My favorite moment in yesterday's nine-hour discussion of the new $2 billion Marlins Stadium came at 9:27 p.m., when Commissioner "Space Cowboy" Javier Souto began defending himself from concerns that Mayor Carlos Alvarez runs him like an Italian train:
"My vote is not for sale, rent, or lease," Souto said. "Whichever way I vote tonight, it's not because anybody told me anything."
He said this as a server dressed in a wacky rainbow-colored shirt walked the dais carrying a tray of Cuban coffee. It was followed by a 9-4 vote in favor of the plan and then a 10-3 vote to name Hunt/Moss as the general contractor. (Guess who played this one on both sides? Joe Martinez. No surprise there.)
So the deal is done. Now we have one company running the
show... and Marlins President David Samson pretty much in control of
the life and death of the local economy.
Although it is clear to me that
taxpayers are getting taken for ride -- note that I mentioned the real $2 billion cost of the stadium, because that's what it will cost to pay back the bonds -- it was high time for this thing to get moving... and hopeful that it passed on a day when the stock market climbed 500 points.
Folks, maybe the end of this damn recession is in sight, and maybe, just maybe, Miami will emerge from all of this for the 2012 baseball season with a new stadium, a full-up downtown, and yet another new personality for the city that constantly remakes itself.