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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Steve Kelley Answers the Question Sorta....

From Steve Kelley's FAQ:

Q: Do you support a Twins or Gopher stadium?
A: Yes. I understand why stadiums are controversial. As a progressive, I believe that we can choose to use some public funds to support a range of public amenities, whether it is an orchestra hall, public parks, or a stadium. We don't all benefit or enjoy going to the orchestra or for a walk along the lakes, but we should support public funds to build and maintain those things. I think a stadium should receive some public support for the same reasons.

You don't have the equivalent of baseball player salaries in the parks or in orchestras.

An article in the Strib reports that a judge says the Twins aren't obligated to stay in the dome.

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said the ruling "should serve to remind people that there's one less reason for the team to stay here. They don't have a lease. They don't have a commitment for a new ballpark. So I think it would be hard to fault them for looking around."

Opat was an architect of a $478 million county-Twins proposal to build a stadium in Minneapolis' Warehouse District with a countywide sales tax. The county needs legislative authorization for the sales tax, but the Legislature hasn't voted on it. The estimated cost of the proposal has since increased $30 million.

How the governor sees it

Brian McClung, a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty said, "What we've been saying all along is it's clear the Twins are not going to stay in the Metrodome, and this obviously reinforces that."

McClung added, "If the public believes the Twins are an amenity that should be kept, then action is going to have to be taken."

In a decade of debate, Minnesotans have expressed consistent opposition to public subsidies for a Twins stadium.

"I think citizens need to be aware that there are real consequences," Sviggum said. "The Twins might really leave. Contraction is also a real possibility."

The meeting of legislative leaders and team officials earlier Monday produced only an agreement for more meetings.

House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, said that the state would not pay the tab and that a stadium would not be a higher priority than education or health care in the coming session.

Asked whether the Twins might shell out more to accommodate the rising cost of a new stadium, Twins Sports Inc. President Jerry Bell said, "Probably not."

Why doesn't the Twins raise money from the private sector for this stadium? The Gopher Stadium plan has the University raising a much higher percentage of the cost from the private sector. If this is a state wide amenity, why doesn't Pawlenty propose to include his home town - Eagan - in the sales tax increase to pay for the stadium? Why doesn't Sviggum do the same?

As far as Commissioner Opat goes - does he have an opponent yet? Greg Gray, running for Mark Stenglein's seat told me he opposes the Hennepin County plan to raise taxes for the stadium without a referendum.