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Miami-Dade commissioner proposes gambling straw poll, but idea is tabled for now

Joe Martinez, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, asked his colleagues on Wednesday to support putting a non-binding gambling referendum on the January primary ballot.

But his idea did not get a vote, after Commissioner Barbara Jordan invoked a rule that allows commissioners to table certain agenda items that they have had little time to review.

Martinez wanted to ask Miami-Dade voters, "Do you support the presence of destination resort casinos in Miami-Dade County?" The issue matters because the state Legislature is gearing up to discuss bills that would allow three mega-casino sites in Miami-Dade and Broward. The issue exploded after Malaysian giant Genting bought The Miami Herald's downtown building and surrounding properties.

Jordan told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 that she is against putting the question on the January ballot because it is not a general election and will likely draw more Republicans to vote, since there is no contested Democratic presidential primary.

In a news release, Martinez issued this statement:

"Our legislature has introduced a bill that would allow destination resort casinos in our community. We have all heard from those interested in opening a casino but as an elected representative of this community, I want to hear from our constituents. For that reason, I proposed this non-binding question to go forward in the January election along with the Home Rule Charter questions so that the voters can tell us if they want Miami to become a resort casino destination."

Watch video of the meeting here.


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This constituent says Lets GO Gambling! Its already here in south florida and done poorly. I wouldn't step foot into those junky seminole casinos with their $1.50 hotdogs. Lets put up a resort that makes miami shine, brings in new tourist revenue and creates jobs!

Denny Wood

Anytime commissioners or elected officials keep something off the ballot is simply wrong. Straw votes are just that. In this election citizens have a stake in such a vote. The unemployed will vote for jobs, jobs. Such jobs are not being created by our elected officials. If gambling brings construction jobs, let the people vote. If gambling facilities after being built creates jobs let the people vote. Commissioners need to be reminded that in 1988 it was the people who voted for the lottery. Republicans have every right to vote their feelings. Like independents and NPA's. Jordan and the commission are just flat out wrong. Put it on the ballot and let the general public send their message to the State legislature.

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