Michael Martino – More Questions on the Stadium Proposal

Editor’s note:A full week ago, a letter with detailed questions from Mr. Martino was delivered to the City Manager and other staff and all members of the City Council. As of this date, he has received no answer.

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410
November 12, 2013


It appears as though the Palm Beach Gardens $100,000,000 stadium complex issue is not going to disappear any time soon. The November 7th City Council meeting did little to mitigate the lingering shadows that have been cast across the process that is being promulgated by the City to promote this stadium complex.

The owner of a local flooring business, Michael Martino was a member of the City Council from 1974-1993 and served several terms as Mayor. He also was President of the Palm Beach County League of Cities from 1991 to 1993.

For almost one year the City has tried to keep this stadium complex in the shadows and a secret. City officials have withheld information from the public hiding behind a debatable state statute that they claim gives them a right to “confidentiality”. A baseball team owner who is instigating for this stadium complex to be located at a site in a residential neighborhood says that the stadium deal is “95%” complete and “need only a final vote of the Palm Beach Gardens City Council”. Yet the residents of our City know little to nothing about how we got here or why.

It is a fact that the City has held one public presentation on October 16th to market this stadium complex a full year or so after the City was initially contacted. Also, the City has hired a public relations firm at the cost of $60,000 to be an advocate for the preferred site for this stadium complex which is in the middle of residential neighborhoods. However, what is troubling and not publicly clear is if either of these two instances was authorized by the City Council.

To this date the City Council has not scheduled an advertised meeting at City Hall to discuss their policy intentions with the City’s residents concerning the stadium complex. In fact, highlighted in a recent City brochure sent to the attendees of the October 16th presentation the City has publicly advised that it has no future public meetings planned. This pronouncement was reinforced by a public statement issued by the City Manager through an assistant. I ask why?

Though not advertised as an agenda item the stadium complex issue enticed a standing room only crowd to the November 7th City Council meeting. The meeting permitted three minute public comments which allowed concerned business representatives and residents to express their pro and con concerns about the stadium complex proposal. The discourse by all was thoughtful, dignified, respectful, and blended with the right tenors of emotion. But when the City Council did not include itself in the commentary the process became merely perfunctory.

After all comments from the public were heard the Mayor and City Council members each offered remarks. The Mayor spoke to the economics and financial aspects of the stadium complex essentially saying they need to be examined and how the process needed two or three more months to unfold. Those observations provoke simple questions. After 18 months why doesn’t the City Council know about the financial and economic aspects of this stadium complex? How was a decision made to present this $100,000,000 stadium complex as a City initiative without necessary financial information being part of the decision process? Why spend $60,000 to hire a public relations firm to market a stadium complex to the residents without knowing how or if the City could afford the stadium complex?

In lieu of the proposed site which is in the middle of residential neighborhoods, a resident offered alternative City site locations for the stadium complex. A council member dismissed the alternatives as out of hand because the suggestions were too far west in the City, they would produce urban sprawl, and present traffic problems. However, that council person did not offer any suggestions to counter the proposed site in the middle of residential neighborhoods. My questions to that council member are… Does not the current site endanger the quality of life of the eastern area of our City and introduce “neighborhood sprawl”? Will not the traffic impacts be just as detrimental to the eastern area of the City and probably more so?

Another council member sermonized to the residents that the only place they were getting their information from is the newspapers. Should not that lecture be given to the City officials who claim “confidentiality”? Why didn’t that council member offer answers to the many questions the residents have presented so we would be better educated?

A council member spoke about transparency concerning the stadium issue. I agree transparency is necessary. Answering the questions raised in my letter of 11/5/13 would be a good start. A City sponsored brochure and an assistant to the City Manager says no more public meetings are planned which does not engender transparency. Again it is my contention that the City Council should hold a long overdue advertised scheduled meeting at City Hall concerning the stadium complex sooner rather than later. In this commentary, perhaps, for more transparency this council member should have answered the following questions. When will the City Council schedule an advertised public meeting at City Hall and answer the residents’ thoughtful and necessary questions concerning the stadium complex? Did the City Council choose the proposed site? If not, why not? Who did the site selection for the city if not the City Council and why?

Still another council member opined concern for the residents having “a lot of angst”. The “angst” that the residents may feel will be remedied only when the Mayor and City Council quickly repudiate an obviously poorly chosen and inappropriate site location for this stadium complex. When and how will the City Council cure the “angst” of the city residents?

In my opinion all of the above dialogue, questions, debate, discussions, attempts at public relations, baseball owners’ preferences, and so forth, are important but subservient to a fundamental question. That question concerns itself with selecting a responsible site location for the proposed stadium complex. The City should not move forward on the stadium complex until the site location question is first answered. All forward momentum can and must wait until after the easiest and simplest $100,000,000 question is…




Are you For or Against the proposed site for the stadium complex off Central Boulevard?

Mayor Premuruso –       For____Against____

Vice-Mayor Jablin –      For____Against____

Councilperson Levy –     For____Against____

Councilperson Russo –   For____Against____

Councilperson Tinsley – For____Against____


Michael Martino

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