Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross directed his venom at Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford last week when the team's bill that would create a public/private partnership for Sun Life Stadium renovations never got voted on by the House of Representatives.
Ross blasted Weatherford last Friday, blaming him for stopping a Miami-Dade election that had already begun, and saying Weatherford "single-handedly put the future of Super Bowls and other big events at risk."
Weatherford, a Republican from the Tampa area, insinuated he didn't bring the bill up on the final day of the Legislative session because the process felt rushed, and stresses he never made any promises to the Dolphins, or any of his peers in public office.
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“At no point during the process were any promises made to hear the Dolphins Stadium bill on the House floor. It's no coincidence that we haven't heard about this so-called commitment until after the bill died," Weatherford said in a statement to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"I understand the disappointment of supporters of the Sun Life Stadium tax bill. Like 700 of the 1100 bills filed this session, it did not have the necessary support for passage," Weatherford continued. "There were serious challenges with the legislation: the feedback from Miami-Dade was negative, and there were concerns expressed by members on both sides of the aisle.
"It's not the fault of the Florida Legislature that Dolphins' management failed to win legislative approval to force taxpayers to upgrade Sun Life Stadium after paying for a local referendum. Some would call that putting the cart before the horse.”
I've consistently supported the push for a public/private partnership in regards to renovating Sun Life Stadium because I feel its the best decision for our local economy considering it will ensure South Florida remains in the regular Super Bowl and National Championship game rotation.
However, I do feel the legislation, and the public vote got rushed, and all for the pipedream of landing one of the two upcoming Super Bowls that be determined in May.
I'd compare what Weatherford did to walking out of the first car dealership you visited when attempting to purchase a new car.
We (South Florida) should be given time, and the opportunity to research what's the best possible partnership between South Florida and the NFL.
However, the flip-side of that decision is there are no guarantees the deal that was on the table wasn't the best deal South Florida will/would receive. That's the gamble we take.
I'm disappointed the vote I made as a Miami-Dade resident didn't count (that's a first), but I'm not surprised about how nasty the political process can get.
I've been part of and covered politics, so I know how the sausage gets made, and it is NOT a pretty process.
The biggest question and concern I have is what comes next?