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Stadium News - Sort of

And the trial continues with George Burgess taking the stand.

Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess admitted in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Wednesday he has never asked for or seen the Florida Marlins' financial statements or any proof the team can meet its obligations to finance a $515 million ballpark.

During questioning by Bob Martinez, attorney for auto dealer Norman Braman, who is suing the county, city of Miami and the Marlins over a city-county plan to finance the ballpark and other projects, Burgess acknowledged the team will receive all the revenue in a new ballpark from the sale of tickets, concessions, advertising and naming and broadcast rights.

"That is really no different than the vast vast majority of stadiums in other cities," Burgess said.


Burgess said the team is contractually obligated to meet the terms of a ballpark financing agreement, including covering cost overruns and paying to operate and insure the venue. He said the county, city and team are negotiating the finer points of construction, assurance and nonrelocation agreements that will further define those terms.

Burgess is counting on the assurances of the Marlins and MLB that they will be able to finance their part of the agreement.  And I can't really blame him since MLB could fund the construction by themselves -- they won't, but they could.  And if need be they will probably give the Marlins another sweetheart loan deal.

The Marlins being able to cover their part of the agreement, isn't a problem.

A really nifty poll was conducted that showed 57 percent of respondents think a new ballpark for the Marlins is a bad investment.  But take heart the ballpark did better than the Bicentennial Park (66 percent thinking it's a bad investment) and the Tunnel (which came in a 60 percent thinking it's a bad investment).

Of course the poll questions weren't presented in the media and yes, the poll questions matter.  But the guy who paid for the poll admitted this:

Bendixen noted that the poll didn't ask voters' opinions of the projects, just the funding mechanism. ``Voters aren't saying they don't like the ideas, they don't think these projects are good investments for tax money.''

Which led an economist to say this:

'People are saying this is not the time to buy a new car, a new flat-screen TV so it would seem reasonable now for them to think, `This is not the time for the public sector to do these things as well,' '' said David Denslow, a University of Florida economist.

OMG!  While I'm not that much of a Keynesian myself and I do believe in microeconomics underlying principles when trying to describe behavior in  macroeconomics, however, that quote has to be a joke.  It has been know for years, nay decades, that governments do not behave the same way as households.  And should not.

One of the principles is that governments will, and in some cases are obliged to, spend money during tough economic times in order to try and stimulate the economy or at least keep as many members of the society gainfully employed as possible.

If the government cuts back also, it makes things that much worse.  Of course there should be prudence when making the spending decisions, as to where the money can do the most good, but you don't turn the faucet off.  I don't know what Dr. Denslow's speciality is at the University of Florida but I hope it isn't macroeconomics.

What does this have to do with baseball?  Well, uh............Go Marlins!