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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stadium Boondoggle Supporters Worried

"Twinskid" from here.

"Spycake, Drop you Plan - Organize this Group!
With all due respect spycake, I submit that you are wasting our time and yours by offering a new alternative stadium plan. If, as you suggest, there are three groups on the ballpark issue, then it really does not matter what the "plan" turns out to be.

For what it is worth the current Hennepin County plan is the plan. Unless you are a Hennepin County Commission or a member of the legislature I doubt if anyone is seriously going to take your advice at this late date.

The stadium issue will swing on political support. In order to get a positive vote our elected officials need to know that they have political support for their decision. They will not stick their necks out for the Twins without political cover.

Mike Opat of Hennepin County is providing the political cover for the legislature. The problem is that the Minneapolis Mayor, City Council and Minneapolis legislators appear to be dead set against having a stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Why they would not support the construction of a $400 to $500 million construction project in Minneapolis is beyond my understanding.

I believe if just a few Minneapolis "public servants" were to get on board with the stadium it would be much easier to get the legislature and Governor on board.

Respectfully, I suggest that forget proposing your plan and work on getting us organized on affecting the outcome of the debate with special focus on Minneapolis politicians.

Good Luck!

by TwinsKid on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 02:10:06 PM EST

Take a look at the area around the current Dome. The Dome didn't improve the livability of the area. Now the Minneapolis downtown has lots of residents, and they might not see the stadium as adding to the livability of their area.

I'll be posting this one on the Minneapolis Issues list. Minneapolis City Council Members should get called. I'll be calling Don Samuels tomorrow.

But they sure are pushing the Stadium Boondoggle in greater Minnesota.... For example, legislators talk about the agenda at the capitol in Willmar.

Stadiums discussion

In other business, The Minnesota Twins appear positioned to snap a long losing streak at the Capitol, with the Legislature’s leaders suggesting that a ballpark bill would fare well in the upcoming session.

Approval for a new Gophers stadium on the University of Minnesota campus is even more likely, but a third stadium proposal ­ a plan by the Minnesota Vikings to build a new stadium in Anoka County ­ will have to wait at least another year, they said.

"Three stadiums is too big a bite," said House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon.

When it comes to the Twins, the stakes are high: Earlier this month, a Hennepin County judge ruled that the Twins don't have to play in the Metrodome beyond the 2006 season, and failure to set a new stadium into motion this year would likely revive talk of a sale or move by the team.

The latest proposal is a venture between the Twins and Hennepin County on an outdoor ballpark in the downtown Minneapolis warehouse district. It was slated to cost $478 million last year, but that's since climbed by at least $30 million. None of the principals have publicly said how they’d fill the new gap.

The biggest funding source, $353 million, would come from a 0.15 percent sales tax in Hennepin County. The current plan calls for the tax to be imposed without voter approval, the biggest point of contention among critics.

Still, both Sviggum and Senate Deputy Minority Leader Tom Neuville, R-Northfield, said that at least half their caucuses would vote for the plan without a Hennepin County referendum. The Democratic leaders of the Senate and House weren't as unequivocal ­ both have more members from Hennepin County in their caucuses ­ but both said the votes were probably there.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said he takes seriously the prospect that legislative inaction could lead to a loss of the team.

"I sincerely believe that after a 2006 that saw no action, that Major League Baseball will do something with the Twins ­ like let them be bought and moved to a new home. Johnson said.

I encourage Johnson - and Governor Pawlenty, Speaker Sviggum and Tom Neuville to step up to the plate and support a statewide sales tax increase for the stadium rather than sticking this to Minneapolis.

On another topic, Johnson caused the state party to have a hissy fit over this.

Johnson blamed Republicans for targeting him personally on the gay marriage issue, although he said that as a minister he never would marry a gay couple.

"The governor of this state and the speaker of the House have their cannons set on Willmar, Minnesota," he said about his home.

Gay marriage opponents recently conducted a rally in Willmar, where several speakers targeted Johnson, including Sviggum. Pawlenty sent a video message to the rally.

Referring to a tense scene two years ago in which armed police escorted him out of the Capitol past gay marriage opponents, Johnson said: "I do not wish to have this state Capitol become downtown Baghdad on the gay marriage issue."

Seems like Dean Johnson scored a home run. The usual suspects are howling like stuck pigs.