Development authority vote for chairman ends in a tie
By Paola Iuspa
With one of nine members absent, the Community Development Authority meeting to find a new home for the Florida Marlins baseball team failed last week to choose a chairman after voting resulted in a tie.
Richard Fain of Royal Caribbean faced off against Jose Cancela of Radio Unica.
Mr. Fain works in an industry that would have been hit hard by a failed proposal to tax cruise passengers to finance a new stadium. The legislature's refusal to pass that measure led Gov. Jeb Bush to create the authority.
Mr. Cancela is immediate past chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, whose sports council vowed early this year to work with the Marlins to find funding to build a ballpark downtown.
The board will meet at 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at the federal building to vote again on a chairman and vice chairman.
Also last week, County Manager Merrett Stierheim proposed that the group invite John Henry, the Marlins' owner, to attend to present his views.
The state-created authority's task includes generating local support for the development of projects, including professional sports facilities, and serving as an intermediary for negotiations among private interests, community organizations and governmental bodies in connection to those projects.
The authority has the power to borrow money or issue bonds to fund development.
If the board whose members are to hold office for four years with no compensation recommends a source of funding that calls for creating new taxes, increasing an existing tax or assessing taxpayers, the county would hold a referendum.
Although the group will handle many projects, it has been charged for the first two years with working only on the Marlins ballpark to be built somewhere in the county.
Two board members are appointed by the governor, three by county commissioners, one by the county mayor, two by City of Miami commissioners and one by the City of Miami's mayor.