Norman Braman has found an ally in his opposition to the Miami Dolphins' proposed stadium redo, which would be partly funded by state and county tax dollars.
Ed MacDougall, mayor of Cutler Bay, a town in South Miami-Dade County, revealed at a Miami-Dade League of Cities meeting Thursday night that he plans to spend his own money to set up a political committee to campaign against the Dolphins' efforts, if necessary. He plans to name it Stop the Stadium Madness.
"I'm in favor of a man who has $4.4 billion, according to Forbes Magazine, paying for it himself," MacDougall, a self-described Dolphins fan, said of the team's owner, Stephen Ross.
MacDougall said he and Braman would be traveling to Tallahassee on Friday morning to speak against HB 165 at a Florida House finance and tax subcommittee hearing. Braman, a Miami auto magnate and billionaire himself, has not given MacDougall any money, the mayor said, but the two have met and agreed to partner in their opposition.
MacDougall, a Republican in a nonpartisan post, urged other mayors to join them, saying some 20 mayors have told him privately that they too think the stadium redo -- funded in part by a state sales-tax subsidy and by a hike in mainland Miami-Dade hotel taxes -- could mean less public money available for their cities.
"You don't work for anyone else but the people that you serve," he said. "We need sidewalks. Our streets, they need work."
At the League of Cities meeting, held at the Miami Shores Country Club, MacDougall spoke after Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, who said he, too, is against "stadium madness." Dee, who has been reticent to mention the Miami Marlins, whose largely publicly funded stadium may kill the Dolphins' plan in a potential referendum, according to a poll released this week.
"We've been accused by the Marlins of launching a smear campaign against them, which was quite amusing," Dee said. "We have learned from their campaign, which is, whatever they did, we'll do the opposite."