Some Miamidade Commissioners Dissatisfied Disappointed With Meetings On Marlins Stadium Agreements
Written by Risa Polansky on January 15, 2009
By Risa Polansky
A vote on pending Marlins ballpark agreements expected this month could be pushed to February.
Though no documents have been released, Miami-Dade administrators have begun meeting with commissioners individually on the pacts.
Some have left their powwows dissatisfied.
"Where’s the paperwork?" Commissioner Sally Heyman asked. She’s for months pressed a litany of questions, including what type of surety the contracts will provide and who’s to pony up infrastructure funding.
She met last week with County Manager George Burgess and also received a memo stating that her questions can’t be answered until the agreements are final.
The construction administration, management, non-relocation and assurance agreements were expected last summer.
"I want to work with facts," Ms. Heyman said. "Instead, I got a placating memo."
Commissioner Natacha Seijas in a memo to Mr. Burgess said she left her Dec. 29 meeting with Marlins President David Samson "completely disappointed."
She came armed with concerns regarding hiring local labor to build the project, including labor peace provisions for concession workers and securing green certification for the stadium.
"I was completely disappointed by the responses provided by Samson on all three issues," she wrote.
Katy Sorenson, who opposes using public funds for the $515 million stadium, especially in tight economic times, met with the manager Tuesday.
"Nothing he has said is going to change my vote — I’m still a no," she said.
Barbara Jordan, on the other hand, called her meeting last week "basically a thorough briefing verbally."
She had concerns regarding fire rescue and small business involvement and said "each of my issues were responded to."
The administration may not release the documents until later this month and a vote could come in February, Victoria Mallette, county communications director, said Tuesday. Mr. Burgess was unavailable.
Ms. Mallette confirmed the plan is to allow commissioners two weeks to review the agreements before a vote.
Some commissioners are pushing for it. Some as of Tuesday were unaware a vote could be moved to February.
Ms. Heyman Tuesday sent a memo to Chairman Dennis Moss and the commission asking to postpone a vote until there’s time to review the documents.
"Proceeding with stadium vote(s), on something of such magnitude, obligation and consequences without factual documents would be irresponsible," she wrote.
Ms. Seijas last week sent a memo to Mr. Burgess saying, "It would be unfair to expect any member of the board to be prepared to vote on this tremendous public investment without time to prepare."
Mr. Moss promises "there will be enough time made available for an adequate review… commissioners need to have a couple of weeks to really kind of hone in on this issue."
Commissioners Javier Souto, Rebeca Sosa, Joe Martinez and José "Pepe" Diaz have yet to meet with the administration, commissioners and staffers said.
Carlos Gimenez said he doesn’t want to discuss the stadium with administrators unless he’s reviewed the contracts. "Until I have documents, I don’t really want to meet."
Calls to commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Audrey Edmonson and Dorrin Rolle were not returned Tuesday.