It's never a good sign when a columnist begins by using a bad example.
We are an overly litigious society whose nuisance suits and frivolous suits keep lawyers in expensive suits.The McDonald's coffee case has become shorthand for "frivolous lawsuit." It should be shorthand for "lazy columnist who can't be bothered to learn the facts." Such is the world we live in.
Sometimes the plaintiff is a person who scalds himself with hot coffee but decides suing McDonald's for millions is nobler than cursing his own carelessness.
The shame of it all is that Cote actually does have a point to make--not one I completely agree with, but he does have one. He just hides it in such silly argumentation that it's difficult to figure out just what he's talking about. Luckily, you have me.
Cote is angry at Normal Braman because, as you may have guessed from the opening paragraph, Braman has filed a lawsuit against Miami/Dade county to stop the $3 billion redevelopment plan that will include a stadium for the Marlins. It's a frivolous lawsuit because, well, Cote never actually says why. What's clear is that Cote wants a new Marlins stadium, and why not? He's a sports columnist and he'd like new digs for the team, and he trots out all the expected arguments to back that position up.
This is about our civic responsibility to see the larger picture and put the public good over individual wants.First of all, the deal won't be painless for locals--any use of public money on a stadium for a super-wealthy team owner when the state and local governments are in the crappy shape ours are in is painful.
A Marlins fan should support a new, 37,000-seat retractable dome stadium (even if not thrilled about the OB site in Little Havana), but even nonfans should appreciate the benefit of how a thriving big-league sports team can knit a community....
As for the new Marlins ballpark, the club would pay roughly $155 million of the $515 million cost, and the rest would come from tourists' hotel bed-tax dollars. That is a pretty painless deal for us locals, wallet-wise.
Secondly, we're talking about the Marlins here. They're a good team on the field. The ownership, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Two championships--good. Wholesale dismantling of the team immediately afterward--not so much. The last two ownership groups have treated the fans like crap, and then held their hands out and demanded a new stadium. Forgive me if I think that the mega-millionaires who own the team should foot a bit more than 30% of the bill for a stadium they're going to going to profit from immensely over the next couple of decades, especially since any local economic benefits will likely be negligible.
Cote does make one good point, namely that Braman may be motivated as much by self-interest as by the good of the community. After all, part of the redevelopment money is going to mass transit, and Braman is an auto dealer. But that doesn't excuse the rest of his column, filled as it is with false logic and bad argument. Stick to sports, Cote.