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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Laughing all the Way to the Bank

My letter to the editor to the Strib got published:

Surprise, surprise, surprise, the Twins are dropping the economic development argument for the stadium (Star Tribune, June 19).

Our Republican Governor made a "no new tax pledge." He is breaking this pledge when he supports a plan that provides for a 1.1 to 1.5 billion dollar tax increase for those paying sales taxes in Hennepin County. Under this latest proposal, Taxpayers would be forced to pay 80-90% of the bill while the Twins will laugh all the way to the bank depositing the profits from this deal. Kudos to Rep. Phil Krinkie and Sen. John Marty for introducing a bill to protect the taxpayer's interests in this matter.

It's worth noting that the Republican Party Platform supports: "Maintaining the principle that sports ..... should be funded by users and voluntary donors, and not by tax dollars."

When Governor Pawlenty and Speaker Sviggum support this boondoggle they are opposing core Republican principles of limited government conservatism.

Eva Young
Minneapolis


What frosts me more than anything is all the suburban and outstate legislators supporting this nonsense because it doesn't raise taxes on their constituents. I wish a Minneapolis Legislator would introduce a bill to increase the sales tax in Dakota County to pay for the stadium.

Ofcourse both candidates for Minneapolis Mayor are fully in support of this boondoggle. Neither claims to be a limited government conservative. Both Steve Sviggum and Tim Pawlenty do.

MN Lefty Liberal Forced Out of the Blogosphere

Check this out:

Friday, June 24, 2005
Forced To Go Dark

It seems the GOP has set its sights on me. Not only is there a blog pretending to be me, but also I have become aware of no less then 3 attempts to get my identity in the last 2 weeks.

As I have stated before, due to my job, I cannot allow my identity to be known, as I would get fired.

However, some people seem to think that it is a game. That screwing with someone’s livelihood is an ok way to spend his or her time.

So instead, I am choosing the unfortunate path of going dark, and ceasing posts for the time being.

Most of you won’t care, but it is extremely disheartening to me to loose this hobby.

But the GOP seems to find amusement in trying to make me loose my job, and that is something I cannot afford to do.

And so...effective immediately, MN Lefty Liberal is Closed.

Congradulations, 1st amendment...trampled


I don't know the evidence of whether this was the GOP. When I spoke at the Go Run workshop today, I talked about the importance of knowing your company policy on use of the internet, and to follow it. Different workplaces have widely different policies on this issue - and many companies are struggling to come to terms with what is an appropriate policy.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Go, Run, Lead

The Whitehouse Project - looking to develop women political leaders is doing political leadership training sessions at Macalester College in St Paul this weekend. I will be doing a training session on "Guerilla Political Marketing using the Internet". I'm working on this training session with Beth Lareau of the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus Political Action Committee. I serve on the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus board.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

GayPatriot Pushes ID Creationism

Here.

GP's Random Thought for Wednesday
Posted by GayPatriot at 06:25 AM - June 22, 2005

Why do liberals believe in Darwinism to the point of infringing on freedom of religious belief, yet want the Government to coddle everyone with every entitlement program known to man?

-Bruce (GayPatriot) -- gaypatriot2004@aol.com


Here's the comment thread.

Welcome back to the blogosphere. I'm a conservative high school history teacher so we are both anathemas!!

First, secularism is a religion. The absence of (a) god doesn't mean the absence of a higher power. They simply substitute man for god. He (man) is thus imbued with the all the divinely powers whether he rules with divine blessings or not. Thus man is truly the master.

Was there truly any difference between Augustus, Napoleon or Hitler in their manifestation of omniscience and omnipotence? Did not the entire state revolve around them?

Unfortunately, secularism is also a fundamentalist religion as absolutely no mention can be made of a diety whatsoever. Any contrarian views must be quashed. This past year a teacher bragged about she observed a day of silence for gay and lesbian awareness and I asked her how she reconciled promoting her religious views in a public classroom. She became more angry the more apparent it seemed I was right, especially when I asked her if a student's religious views conflicted with her own, wasn't she making that child uncomfortable. Needless to say I won't be getting a Winter Solstice or Saturnalia card from her!!

As for Darwinism, when taken to an extreme, it disproves the presence of a god. Hardcore darwinists, as with all secularists, subscribe to Platonic and Hobbesian views of man. They are both evil and helpless, unable to see the truth. It is necessary therefore to rule over them, to take care of them, to control them for left to their own devices chaos would rule.

Why do public schools so virulently countermand public will? Is it pure coincidence? No. You're simply not capable of raising your children nor teaching them appropriate values. Here's a funny closer.

Look into the very nature of "tolerance". It's really big at schools if you haven't heard. it is basically thought control, i.e. "you will think this way or else." It's never taught as in "we're endowed by our Creator..." It all goes back to the secularist argument, that man is all powerful. I asked once of my colleagues if there's no reason other than "I say so...", what is to stop us from teaching intolerance? I mean, why are we tolerant, because we respect the God given rights of man, or simply imperial edict.

Suffice to say, I am not Mr. Popularity!!

Cheers.
Robert Mandel | Email | Homepage | 06.22.05 - 4:49 am | #

"First, secularism is a religion."

I speak of science and you give me philosophy! I don't give a damn about secularism or xianity. I'm talking about science. Science is concerned with what can be observed and what can be deduced from what is observed. It isn't concerned with philosophy. If you want to teach ID, do it in philosophy class, not science class.

"As for Darwinism, when taken to an extreme, it disproves the presence of a god."

There is NO SUCH THING as Darwinism. It is merely a figment of the feeble imagination of fundie xians. ToE does not concern itself with whether or not there is a god. It is science, not philosophy!

Likewise, Plato and Hobbes belong in philosophy class, not science.

"Look into the very nature of "tolerance"."

I didn't say anything about tolerance. I was speaking of science, which you can't seem to distinguish from philosophy.
berberry


I'm rooting for the Flying Speghetti Monster theory. Bobby Henderson wrote a letter to the Kansas School Board requesting that they also include the theory of Flying Speghetti Monsterism in biology classes.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.


We need equal time for this theory. Contact the Kansas School Board and demand that they respond to this letter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Stadium Welfare

King Banaian at SCSU Scholars follows up on my post about the stadium boondoggle. King is an economist at St Cloud State.

If you've been reading here, you'll notice I've been a little miffed with our governor over taxes. This is not the only thing that has perturbed me; I've been surprised and disappointed with the Twins Stadium issue as well, for one. Eva Young summarizes some news coverage over the weekend which suggests that the Twins' argument that it makes economic sense has been dropped. Well, duh. My friends and sports economists Brad Humphreys and Dennis Coates have been saying this for years.

Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy. The net economic impact of professional sports in Washington, D.C., and the 36 other cities that hosted professional sports teams over nearly 30 years, was a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area.

A baseball team in D.C. might produce intangible benefits. Rooting for the team might provide satisfaction to many local baseball fans. That is hardly a reason for the city government to subsidize the team. D.C. policymakers should not be mesmerized by faulty impact studies that claim that a baseball team and a new stadium can be an engine of economic growth.


MOBster Phil Miller of Market Power, writing at the most excellent Sports Economist blog (um, guys, you should see if Brad or Dennis will blog with you ... and I work for peanuts, just ask The Patriot), notes that the intangibles argument seems to have captured the Hennepin County commissioners.


People should call Governor Pawlenty's Office - 651-296-3391 and tell him to drop this nonsense and focus on more compelling budget priorities. Minneapolis residents have voted for the new library, and voted for school bond referenda. They've spoken clearly on stadia - they don't want to pay for it. Unfortunately politicians don't seem to listen. The arguments in favor of stadiums seem to be on the basis of emotional appeals, rather than hardnosed economics.

Taxpayer's League: Light Rail has "Infected" the Twin Cities

They really sound wacked out with this one.

Taxpayers League of Minnesota Event ALERT!

June 21, 2005

Volunteers needed for the '2005 Preserving the American Dream Conference' June 24-26th

Light rail has already infected the Twin Cities, but find out how you can help other areas fight this disease

Interested in helping staff an event dedicated to protecting freedom, mobility, affordable housing and exposing the fallacies of smart growth? Then this is the event for you.

The American Dream Conference is being held at the Holiday Inn Select in Bloomington and more information on how you can help can be found by contacting the head of the American Dream Coalition, Randal O'Toole at rot@ti.org.

The Preserving the American Dream Conference is a great opportunity to hear from local and national transportation experts and learn about light rail, smart growth and the rest of social engineering's twisted lexicon.


I assume this will bring out the "we don't want no choo choo trains" crowd.

Developing. . .

Monday, June 20, 2005

Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers

Former Senator John Danforth has an excellent oped in the New York Times.

Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers

By JOHN C. DANFORTH
Published: June 17, 2005

St. Louis

IT would be an oversimplification to say that America's culture wars are now between people of faith and nonbelievers. People of faith are not of one mind, whether on specific issues like stem cell research and government intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, or the more general issue of how religion relates to politics. In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions.
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Readers
Forum: Op-Ed Contributors

It is important for those of us who are sometimes called moderates to make the case that we, too, have strongly held Christian convictions, that we speak from the depths of our beliefs, and that our approach to politics is at least as faithful as that of those who are more conservative. Our difference concerns the extent to which government should, or even can, translate religious beliefs into the laws of the state.

People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God's truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God's kingdom, one that includes efforts to "put God back" into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.

When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube.

When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.

We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.

Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.

For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith. Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues.

In the decade since I left the Senate, American politics has been characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality. I do not think it is a stretch to suggest a relationship between the two. To assert that I am on God's side and you are not, that I know God's will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God's kingdom is certain to produce hostility.

By contrast, moderate Christians see ourselves, literally, as moderators. Far from claiming to possess God's truth, we claim only to be imperfect seekers of the truth. We reject the notion that religion should present a series of wedge issues useful at election time for energizing a political base. We believe it is God's work to practice humility, to wear tolerance on our sleeves, to reach out to those with whom we disagree, and to overcome the meanness we see in today's politics.

For us, religion should be inclusive, and it should seek to bridge the differences that separate people. We do not exclude from worship those whose opinions differ from ours. Following a Lord who sat at the table with tax collectors and sinners, we welcome to the Lord's table all who would come. Following a Lord who cited love of God and love of neighbor as encompassing all the commandments, we reject a political agenda that displaces that love. Christians who hold these convictions ought to add their clear voice of moderation to the debate on religion in politics.

John C. Danforth is an Episcopal minister and former Republican senator from Missouri.


Danforth has joined the board of the Republican Unity Coalition.

Jack Danforth Joins RUC Advisory Board
Washington, D.C., June 10---Senator John C. Danforth has joined the Advisory Board of the Republican Unity Coalition, it was announced today by RUC co-chairs Charles Francis and Donald Capoccia. Senator Danforth will advise the RUC on its continuing efforts to support Republican candidates who reach out to all Americans, including gay and lesbian Republicans.

Charles Francis, RUC co-chair, said: "We are honored to have Jack Danforth join the RUC---a gay/straight Republican alliance---dedicated to strengthening a "Big Tent" for all Republicans. Jack Danforth's life is his message: a life-long Republican conservative and dedicated public servant, an Episcopal Priest, the man who officiated at President Reagan's memorial service--he is a living hero to Republicans who want the GOP to steer to a principled center. We are so proud to have him standing with us.

"Joining with other RUC Advisory Board members including President Gerald R. Ford, David Rockefeller and Honorary Board Chairman Alan K. Simpson, Jack Danforth will help the RUC reach out to GOP conservatives and libertarians whose bedrock principles include everyone," Francis said.

Senator John Danforth is a partner with the international law firm Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis. He retired from the United States Senate in 1995 after eighteen years of service. More recently, he served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, after serving as President George W. Bush's Special Envoy to Sudan in 2001. Ordained to the clergy of the Episcopal Church, Reverend Danforth officiated at the memorial service of President Ronald Reagan.


This is wonderful news. Now some of these people just have to run for the US Senate again.

Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Washington Post article here.

U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest was well into his second term when President Bill Clinton's compromise "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military came to a vote y the House in 1993.

The Maryland Republican was conflicted. His brother was gay, and Gilchrest didn't believe the lifestyle was unsavory or would undermine the military's "wholesome environment," as some of his colleagues framed the debate.


The GOP's Gilchrest joins Democrats in an effort to drop the ban.
The GOP's Gilchrest joins Democrats in an effort to drop the ban. (By Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)

But he also heeded the concerns raised by House conservatives such as Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a fellow Vietnam veteran who warned that asking men and women to serve "in close, intimate, private quarters" with homosexuals would create conflict in the ranks.

Gilchrest, along with 301 colleagues on both sides of the aisle, took what he now says was probably the easy route that day and ratified the policy.

"At the time, it seemed like the reasonable compromise," Gilchrest said. "That's pretty much how it was when I was in the service. Nobody asked about it, nobody thought about it."

A dozen years later, Gilchrest has broken ranks and joined congressional Democrats in seeking to lift the ban on gays in the military. The former Marine sergeant, who was wounded in Vietnam, calls the policy an outright failure that costs taxpayers millions of dollars to enforce and keeps out capable men and women.

His change of heart has helped revitalize the debate over the long-standing prohibition as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are straining U.S. forces and the Army is struggling to meet recruitment goals.

Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in March seeking the repeal. Gilchrest is one of four Republicans and 81 Democrats co-sponsoring the legislation.

Flouting party lines is familiar ground for Gilchrest. In 14 years in the House, the affable former high school teacher and house painter has established a reputation as a political wild card.

There's Gilchrest the conservative: He voted to ban the procedure opponents call "partial birth" abortion and to block a D.C. Commission on Human Rights ruling that the Boy Scouts of America reinstate two gay leaders.

Then there's Gilchrest the liberal: He frequently clashes with his party on environmental issues, including a vote on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And last year, he opposed a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage.

His stand on the military's ban is a bit of a departure for Gilchrest. Though his voting record is generally favorable to veterans, he has never served on any armed services committees and isn't considered a key player on military issues.


It would be nice to get Rep. Jim Ramstad (R, Minnesota) to sign on to this. Ramstad generally votes against "gay rights" legistation, though his record on health issues that disproportionately impact gays is better. Simon Rosser, a Professor at the University of Minnesota who does research on sexual behavior of gay and bisexual men, is impressed by Ramstad. Ramstad voted for the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Republican Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Gets Gay Baited Again

This time it's the Concerned Women for America not the Indiana Democratic Party doing the gay baiting. The CWFA urges their members to call and email Mitch Daniels to protest his efforts to make Indiana an inclusive employer.

Write:
Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.
State House, Second Floor
Indianapolis, Indiana
46204

E-mail:
http://www.in.gov/gov/contact.html

Call:
(317) 232-4567


Money quote:

Indiana may soon begin hiring men in dresses in order to satisfy the governor’s affirmative action plan. That’s a possibility because of an April 26, 2005, policy statement issued by Republican Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.


Hat Tip: Powerliberal

It's always nice to meet a blogger face to face

Yesterday I got together with Peg Kaplan from What If. I do remember reading about her on the MAWP Squad.

Peg mentioned the return of Bruce Carroll aka GayPatriot to the blogosphere on her blog. While I'm glad that Bruce has returned to blogging, I find the whole effort to exploit the mean bad old Mike Rogers the lefty censored Bruce Carroll meme to be nonsense. In my opinion both Carroll and Rogers behaved badly.

RT Rybak, Peter McLaughlin, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Steve Kelley, Hennepin County Board and Other Political Stadium Snake Oil Salesmen have Egg on their Faces

Lots of bad news for the Stadium Boondoggle in the strib:



From Oped - Jay Wiener: Economics of Stadiums Look Dicey:

As the legislative special session stalls, Minnesota's stadiums process is stuck in the mud once more.

It seemed as if the University of Minnesota's $235 million football stadium, mostly paid for by private donors, was on track for passage.

It looked as if the Twins ballpark, with Hennepin County footing most of its $478 million bill, was a done deal.

Now, it's dicey again. Insiders are saying the "U" on-campus stadium still stands a chance. But if there's no movement on the larger issues at the Capitol this week, the Twins' prospects could run out of time.

Too bad.

But, maybe, not so bad.

Despite 12 years of debate on public funding for sports facilities, two fundamental questions remain unanswered.

Why has the state ducked on participating in Twins (and Vikings) stadium policy when any economic benefits from teams accrue to the state's coffers?

And if we build three stadiums -- the Vikings are on the horizon with new owner Zygi Wilf -- can we support them?

Antitax politics and mantras about billionaire owners and millionaire athletes have shrouded stadium arguments. But when we cross the public-funding Rubicon -- which we have in every case -- we must be rational, not convenient.

Why should Hennepin County taxpayers fund a stadium that's used by the "Minnesota" Twins? How can politicians call local pro teams "statewide assets" and then turn their backs on projects designed to retain the teams? Why do Greater Minnesotans scream about wanting retractable roofs and then say, "But I won't pay for it"?


Good questions all, read the whole thing here.

Surprise, surprise, surprise, the Twins are dropping the economic development argument for the stadium.

"I don't think the economic argument turns it one way or another, so why go there?" said Bell, president of Twins Sports Inc. "If there are side benefits, great. If not, so what?

"You get into an economic argument, and the bottom line is, 'Do you want to build it or not?' " he said.


The Twins obviously want the stadium built, but they want the taxpayers to be the chumps.

The article continues:

In dropping the stadiums-as-economy-boosters argument, the Twins are acknowledging what economists long have argued: Stadiums built for pro sports fail to deliver measurable financial returns for their communities.

"At some global level, they're obviously correct," Bell said.

The histories of the Xcel Center, Target Center and Metrodome -- all acquired chiefly with public money -- show that stadiums usually fall short of promises that they will provide monetary benefits to the public.

Consider the Metrodome: Opened in 1982 at a total cost of $68 million, its boosters predicted that the stadium would be a magnet for new construction in a part of downtown that hadn't seen new private investment for years. Instead, the building boom of the 1980s and 1990s in downtown Minneapolis bypassed the Metrodome neighborhood.

"We put a stadium in the middle of nowhere and nothing developed around it," economist Art Rolnick said of the Metrodome. "If these things are magnets for economic development, what happened?"

The outcome should be no surprise, said Rolnick, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

"Most of the year, there's nobody in them," he said. "It doesn't pay for most businesses to be near these facilities."

The Target Center, acquired by the city of Minneapolis from private developers at a cost of $74 million in 1990, now sits next to the Block E entertainment center, but Block E was built only through $40 million in public subsidies.

The Xcel Center, opened at a total cost of $130 million in 2000, became something of a laboratory this past winter for measuring whether the presence -- or lack -- of professional team sports hurts a city's economy, when the NHL lost its entire season because of a labor dispute between players and owners.

From November through April, sales tax receipts in St. Paul totaled $7 million, up $181,000, or 2.6 percent, from the same period a year earlier, when fans were regularly filling the Xcel for Minnesota Wild games, according to the St. Paul Office of Financial Services.

"If [fans] don't go to NHL games, they don't stop spending money," said Robert Baade, economist at Lake Forest University near Chicago. "They spend money on other things."

Even ripple effects from marquee events -- a Super Bowl or World Series -- can be hard to discern in the numbers.


I thought the whole point of the public investment in the stadium is that this would create jobs in the local community. I happened to oppose the corporate welfare in the Northwest Airlines bailout years ago - but that at least had a better economic development justification - creation of high wage jobs (which have not been delivered) in a depressed area.

The article continues:
Tom Stinson, Minnesota state economist, made a careful study of sales tax receipts after a Super Bowl game in the Metrodome in the early 1990s. Boosters had predicted that the game would pump tens of millions of dollars into the Twin Cities economy as thousands of out-of-towners descended on the city.

"We had been told that there would be a great deal of economic activity," Stinson said. "We were looking for it in the sales tax receipts data, and we couldn't find it."


Well if Stadiums in Minnesota area haven't generated increased sales tax receipts in the past, then why should they bring this benefit to the state in the future.

The article continues:
Other cities, such as Baltimore or Cleveland, can point to stadiums as having spurred new life for certain areas. But as a group nationwide, stadiums are more an economic drag than a boost on the cities that subsidize them, economists agree.

"There's a lot of research that's been done that suggests that the benefits are not great enough to justify the costs," said Patrick Rishe, economist at Webster University in St. Louis and a longtime student of sports subsidies.

"The general outcome of every objective economic analysis I've seen is that stadiums are consumption, they're not investment," said Paul Anton, chief economist of Wilder Research, a St. Paul nonprofit think tank.


Politicians should listen to these economists. RT Rybak has a hard time justifying his support for increasing the sales taxes on Hennepin County residents to pay for a stadium. Peter McLaughlin and the other county commissioners voting for this boondoggle should also be asked for comment. They can't say that any of this was a surprise to them.

The article continues:
Some politicians concede that stadiums alone don't provide a financial boost to a city or even a neighborhood, in and of themselves.

"When the Metrodome and Xcel were built, there was a false assumption that a ballpark alone would create a huge new urban village," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who nevertheless favors spending public money on a new Twins stadium.

A Twins stadium in the Warehouse District would add to the customer traffic at nearby bars and restaurants, but it can't lift their prospects all by itself.

"You can't make it in the bar and restaurant business by being jammed on game nights and empty on other nights," Rybak said.

One reason Rybak said he favors a Twins stadium is that crowds of tens of thousands near the end of the light-rail line could add momentum to city plans for a transit hub in the neighborhood, linking buses, light rail and a proposed intrastate North Star rail line.

"I agree that people should go into this with tempered expectations," he said. "It cannot, in and of itself, create a huge boom."


There's plenty to sell this transit hub without a stadium boondoggle. Governor Pawlenty has ignored the advice of his base on the Northstar corridor. Several "we don't want no choo choo trains" legislators lost partly due to their idiological opposition to light rail.

The Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution that sent mixed signals about the stadium. It would have been better if the resolution had explicitly supported a referendum:

On a 10-3 vote, the council said it opposes the Hennepin County-Twins plan to build a park with a 0.15 percent addition to the sales tax in the county unless legislation approving the deal honors 10 principles, mainly protecting city taxpayers from additional costs.

Council park supporters celebrated the passage, considering it a statement of conditional support, while others were left to wonder where the council stood. Council supporters say the resolution protects taxpayers' interests. Detractors, however, contend that the resolution failed to oppose use of taxpayer money for a ballpark.

Rep. Brad Finstad, a ballpark bill sponsor, said legislators definitely want the city's input.

"I respect what they're doing, and I want to reach out and make sure we work with them," he said.

Ultimately, Finstad, R-New Ulm, thinks the council resolution could help passage of a bill. "If anything, it will affect it in a positive way by answering or addressing the concerns they have," he said.

Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, and another sponsor, said he expects the impact of the resolution to be "slightly positive. It could have been more positive if it had not been framed in the negative."

City Hall isn't a player in the county proposal and the council's support isn't needed for Hennepin County to raise taxes. But legislative approval is required, and some Minneapolis leaders wanted the city to take a position, and the middling approach was all that could win approval -- with the possible exception of outright opposition.

Council President Paul Ostrow, a ballpark supporter, said before Friday's vote: "I believe what we're doing today is what we get elected to do and that is fight for our city."

In a confusing move, Council Member Dean Zimmermann, who has been an opponent of the county-Twins plan, voted for the resolution. "This fulfills all of our concerns and concerns of people who don't want to use public funds for a private ballpark," he said.

Council Member Paul Zerby voted no, along with Council Members Gary Schiff and Natalie Johnson Lee. "I don't think [the resolution] is consistent at all with those opposed to spending city money on a private facility for the owner" of the Twins, Zerby said.

Schiff said that, in his mind, the resolution is silent on the issue of a sales tax for a stadium.

Zerby wanted to pass a separate resolution sponsored by Johnson Lee and Zimmermann that clearly opposed the use of public money. The council resoundingly voted down that proposal in favor of the conditional approach.

The resolution opposes the ballpark unless conditions are met, including:


  • Preservation of the city's authority for local taxes, including collection of the city's 3 percent entertainment tax at the ballpark.

  • No negative effect on the city's general fund or the city's capacity to deliver basic services.

  • No imposition of infrastructure costs on the city.

  • The funding of libraries and youth activities in the county as originally proposed.


Kelley said there is "arguably some inconsistency between the city continuing to collect the entertainment tax but then not having any responsibility for the infrastructure near the ballpark."

"If they are going to collect an entertainment tax related to a facility, you'd think they'd want to help spruce up the neighborhood," Kelley said.

During debate, Council Member Lisa Goodman said, "Most of us do not like the idea of a publicly funded stadium," but she acknowledged the county had worked out a deal and there was not much the city could do to stop it. "What I am focused on now is what we have the ability to do," Goodman said.

Member Don Samuels said the council members "cannot fold our arms in sullen disagreement when we are being pulled along."


When I talked with Don Samuels about the Stadium at Juneteenth, yesterday, he mentioned that the city was trying to get something for the city rather than having the stadium boondoggle passed by the legislature that ends up hurting the city. Samuels mentioned a concern for how the stadium could negatively impact the area near the stadium. Certainly if you look at the Dome, it's done nothing for the surrounding area.

Governor candidate Steve Kelley seems concerned about the issue of the city continuing to collect the entertainment tax without making an investment in the stadium. That's a bit rich - the State is going to be collecting the sales tax on Twins Tickets - and the tickets will be exempt from the countywide stadium tax, as well as benefiting from the income and corporate taxes from the team - all while socking it to the Hennepin County taxpayers to provide the funding.

Kelley will be at many Minneapolis large crowd events over the summer trying to drum up support for his governor campaign. People should tell him, they don't want Hennepin County taxes raised for this purpose - especially without a referendum. The legislature would have to exempt the stadium from current referendum requirements. So far the Stadium boosters haven't made the case for that.