salary while asking county employees to take deep cuts and threatening to close 13 libraries -- consistently said the team lied to him about its finances. That's enough reason to tell owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson that it's time to renegotiate. Gimenez should have said, "Listen up. Go find your $42 million somewhere else" or "Sue me, sucker."
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The new mayor should have put up some sort of fight. Instead, the Marlins threw a 99-mph fastball straight at Gimenez's head during his first week on the job and he ducked.
He also bent over for another major sports organization, the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In front of voters, Gimenez proudly proclaimed he would carefully review any application to allow construction beyond the county's development boundary, which straddles the Everglades. Yet at the same county commission meeting, he didn't raise a peep about approving the speedway's request to build on restricted swampland so NASCAR can add more seats for its multimillion-dollar Sprint Cup Series, which ends at Homestead-Miami every year.
Maybe Homestead real estate developer Wayne Rosen (who raised $30,000 for Gimenez's soft-money political action committee) plans to build those stands, which is why the mayor didn't raise a fuss. He should have. By allowing the speedway to cross the urban development boundary, the county is making it easier for other builders with projects beyond the UDB to make their case.
If he keeps this up, Gimenez is gonna be getting a ton of high colonic treatments from special interests.
Follow Luke on Twitter at: @unclelukereal1.