More than five years after Miami-Dade County commissioners approved taxpayer funding for Marlins Park, the stadium is still so unpopular it's inspiring political attack ads.
Earlier this month, Miami-Dade residents began receiving colorful flyers plastered with images of the stadium and the smiling face of District 8 commission candidate Daniella Levine Cava, a former activist who was actually adamantly against the stadium.
Back when the stadium deal was being hashed out in the county commission, a policy director for Catalyst Miami -- an organization Levine Cava founded and ran -- spoke against the deal and called it "a feat of ingenuity and creativity."
She says the current ads, funded by a Tampa political action committee, take her former staffer's comment out of context.
"I think they're desperate," Levine Cava said of her opponent's campaign. "And I think they need to try to find something that will resonate with the voters."
On one side of the flyer was the message, superimposed over a photo of a night game at the park: "THANKS FOR DELIVERING MARLINS STADIUM." On the other was an explanation. "Back in 2009, when it appeared the County Commission might oppose the new baseball stadium, Daniella Levine Cava stood up and made sure the funding was approved... Clearly, the stadium's $634 million pricetag is a small price to pay for this jewel of our community." The flyer then instructs the recipient to call Levine Cava and thank her for "helping us get our baseball stadium."
Levine Cava, a first-time candidate with an activist background, is running in an attempt to oust Lynda Bell, commissioner of the district since 2010. The race has become bitter and, according to the Miami Herald, likely the most expensive in county history. In addition to the sarcastic stadium flyers, a video also surfaced attacking Levine Cava for supporting the stadium.
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"The whole thing was designed to confuse," Levine Cava says. "It's so destructive of our democratic process."
The Bell campaign did not respond to messages left by Riptide. Miami-Dade Commission elections are next Tuesday.