Friday, March 07, 2008

So That's Why They Got Rid of Josh Beckett

Former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman is suing the city of Miami to stop a 3 billion dollar public works deal that includes a new stadium for the baseball Marlins.

Braman is suing to stop Miami's so-called "global agreement" in its tracks, contending it was illegally hatched in secret and improperly uses money intended to cure urban blight and help poor people. Braman wants voters to decide projects of such magnitude, rather than politicians.

"Taxpayers in this town have been ripped off constantly over the years," Braman said in a recent interview in his downtown Miami office.

"It's time that as citizens of this community that we say enough is enough -- that we're not going to put up with this any more," he added.

The 37,000-seat, retractable-roof Marlins stadium -- along with a 6,000-space parking garage and possibly a future adjacent soccer stadium where the soon-to-be-razed Orange Bowl now sits -- is only one part of the grand agreement between the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County.

It also envisions a $1 billion tunnel under Biscayne Bay for trucks rumbling to and from the Port of Miami, a passenger trolley line serving the downtown area, additional money for a just-opened performing arts center with budget problems and work on a park that will become home to several Miami museums.

It's an interesting convergence of politics and sports - and not just because of the debate over whether cities should build stadiums with public money (I don't think they should). I'd be suing too, if I lived in Miami. Why on earth should the taxpayers shell out billions of dollars to a team that literally auctions off all it's good players a couple times a decade?


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