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Talk of the bay: Wheels turning on idea for new NASCAR complex

By Times Staff
Published May 9, 2007


A familiar-to-Florida, prominent Baltimore developer has teamed with the owners of Daytona International Speedway to propose a $250-million entertainment complex and headquarters for NASCAR in Daytona Beach. Cordish Co., which recently settled a feud with the Seminole Tribe of Florida over their partnership for the Seminole Hard Rock Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, would develop the 71-acre project with International Speedway Corp. The project could hinge on government incentives. The game plan: rebuilding the Speedplex complex north of the speedway on U.S. 92 but leaving intact the Daytona USA motor sports museum. Cordish hopes to open the complex, which would include restaurants, retail and a 160-unit hotel, in 2009.

After bankruptcy, Delta freshens tune

A friendlier, postbankruptcy Delta Air Lines wants "an open, honest dialogue" with customers. So says a new site the airline has launched that's part chat room and part electronic suggestion box, with a healthy dose of self-promotion. Visitors can submit an idea for Delta or a tip for fellow fliers. They can vote in a poll (current question: While you're boarding our planes, which type of music would you like to hear?). Or readers can see details on customer-service initiatives like regional jets with first-class cabins and language lessons on international flights. Delta promises the site (www.delta.com/change) will evolve into a revolutionary channel for customers to suggest changes that "may very well influence how we operate in the future." Or at least make boarding music easier on the ears.

Union bill makes Florida inroads

Who says Florida is antiunion? The Miami-Dade County Commission just passed a resolution supporting the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that is intended to make it easier for employees to form unions. Thirty state or local governmental bodies already have passed similar resolutions, though the Miami-Dade commissioners are the first in Florida to jump on board. The Miami mayor, Carlos Alvarez, also signed his support. Under current practice, unions can't form without a secret-ballot election. But this bill would let unions form at any company where at least 51 percent of workers sign cards authorizing the union. Opponents say it would violate workers' privacy by replacing secret ballots with card checks. The measure passed the U.S. House in March and is pending in the Senate.