Dr. Ronald Cox sent the following email and with his permission, here it is:
Well, the only thing that's predictable about this stadium financing mess is its unpredictability. Michelle Spence-Jones' demands are potentially a deal killer that the city and county won't be able to easily resolve. The key question is how much of her "demands" are negotiable, or how much is flexible. But even here, it's the county and city that would both have to renegotiate the terms of the dispersion of the Community Redevelopment funds, as that's the main issue at stake for Spence-Jones.
If this stadium deal gets defeated now, this would be the first time in the history of stadium financing that a general agreement has been passed only to be defeated at the phase of "supplemental agreements" dealing with construction, etc. So Miami would be first in another category, to go along with highest poverty rates, biggest gap between rich and poor, etc.
Another issue that looms larger now: organized labor has only recently come out strongly in opposition to the Marlins, after two years of hoping to get something (anything) in writing from the team that would commit the club to go beyond the meager guarantee of 10% in local jobs from the construction of the stadium. I completely support and understand why the activist organization Jobs with Justice has in the last few days come out against the stadium. They have tired of the Marlins' endless verbal promises, which are worth nothing. They only want reasonable written guarantees that local jobs will come from this project.
I think this may be train wreck waiting to happen. To this point, I've based my analysis of the stadium getting financed on the patterns of stadium deals in other places. Every attempt at stadium financing typcially goes through serious ups and downs, but the Marlins' stadium efforts have gotten ridiculous at this point. The team (and especially David Samson) deserve their share of the blame. Unlike the San Diego Padres, who actually incorporated a broader local development initiative with the construction of their stadium, the Marlins have refused to commit to anything in the way of local development funds or guarantees of local jobs. As a result, they are now getting the requisite blowback from city officials like Spence-Jones and will likely have a hard time getting the needed votes from the county.
My best guess right now, with the Spence-Jones bombshell, is that this stadium plan is on the brink, and probably has only a 50-50 chance of passing.
Dr. Ronald W. Cox
Department of Politics and International Relations
Florida International University Miami, Fl 33199
Dr. Cox easily knows more than me about the stadium situation. And I will say this he has been a heck of a lot more optimistic than I have been in the past. When Dr. Cox starts showing signs of pessimism, I get worried.
Maybe it can all be worked out, maybe not. But this isn't promising.