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Stadium News

As Dan reported in his diary, the Senate and House bills for the stadium funding passed through the Senate Finance and Tax Committee and the House Committee on Economic development.  Which is very good news, but before you start high-fiving everyone you see, there is still some work to be done.

The bills now to go to other Senate and House committees, respectively, and will face many detractors.

Two weeks into the session, the House proposal has two committee stops and the Senate bills have one.

House Minority Leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, who wants delegation members to focus on healthcare and education issues instead, reminded fellow lawmakers about the Senate committee stop, warning that the bill may face trouble there.

Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican who chairs the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee, which gets the bill next, could crush the Marlins' chances. If the Marlins get a second subsidy so should the state's eight other professional teams, he says. Each franchise is allowed one. The Marlins already got one to help retrofit its current stadium for baseball.

Not to mention our Miami neighbors are somewhat less than thrilled.

Broward senators also say it's time for Miami-Dade County and Miami officials to settle on a site, preferably closer to the county line. But the two options being considered are in downtown Miami and at the Orange Bowl. The Marlins currently play at Dolphin Stadium, near the county line.

''As unhappy as my constituents are now, when I tell them that I've helped fund something that will be less convenient for them, they will be even less happy,'' said Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller, a Hallandale Beach Democrat, who muttered ''grumble, grumble'' before voting in favor of the Marlins bill.

Oh, like the drive to Portland, OR to see them play will be so much more convenient.  And by the way, last time I looked at the attendance figures, it didn't appear to me that the very good people of Broward county were going to the stadium in droves.  Sure, there are very loyal fans in Broward but they mainly stay at home and the watch the games on television just like the fans in Miami do and the ones in Palm Beach.  The stadium belongs in one of the population centers and for the moment Miami is the largest.

And who knows, if it is located in one of the population centers, someone may just show up to watch a game on a week day.

But enough of my rant, the stadium funding deal is inching closer towards the finish line but it's not there yet.