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UPDATED Miami-Dade mayor made Tallahassee trip to lobby for Dolphins' stadium renovation deal

@PatriciaMazzei

The day after Miami-Dade commissioners OK'ed a referendum to help the Miami Dolphins fund a $350 million renovation to Sun Life Stadium, Mayor Carlos Gimenez traveled to Tallahassee.

The county-funded trip had been scheduled before the deal Gimenez negotiated was approved, with the mayor planning to promote Miami-Dade's broader legislative agenda, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. But after commissioners voted for the Dolphins referendum, Gimenez's one-day trip last Thursday turned largely into a "fact-giving" mission to brief legislators on the proposal's fine print, spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.

Trutie said the mayor was not lobbying for votes: "He truly went up there to give the facts."

UPDATE: Gimenez later reiterated that he does not consider his trip "lobbying" because he said he didn't ask lawmakers for their vote.

"I'm here to tell you what the deal is," the mayor said he told legislators. "I'm not here to change your mind." 

Gimenez argued that when he describes the deal as among the best negotiated with sports teams -- which he has noted repeatedly in interviews -- he is providing "facts," not advocacy.

"I do support the deal. I was the guy who negotiated the deal," the mayor said. "I didn't go to Tallahassee to lobby for it."

The referendum is conditioned on legislative approval of Dolphins-backed bills allowing the county to increase the mainland Miami-Dade hotel-tax rate to 7 percent from 6 percent. The Dolphins have also asked for an additional $3 million annual sales-tax subsidy.

Though the legislation moved quickly through committees in the state Capitol, it has slowed down more recently. And the Florida House and Senate versions still differ substantially, a potential problem less than three weeks before the annual lawmaking session ends May 3. The final bills would need to match.

The mayor's schedule shows Gimenez, a Republican in a nonpartisan post, met with House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and with Adam Hollingsworth, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff.

Gimenez also met with the bills' sponsors, Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, R-Hialeah, and Sen. Oscar Braynon II, D-Miami Gardens. And he met with a trio of vocal House opponents from Miami, Democrat José Javier Rodríguez and Republicans Michael Bileca and Carlos Trujillo, and with other local lawmakers: Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, and Hialeah Republicans Sen. René García and Rep. José Oliva.

Oliva voted against the bill in committee, and Flores has said she opposes the legislation.

Comments

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Farm Ted

Now Mayor Gimenez has is named tied to the Dolphin Stadium Bill. He has to lobby for support, if not he and the commissioners that supported the item have wasted political capital.

G-Wizz

Our mayor is a SNAKE!
Notice how he never keeps eye contact with anyone who is interviewing him?
True sign of a Snake.
Time for another recall!

Rafael

If we can increase hotel taxes to raise money for the privately owned Dolfins' stadium with the hopes this will help attract business to South Florida, then why not just use that extra money to improve our schools. All levels of schools, to include college.
An investment in educating a competetive workforce would attract more business. Lets invest as much as we can on the development of our kids and young adults. I believe more diverse industry would relocate here if they felt we had a better prepared potential employee.
Also, we can reduce the amount of student loan debt our students will have.

Rafael

What does the school board have to say about taking tax money for a stadium instead of edication? They should be outraged if they truly cared about educating our future leaders and workforce.
Let the rich owners and players pay for thier own private business.

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