When the House spiked a bill two weeks ago to let the Miami Dolphins raise bed taxes to fund a stadium renovation, team owner Stephen Ross went ballastic, lashing out at Speaker Will Weatherford for taking away Miami voters' chance to have a say on the project.
He shouldn't have bothered. Results released from early voting before the referendum was canceled in Tallahassee show Dade voters roundly defeating the renovation deal.
More than 60,000 ballots were cast by mail or at early voting sites last month, but Tallahassee had to authorize the public vote to raise bed taxes and back other subsidies to fund the $350 million project. When the bill died in the House, the election (which would have happened this week) died with it.
But County Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered those early vote results be released anyway, and they show the Dolphins without much chance to get public support.
Nearly 35,000 votes went against the stadium deal -- about 57 percent of the total cast.
Is it possible the team could have made up the difference at the polls -- in part by throwing millions more into a pro-stadium campaign? Sure, anything's possible. Still, it's hard not to think team spokesman Eric Jotkoff is living in opposite land when he tells the Herald this morning: "These numbers simply validate our belief that had all of Miami-Dade voters had the opportunity to make their voices heard, we are confident the modernization of Sun Life Stadium would have prevailed."
We had 'em right where we wanted 'em!
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The Fins managed to blow almost $10 million on the failed campaign, with $4.8 million going toward funding the election and another $4.5 million going to all those glossy mailers that stuffed your mailboxes last month.
That's just pocket change to a guy like Ross, who's worth $4 billion. Then again, $350 million is pocket change to a guy worth $4 billion, which is probably the exact reason this deal was doomed from the get-go.