Tallahassee NAACP, Leon County Democratic Party host press conference opposing Doak funding

Doak Campbell funding pushback
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 12:51 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 18, 2022 at 2:32 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Multiple groups opposed to Blueprint’s funding for repairs to Doak Campbell Stadium hosted a press conference Friday afternoon.

According to a press release from the Tallahassee Branch of the NAACP, the Leon County Democratic Party and Americans for Prosperity will join the group.

A representative from City Commissioner Jack Porter confirms she will be present as well. Porter has voted against the stadium funding each time the issue has come before Blueprint.

The press conference took place at City Hall at 1:30 p.m. and was livestreamed on WCTV’s Facebook Page.

Opponents of the funding earmarked for FSU argue it’s not the right use of Economic Development Tax funding, while supporters point to the amount of tourism revenue FSU football games generate.

Phillip Suderman from Americans for Prosperity described Blueprint’s funding for Doak as a government handout that’s a poor allocation of taxpayer dollars.

“The facts just don’t align with that intention,” Suderman said. “Government exists to make sure that everyone is helped, not just a select few.”

Commissioner Porter said Blueprint moving forward with the money for Doak repairs would mortgage the city’s economic development in the future.

“This money, the $27 million some want to give to FSU’s stadium in one fell swoop, we haven’t even collected the money yet,” she said. “It is a shame that this proposal got this far when there were so many red flags throughout the process.”

Mutaqee Akbar, president of the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP, offered multiple suggestions for what the community could do with the money.

“We look at the increase in crime, the anatomy of a homicide report, a lot of those things could be addressed,” he said. “There are a lot of black minority businesses that could use help. Blueprint is not looking at what should be and could be.”

The issue first came up in May of 2021, when FSU’s proposed Convention Center was pushed off the table, and the university came forward with a new funding request.

In the first vote, 9 to 3, City Commissioners Jack Porter and Jeremy Matlow, and County Commissioner Kristin Dozier were against moving forward with the funding process.

At a subsequent September vote, Leon County Commissioner Brian Welch joined the opposition,but the funding moved forward again in an 8 to 4 vote.

Ahead of the next vote, the Tallahassee Branch of the NAACP held a town hall asking Commissioners to reconsider.

At the most recent vote in December 2021, Leon County Commissioner Rick Minor also changed his vote, bringing the total to 7 to 5.

In recent weeks, the controversy has included political fundraising in the run-up to the 2022 election.

The Leon County Democratic Party called on commissioners running for reelection to return campaign contributions from groups connected to FSU leadership.

The issue will come up again at the Feb. 24 Blueprint meeting next Thursday.


Copyright 2022 WCTV. All rights reserved.