March 3, 2009

Miami mayor delays stadium votes

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez says voting on a controversial new ballpark for the Florida Marlins baseball team should delayed indefinitely.

Saying he was appalled by the behavior of elected officials and the toxic political climate the ballpark issue has created, Alvarez Monday called for an indefinite delay to voting on several stadium issues that were scheduled for Friday, The Miami Herald reported.

A last-minute demand from key Miami City Commission swing vote Michelle Spence-Jones seeking a $500 million redevelopment of Miami's Overtown neighborhood in exchange for a yes vote on the stadium angered the mayor, who appeared exasperated at a news conference.

The political climate has become toxic and we all need to take a breath, Alvarez, one of the stadium's biggest backers, told reporters. Quite frankly, I'm appalled as a citizen of Miami-Dade County, he said, adding that if fellow elected officials keep demanding concessions in exchange for their votes, we will never get any major project done in this community.

Spence-Jones' demand was preceded by request from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who says local government should get up to 100 percent of the profits if Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria sells the team.