Without even knowing it, Broward boosters and baseball enthusiasts were given a reprieve with the failure of Miami-Dade's proposed sales tax increase last week. Those hoping for a new baseball stadium built in Broward didn't know that millions set aside in the tax hike for "civic improvements" would have gone to fund John Henry's plans for a new park in Miami for the Marlins.

A well-placed source tells Undercurrents that Alex Penelas was seriously considering using as much as $80 million for the design and building of an urban stadium that would have been sited in downtown Miami amid towering skyscrapers and a view of the bay. Penelas told one reporter that using sales tax funds to get the stadium built in Miami was not out of the question. Now it is. Henry must now redirect public-funding efforts to Broward because the resounding defeat of the sales tax proposal doesn't bode well for sucking future tax dollars out of Miami-Dade.

Henry, the options trader, had wisely kept his options open and was waiting until after the vote to make decisions on the possible sites. He's expected to announce a "short list" of five to seven sites, including two or three in Broward, on August 7. Then he'll wait and see which community bites hardest and offers up public funding.

The real short list, prior to the sales tax vote, included two sites in downtown Miami. Henry had told the media that he wanted an urban park where families could spend some quality time, but he was really more interested in corporate directors in Miami. Beyond the public funding, new expensive stadiums also require rich corporations nearby to purchase luxury boxes. Henry was hoping for 100 boxes throughout the stadium selling at more than $100,000 apiece. Think that could happen in Broward?

But now with the sales tax defeat it's a new ball game, and Broward is still on deck.

His tenure was labeled turbulent, controversial, and hard-charging. Those less kind described Frank Petruzielo as prickly, autocratic, vindictive. And always dictatorial. Those descriptions followed Petruzielo out the door as he abandoned his position as Broward school superintendent six months ago and took a similar job in Georgia.

It seems his personality disorders are resurfacing in Cherokee County outside Atlanta where Dictator Petruzielo is beginning to alienate segments of the population -- those segments being citizens concerned with how their school system is being run by a tyrant.

But now he has recast himself as a different type of forceful leader: the progressive revolutionary. "There's a revolution going on here," he recently told a reporter. Petruzielo is bringing down the school system's power structure all at once. Not so he can build it in his own likeness; oh no, he's bringing a New Order.

A copy of a letter to the editor in an Atlanta newspaper shows some are not buying into this new, revolutionary Petruzielo. The letter was distributed at a recent Broward school board meeting by Petruzielo's enemies. "The direction of the Cherokee school system is being determined by only one man," wrote Frank Cipolla, Jr. "I and many others don't care about how things are in Broward County. We live in Cherokee County."

It pays to check references. as told to Tom Walsh

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Tom Walsh
Contact: Tom Walsh