On Second Thought, Let's Live A Little and Spend A Few Billion

Yesterday, Miami's civic leaders were the portrait of financial restraint, soberly deferring a multibillion-dollar plan to redevelop acres of downtown real estate in the midst of a national economy melting down like Lou Pinella after the inevitable Cubs collapse in the playoffs.

This morning, they remembered that they govern Miami and not somewhere like, all responsible and stuff.

Mayor Manny Diaz and others publicly danced a little jig when a Supreme Court ruling cleared one of the last hurdles for another multibillion development plan, which includes a spankin' new $515 million stadium for the Marlins, a $1 billion port tunnel, a streetcar system and a new park at Bicentennial.

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''I think if we all retrench and go home and put our money in a shoebox under our bed, then I think you make a bad situation -- financially, economically -- you make a bad situation much worse,'' the mayor told the Herald after reading the Court's decision.

Riptide is all about getting the Marlins a new home -- and lord knows they need it. Port tunnels and streetcars sound pretty sweet, too.

But when the Herald's front-page story about the "megaplan" is wedged next to an alarming, glowing-red graphic detailing the global financial catastrophe in motion, spending billions of public dollars on anything is going to be a tough sell.

-- Tim Elfrink

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