MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The long day of drama stretched into a very long night at Miami City Hall.
This is all over the proposed Major League Soccer stadium project led by David Beckham and Jorge Mas.
Will voters get to decide if anything actually gets built? We still don’t know, and won’t know for at least another six days when commissioners will reconvene.
The five Miami commissioners wrapped up their meeting just before 11 p.m. Thursday.
Their main decision was not to decide anything…yet.
Three of the five city commissioners needed to approve the deal to send it to voters, but they could not get there.
Commissioners Willy Gort, Manolo Reyes and Ken Russell all planned to vote no.
They did not feel they had enough information and were concerned about transparency.
Russell was pushing for a $15 dollar minimum wage for anyone working on the project, a share in profits and making sure the city was not on the hook for any cost of cleaning up the property.
This vote, if and when it happens, will only decide if Miami residents will get to ultimately decide once and for all if the stadium gets built.
Beckham waited patiently in the front row, arriving just after 6 p.m. and sitting through nearly five hours only to leave with no decision being made.
It was a frustrating end to an exhausting day that began over twelve hours before it ended.
Supporters and opponents of a public vote on the Beckham soccer complex going up on the city-owned Melreese Country Club filled the Miami City commission chamber, jammed the Isles, and streamed far out the front door.
“I believe that family values and the values we’ve developed at Melreese, I think that that should always supercede monetary gain,” said Sharif Amastha.
Among opponents of the Beckham plan, PGA pro Eric Compton.
“This is not about golf, this is not about soccer, it’s about big money and greed,” Compton told commissioners.
It was a theme that was repeated over and over again.
That the proposed stadium, hotel, and massive office complex included in the project will only help Beckham and his partner, developer Jorge Mas, get richer.
“A millionaire wants public land or public money to build a stadium or build a project. It has to happen right away. It’s an emergency,” one critic told commissioners in describing the rush to approve the deal.
And many spoke of the First Tee golf program that benefits 15,000 children a year, most at low or no charge.
“Thousands and thousands and thousands of people have been enriched for decades by Melreese,” one speaker said.
Supporters of Beckham’s project said it will enrich even more children.
“As much as the opposition tries to project it is taking away golf, it’s also bringing in an opportunity for other kids to play soccer,” said the young woman describing herself as both a golf and soccer player.
Others said the people should be allowed to vote.
“This vote is not about a soccer stadium or golf, it’s about democracy existing in this country,” a young man said.
And Beckham backers said the referendum should be held, let the voters decide up or down.
“There would be no ambiguity if the whole city votes. If they say no, then it should be no,” a speaker said.
Supporters of Beckham’s ambitious project said it would bring a world class destination to Miami.