Dolphins owner Stephen Ross forms PAC to continue stadium fight

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Public funding for renovations to Sun Life Stadium appeared to be dead this spring, but Stephen Ross is trying to breathe new life into the effort.

Stephen Ross is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore, at least when it comes to elected officials standing between the public treasury and a renovated Sun Life Stadium. Ross, who owns the Miami Dolphins, is starting his own political action committee, Florida Jobs First.

Florida voters got a round of mail from Florida Jobs First last week touting the economic benefits of a renovated stadium and luring the Super Bowl back to South Beach, according to Politico.

The real target of Ross' renewed interest in politics is House GOP Speaker Will Weatherford. The fiscal conservative and rising star of state politics made a lifelong enemy in Ross when he killed a bill calling for a referendum that would up the hotel tax to pay for $350 million in stadium renovations.

NFL owners snubbed Miami in the wake of that decision, giving the city's Super Bowl bid to San Francisco and Houston for the 49th and 50th edition of the game. Prior to that, Ross and his acolytes were touting an economic windfall for the community upwards of $500 million. Studies show the impact of the big game to be less than promised.

But Florida Jobs First is a PAC, and the well-heeled foot soldiers of democracy are undaunted by economic realities. Stephen Ross wants a better stadium, and he'll fight to get it. The nonpartisan PAC will start by getting involved in primary races ahead of the 2014 election.

Ross is also throwing his weight behind unpopular Governor Rick Scott, who is expected to seek another term as the GOP candidate. Scott's approval rating is actually up to a less-abysmal 43 percent. Voter approval for using tax dollars on the stadium fix-up is even less popular. Miami-Dade voters, burned by the sweetheart deal the Marlins got, were in the process of voting down stadium subsidies for Ross before the special election was called off.

But, as Florida has proven before, there's no reason to give up just because of unfavorable results in the democratic process. Funding elections could give Ross some powerful allies in his quest for a better stadium.

If only he could find a way around the Patriots.

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