The first domestic absentee ballots were sent Tuesday for the May 14 referendum asking Miami-Dade voters to approve a subsidized renovation to Sun Life Stadium. And timed with their release was the Miami Dolphins' first campaign flier.
The piece highlights the team's estimate that the $350 million stadium face-lift will create 4,000 jobs and promises the upgrades would attract more Super Bowls, college football championships and international soccer games. "The Miami Dolphins and tourists will pay, not county property taxpayers," the political advertisement says. It's paid for by the team's campaign arm, a political action committee named Friends of Miami First. (More here.)
The mailer does not break down how much public money the stadium would receive -- up to $289 million from the county and $90 million from the state, both over 30 years -- though the it says the Dolphins would repay $159 million. That number comes from the $112 million and the $47 million the team has pledged to refund the county and the state, respectively, at the end of 30 years. That's, of course, if Florida lawmakers sign off on providing the state sales-tax subsidy and allowing Miami-Dade to raise the hotel-tax rate to 7 percent from 6 percent -- which is left unmentioned in the flier.
Dolphins campaign workers have also apparently been making the roundsd at Miami-Dade senior centers, home to reliable, older Hispanic voters who typically cast ballots (usually by mail) in every election.
"Vote sí por la modernización del estadio Sun Life," read a poster standing next to seniors having lunch Tuesday at the Claude and Mildred Pepper Senior Activities Center in Sweetwater. Vote yes for the modernization of Sun Life Stadium.
"Our grassroots supporters have been fanning out across the county speaking to community centers, going door to door, and discussing the benefits of this plan with their friends and neighbors," Miami First spokesman Eric Jotkoff told The Miami Herald in a statement.
--with reporting by El Nuevo Herald staff writer Brenda Medina